I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Also by this author: The Queen of the Tearling, The Fate of the Tearling
Series: The Queen Of The Tearling #2
Also in this series: The Queen of the Tearling, The Fate of the Tearling
Published by HarperCollins on June 9th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Fantasy, Epic, Dystopian
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In this riveting sequel to the national bestseller The Queen of the Tearling, the evil kingdom of Mortmesne invades the Tearling, with dire consequences for Queen Kelsea and her realm.
With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, Kelsea has crossed the brutal Red Queen, who derives her power from dark magic and who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what she claims is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing. She finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. Soon Kelsea herself begins to change; she does not recognize either her reflection in the mirror or the extraordinary power she now commands. The fate of the Tearling—and that of Kelsea's own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Queen Kelsea is running out of time.
In this second volume of the compelling trilogy begun with her bestselling The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen brings back favorite characters and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery, and a fierce young heroine.
Last year, I got really pumped up for Erika Johansen’s debut novel, The Queen Of The Tearling. And with good reason, that book was totally baller. Friends, I got pumped up ALL OVER AGAIN for The Invasion Of The Tearling, second in the trilogy and again, it was with good reason, because The Invasion Of The Tearling was such a good follow up. OH MY GOODNESS. I think this paragraph contains too many goods, but for serious, Johansen is one talented writer. This book is far from dull and stilted with manufactured drama for the sake of a third book. Rather, this book is exciting and edgy and intense and I loved pretty much every word and every page.
The Invasion Of The Tearling essentially takes place where The Queen Of The Tearling leaves off. Kelsea, the Glynn Queen, has stopped the importation of people over to Mortmense. So, the Red Queen is pissed off. The Red Queen decides to invade the Tearling because she is a douche. She is the reason no one can have nice things. Kelsea, meanwhile, is navigating her queenship and losing her V card and managing to piss off nobles and the church. OH and also her kingdom is preparing for a seige and so she has to do her best to protect her people. Also! A mysterious man appears to her and promises to help her defeat the Red Queen and she’s tempted but there’s some warning against that. Meanwhile, we do not get a whole lot of time with the Fetch which sucks but even better, more pages with Father Tyler. Like Kelsea, I have a soft spot for him. Further, there’s a parallel storyline in The Invasion Of The Tearling featuring a woman named Lily Mayhew who has got quite the role to play within this story.
I love how Kelsea begins to come more into her role as Queen of the Tearling. She has this iron backbone and refuses to give into others when she knows that they are unjust. I love that sharp sense of ethics that she has. While yes, maybe her decisions aren’t advantageous to her, at least she knows the difference between right and wrong and acts accordingly. It is not easy to always do the right thing, but Kelsea tries and therefore I have a whole lot of respect for her. She is actually a pretty great character. It’s amazing to see her take on that mantle of responsibility in The Invasion of the Tearling. She’s the epitome of a strong character and so, I’ve got a bit of a girl crush on her.
My favorite thing about Johansen’s follow up is the dual storyline involving Lily Mayhew. Essentially, Kelsea would go into this trance that would take her back in time to the pre-Crossing era and she would inhabit the body of Lily Mayhew. Lily is seemingly unimportant and has nothing really to do with Kelsea’s current situation, yet Kelsea is compelled by her life and her events and she thinks that maybe there might be some significance to her visions. Like Kelsea, I also found myself compelled by Lily. At first, it’s hard to like her. She leads a privileged life. She seems like a bit of an airhead. However, then, we see her life isn’t quite so perfect. Her husband, Greg, is a monster. He’s horrifically abusive. We see that her sister disappeared when she was younger. We see that she has no real friends. Lily’s life is not easy, but she has it much better than the poor. When we get to why Lily is so significant, it is this giant turning point and that’s when the narrative gets awesome — especially if you are someone who likes when the pathways between stories are formed and there’s all these little connections going off.
Like any good and worthy sequel, The Invasion Of The Tearling builds upon the world building of the first book, The Queen Of The Tearling. I love that as Kelsea comes into her power and gains knowledge involving the sapphires, so do we. I love that we finally know what happens with the Crossing and how and why it was made. I love that we get to see war, as bloodthirsty as that sounds. I love that we see tactics that are bold despite the odds being stacked. I love that we get to know about how the Red Queen rose to power. This book takes an already interesting world and just intensifies that.
Unless you have super reading skills which okay, many of us do, this is not the sort of book you read overnight. Rather, it is one of those invest a few days sort of books. I am someone who reads at super human speeds and Johansen’s book took me a couple of days to get through. It is so worth it though. I found myself entirely vested in this story. I did find Lily’s storyline to be more compelling to me while reading because she’s new, however, it did not detract from Kelsea’s storyline. I love that. I like that this book is not at all stale, even for a long investment sort of read.