The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is book three in the Queen of the Tearling series. I picked up The Queen of the Tearling after I heard that Emma Watson was going to produce and star in it. I love Emma Watson – she’s a force of nature, and she reads. (Why does it seem like the majority of people the world pays attention to don’t?) So, after hearing this tidbit of news I picked up a copy. It was fantastic. I loved book one. Book two came along and I gobbled that up as well. It wasn’t as good as the first, but still pretty damn good. Then book three came along. The conclusion. And well…it tanked.
The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Tearling trilogy.
In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.
To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.
Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.
There are spoilers below. You have been warned.
The main theme and purpose of the protagonist Kelsea Glynn is to make her country, the Tearling, the utopia that it was originally suppose to be. However, corruption of that ideal set in hundreds of years beforehand and to fix it, well there are no easy answers. The idea of being a good Queen, of protecting her people and her kingdom was a great storyline, and the main storyline of book one.
The problem with this book for me is “utopia”. The author has set up this world where that is the end goal, which is lofty because at the end of the series she has to get there. And she does get there in one sense. The book ends in a utopia of a world. Kelsea fixes the moment where things start to go wrong hundreds of years in the past and thus changes the present. However, getting to that point was where the author lost me. I just wasn’t on board with the plot line. I think that the author was so concerned with getting to the utopia that she sacrificed the story to get there – the first books were shown to be unnecessary and I felt that I was cheated because she made the first two books redundant.
The Fate of the Tearling plodded along at a rather slow pace until the end when all of a sudden it was like the author realized she was running out of time and still had so much story left to tell. So much plot to get through, and thus she jammed it into the last 50 pages. It felt like she had all these strands she was desperate to weave together to make the story end the way she wanted it and it showed. It was like being pushed down a path covered with branches and told “this is the only way to go”. I feel like if she had decided to forgo utopia the book would have been so much better.
And that’s the other problem I have – utopia. The last few pages is devoted to it, but it rings hollow. The problem with utopia, just like the problem with communism is that it doesn’t take into account the human condition. It doesn’t take into account greed, or that fact that some people are assholes. It doesn’t take into account the desire for power, for control. It instead pretends that it doesn’t exist, which is more dangerous than acknowledging that it does. The ending of this book rings hollow because it’s unbelievable. It’s not a trustworthy ending. I was completely unsatisfied.
The first two books in this series are great, engaging and interesting. This book, however, was not. Before the end, I was longing for it to be over, and when it was, I was longing for a different storyline because this one drowned in the author’s desire to reach a particular ending that the story didn’t seem to want to follow.