The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is book two in The Queen of the Tearling series. I will admit that the only reason I found out about this series was because I heard that it was going to be made into a movie and that Emma Watson was going to be producing it (and starring in it?). Since her name was attached to the project I looked the book up on Goodreads. Book one – The Queen of the Tearling was excellent, and you can read my review of it here.
So, how did book two measure up? We’ll get to that in a moment. But first, from Goodreads:
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, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what 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, and 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. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
ATTENTION SOME SLIGHT SPOILERS BELOW
This book was good, but I didn’t like it as much as the first. The book hinges on the fact that you’re suppose to like Kelsea, and I didn’t really in this book. I found her rather irritating.
Kelsea develops this connection with a woman named Lily, who you realize exists in a different time. Lily’s story is very interesting, and you learn a lot about the pre-Crossing in this book, as well as William Tear. I was kind of worried that the book would flip back and forth between Kelsea and Lily too often and wreck the flow of the story, but that wasn’t the case at all. The book only shifts to Lily’s perspective a couple of times and those shifts are well placed.
Magic becomes a much more important element in this book as well. Kelsea obviously has her two jewels, and did some heavy magic with them in the first book. The second book delves into the history of jewels and why they are so important to the Tearling. The one aspect of magic that I didn’t like about this book at all, is that to channel her rage, her anger and her other emotions that she cannot display in public, Kelsea starts cutting herself. Certain people know about this behaviour and don’t say anything about it, (And I know. She’s the Queen, what are they suppose to do?), but I don’t like the message that it sends to young women – and men – that this is acceptable behaviour. It’s not.
Other than Kelsea, and Lily, another perspective of the book that matters most is the Red Queen. She has an interesting history that you find out about, and these three women’s stories intersect very well.
The book leaves you on a bit of a cliff hanger, and for all that I didn’t like this book as much as the first, I still really liked it. I’m excited to read the third book when it comes out in June of this year.