Review of Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Title: Fate of the Tearling Author: Erika Johansen Publisher: Harper Date Published: November 29, 2016 Where I got the book: ARC won in a Goodreads giveaway *this is no way affects my review* Where You Can Get Book: AMAZON Synopsis from Goodreads: In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager…
Title: Fate of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Date Published: November 29, 2016
Where I got the book: ARC won in a Goodreads giveaway *this is no way affects my review*
Where You Can Get Book: AMAZON
Synopsis from Goodreads: In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.
And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies – chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.
To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable – naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.
So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea – and the Tearling itself – will be revealed…
With The Fate of the Tearling, Erika Johansen draws her unforgettable story full of magic and adventure to a thrilling close.
I really enjoyed the first two books of The Queen of the Tearling Trilogy and the way they married the feel of an epic fantasy novel with dystopian elements. I love Kelsea Raleigh–the way she’s portrayed and her believable growth from altruistic young woman to someone who’s willing to put aside their morals to do what needs to be done. There’s a progressively dark feeling to these novels.
I still love the setting. We remain in the world Johansen built, but its beginnings are fully fleshed out in The Fate of the Tearling. We get to see how their society used to be run and where everything went wrong. Seeing more of Mortmesne was particularly interesting. I have always enjoyed Johansen’s ability to give you something you have a preconceived notion of and then tear it out from under you. She frequently makes you think of things in a new way, and the Mortmesne plot lines are a good example of that.
I wasn’t a fan of The Fate of the Tearling’s storyline, however.. I liked where the story was heading when the second book ended but found myself frequently upset about how she navigated the plot in this book. I thought the Red Queen’s redemption arc was completely off the wall. It felt so out of character for the villain we had come to know. I felt that they broke her, in a sense. She came off weak. I enjoyed learning more about Row. I liked that he was given a face and backstory, but the confrontation with him felt highly unsatisfying.
I felt the narrative had difficulty carrying the multiple points of view from so many different characters. I found myself missing the rapport and witty banter between Kelsea and her guards. It took away a big part of what I enjoyed in previous books. I also felt there was too much of the dystopian element in this book. I liked getting answers and seeing a more complete history of the world, but I had such a hard time keeping track of everything that it was hard to enjoy the story. There were just too many varying points of view, and it made the narrative feel inconsistent.
Another thing I disliked were the new developments in Kelsea and Pen’s relationship. Although I don’t require romance to enjoy a story, it’s a big draw for me. I had liked where their relationship was heading, and the events of this book were frustrating with regards to them.
The Fate of the Tearling left me wishing she had written a prequel instead, so I could have fully immersed myself in the characters and storylines I had come to love throughout the series. I detested the ending. It felt as though she took everything she had spent three entire books building and blew it all apart. I like that she had the courage to go in that direction but the narrative turn seemed weak. It felt like a cop out and I found myself a little confused, wondering what precisely had happened.
I wish the series had ended with a little more hope. Perhaps that isn’t realistic, but I don’t really read fiction for realism. All in all, I did enjoy the book and it was largely well written. I just wish that the narrative had been more consistent, that more page time could have been dedicated to the storylines and characters of the present, and that the ending had been more satisfying.