It’s hard no to be impressed by this book’s quick rise to fame. It was published early of this year and is already being promoted by Emma Watson as she is set to play the Red Queen in the film. That is how I came into contact with it; I read an interview with Emma Watson who said she read the book and loved it.
The book starts with Kelsea Glynn’s nineteenth birthday. But this is not the year for celebration. This is the moment she has been trained for her entire life. The year she rides back to the Keep in Tearling takes from her uncle what is rightfully hers; the throne. But first she has to make it there alive, as many people want her dead.
Along the way we meet many intriguing characters, like the Fetch, Mace and Andalie. For a fantasy/ science fiction it doesn’t overwhelm you with characters. True, the only fantasy that I have read other than this was “The Song of Ice and Fire” series which has hundreds of characters that you need to keep in track of. I really like the number that were presented in this book, because it allowed me to keep track of everyone without making an effort.
Kelsea is also very relatable and likeable, which is always key for me when reading books. She has many young adolescent tendencies (she falls for a handsome criminal and is concerned about her looks) but she is forced to grow up fast if she wants to become queen:
“People who make mistakes rarely live through them, Lady.” (153)
I also loved the fact that she is “plain looking”, again because it makes her more realistic.
The couple of things that I didn’t particularly like was the speed of the plot. A lot happens in a short space of time, especially near the end of the book. I wish more details were given, and (I can’t believe I am saying this but) I actually wish the book was longer. The evolution of the main character I think is compromised, as she starts of being a clear teenager and in a span on a couple chapters she seems to just magically smarten up and becomes a fit ruler.
The other part which I really enjoyed about this read was it’s connection to the real world. Kelsea grows up reading The Lord of the Rings, and Tearling is compared to countries such as USA and the UK. There are small connections with our world that I found incredibly clever.
Verdict:Great series to get into! Johansen is no Tolkien (sorry) but the plot along with the characters make the book a pleasant read. I couldn’t put it down!