What is The Queen of the Tearling, and what , by Merlin’s Beard, does it have to do with Harry Potter, you may ask. Well…for Harry Potter/Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) fans who do not know this, Warner Bros. has secured the rights of this novel for Emma to star in the film adaptation of this story by Erika Johansen, and it will be produced by Harry Potter producer, David Heyman. Watson will also be the executive producer on this one, according to Variety!
The publisher of The Queen of the Tearling, Harper Collins, asked Harry Potter’s Page if we would be interested in writing a review for the book in lieu of this fact. I immediately “raised my hand” as fast as Hermione did in Snape’s class, since I was eager to read about a character that appealed to Emma enough to want to do another film of fantasy and magic. And not only that, this book is the first one of a trilogy. So, I was quite pleased that Harper Collins was willing to send me the hardcover book.
The Queen of the Tearling is divided into Book I and Book II, for a total of twelve chapters. It is about Kelsea Raleigh who was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa. No one knows who her father is. She grew up in a cottage in the woods, raised by Carlin and Barty who were devoted servants to her mother. Though taught well by her guardians, Kelsea was unaware of all the details of her kingdom’s “haunted past” and how much control she has over its fate with a sapphire necklace. The necklace was given to her on her nineteenth birthday just before the remnants of the Queens’ Guard came to escort her back to the capital of Tear to ascend the throne as the new Queen of the Tearling.
However, Kelsea does know the facts of her history which is her forefathers had sailed away from a decaying world to a new land that had no modern technology. After three hundred years, the feudal society of this new land was divided into four nations. Three of them pay duties to the Red Queen who rules the fourth nation of Mortmesne.
Kelsea’s journey to Tear’s capital was not an easy one, for it was the first one she has ever taken away from the sanctuary of the cottage and the woods. Her escorts weren’t guarding her by choice but by the honor of an oath to the previous Queen of Tear. Kelsea had to earn their loyalty and respect for them to remain in her service, if they survive the journey. For there are people in power who do not wish to see her on the throne which include her uncle, the current Regent of Tear and the Red Queen herself. Kelsea’s youth and lack of experience, particularly in the art of fighting, made the guards’ mission a precarious one.
Yet once Kelsea arrived at The Keep and discovered an evil happening in the heart of her kingdom, she was willing to use what she does know to fight it, even if that meant incurring the Red Queen’s wrath. Her challenge against the evil brings upon a range of enemies – from ones who use deadly weapons and the darkest blood magic to the crimson-caped assassins known as the Caden.
In spite of the plots to destroy her, Kelsea continues to grow as a ruler in her resolve against the evil, earning her the loyalty of the allies she needs, particularly the secretive Lazarus who leads the Queen’s Guard and the mysterious outlaw “the Fetch”. Both of the men are an intimidating force on their own.
With such a synopsis, I had high expectations for this book, but I became slightly disillusioned by the familiar writing devices of the princess raised in the woods (Sleeping Beauty) and an evil Red Queen (Alice in the Wonderland). Also, it was frustrating how too much background information would be added to a current incident, yet the given information was not enough to comprehend the cryptic behavior of the characters who interacted with Kelsea nor to understand the power of her sapphire necklace.
I thought the pacing was a bit slow. That made it easy to put the book down until the next time I was ready to read it again. Still, the story did have enough illusionary power to draw me back into it each time I did open the book.
I did not appreciate the artistry of Ms. Johansen’s writing until I reached the last part of Book I (Chapter 5). That was when all the accumulated information she gave to me as a reader formed into an intricate understanding of Kelsea’s awakening to the subtle evil that has been in her kingdom for a very long time. Her awakening was climatic, leaving me to look forward to reading Book II.
Be sure to check back for my review on Book II!
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