Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review: The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Book Three of The Queen of the Tearling series
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

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. 

What I Liked:

Upon finishing this book, the only thing that came to mind was the word "WOW". This book blew me away. I can't say that I absolutely loved the story and will definitely reread the series again, but I enjoyed the trilogy, especially this final novel. So many pieces come together in a surprising, shocking manner. What an end. 

Kelsea Glynn has given herself over to the Red Queen, in a tactful decision to protect her kingdom. Now in the hands of the Red Queen, she will have to fight to get back to her kingdom, with her sapphires. She begins to see more visions, but visions of the past, involving Jonathan Tear (William Tear's son), a girl named Katie, and Rowland Finn. Meanwhile, the Mace is struggling to hold control over the Keep. And then there is Aisa, Andalie's daughter, who is starting to see her purpose in serving the Queen (Kelsea). A guard named Javel and a simple boy named Ewen will play opposing but important roles in the story, in surprising ways. And all will come together but not as you would think. Everything will end in a way that will have you second-guessing everything.

I'm kind of stunned by this novel (if you couldn't tell). At first I had to orient myself in the Tearling world, because I didn't remember much of book two (besides the ending). A lot of names and places were lost on me, at first. But I started to get back into the story quickly. The beginning lagged but I had no trouble in continuing. 

This particular book is told from many third-person POVs besides Kelsea's; Aisa, Javel, Ewen, the Red Queen. There are flashes from the past - visions that Kelsea sees - in the perspective of Katie Rice, a teenager who lived during the time of William Tear. Katie plays a vastly important role in the book, possibly more important than any other character besides Kelsea - and Katie is merely part of a vision from the past (i.e. she isn't an actual character in the present). 

Johansen does a magnificent job of crafting this Tearling world. It's set in a futuristic time, and it's not quite fantasy, since many references are made to this modern time. For example, the Atlantic Ocean is what William Tear crossed (the "Crossing"); America is the old world; certain technologies once existed that no longer do. The world that Johansen has created in this series is intriguing and awe-inspiring. I think I got the best sense of the Tearling world from this particular book.

I didn't really connect with Kelsea as much as I would have liked, in the previous books, but I've always liked her. She is a powerful Queen who is smart and brave. In this book, she isn't an acting Queen, as she is captured the whole time. But this doesn't take away from her strength and intelligence. She is compassionate where other Queens were not, and very clever.

There are so many other stories/subplots in this book, involving so many secondary characters. For example, Javel, a gate guard, whose wife was sent in a Tear shipment to Mort six years ago, struggles with the reality that his wife is not his wife anymore. Aisa, an adolescent who is very good with knives, wants to do something more with her skill. Ewen, a simple boy and guard, wants to do something as well. So many secondary characters that are important, and very fleshed out.

I think my favorite "story", of this book, was Katie's. We get to see long passages of the past that involve Katie, and William Tear and his son Jonathan, and her best friend Rowland Finn. There is so much history that is so important in shaping the present and future. Kelsea sees Katie's story bit by bit, and begins to understand what she needs to do.

A lot of parts and pieces from the previous two books started to fall into place, and a lot of questions are answered. By the end of the book, anything you might have been curious about earlier in the series has been addressed (in my opinion). I love how intricately woven the story is, and becomes, by the end.

There is little to no romance in this book, and series in general. Not for Kelsea, anyway.

The end! Shocking, clever, and bittersweet. That's all I'm going to see. A fitting and powerful ending, a clever and unconventional one, but not a deus ex machina type, and not a "bad" one. 

What I Did Not Like:

I already mentioned this, but the beginning and other parts of the book definitely dragged at times. I wouldn't say that this book was boring (it was quite engaging!), but it was dense. There was a lot to take in, sometimes in a short amount of space.

Also, I really really wish there was an epilogue. 

Would I Recommend It:

If you like adult fiction (specifically, fantasy), then this is a good series to start. This is NOT Young Adult and certainly not appropriate for just any reader. There is plenty of mature content (gruesome, gory, and sexual), so be aware. But it's a very intriguing and enjoyable series, one that I will be thinking about in the future. 

Rating:

4 stars. This is a conclusion novel worthy of the series. And this is an author worthy of all the hype and praise. Seriously, the writing of the series is so stunning. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author. Also, I am still going to hope for an epilogue!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

19 comments:

  1. This sounds like a really interesting book. I haven't heard of these series before but I do like adult fantasy books. I also like how this book answered a lot of lose end questions and had you thinking. Great review!

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    1. The series is fascinating and intriguing! It's one of Harper's big ones, in their adult publishing.

      Thank you!

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  2. I really liked the first book but stalled in the second one as the twist/ perspective shift kinda threw me. So I haven't finished it yet, and have been curious about this. One of my biggest questions is the link between the old world and the current one, and what actually happened. Maybe I just wasn't getting answers quick enough ha ha. Or maybe I just wanted it t stay fantasy after really liking the first one.

    Anyway great review and glad to hear she brings all the strands together and wraps things up. I may finish these yet... :)

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    1. I know what you mean. I think I remember liking book one more than book two.

      This book definitely provides more answers, especially about the Crossing and just after the Crossing! Very well-written by Johansen.

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy this book/rest of the series, Greg!

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  3. I really need to pick this series up - I almost did when the first book came out and then for some reason it got pushed back on the TBR pile and has just stayed there. With this one upcoming though I think it might be a great time to re-visit my 'want' to read these ones. It sounds like just the thing I will love. ;) I had thought it was a YA series though! Or is it just that the MC is so young?

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    1. It was a very intriguing series! And a little twisted too. You could binge-read the books!

      The MC is young - 19 - but this is not YA. You'll find that a number of Adult Fantasy novels feature a young MC... but that does not make the book YA!

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  4. Oh, I'm so happy to hear that this series finished strong for you! I've heard some pretty mixed things about the first book, but I can forgive a debut novel a lot so long as the series ends on a high note. Erika Johansen is definitely one to watch. Great review, Alyssa! :)

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    1. Me too! It *kind of* slumped with book two, but that could have just been me. I liked book one a lot though. And this third one! Probably the best of the series.

      Thank you, Danya! <3

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  5. Love that you tell us it is not age appropriate for YA. So many people forget that! Great review!

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    1. Yup, it's adult fantasy. But YA readers could read this one, though it's not recommended.

      Thank you!

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  6. Ah, what a great payoff!! It's always an amazing thing to get a fantastic ending--especially when you've stuck with a series despite not completely loving it. And I love when all the pieces seem to click in to place. That "wow" reaction after the final page is just the best feeling!

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    1. Yes! Exactly! I didn't fully enjoy the second book, so I'm glad this third one "redeemed" the series. I was stunned by this book. :D

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  7. I need to read this series soon! I only have the first one and I love how it sounds, but... too little time!
    I'm so glad you loved this series!

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    1. So many books and so little time! It's always a struggle. I hope you enjoy this series if you read the books!

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  8. I read the whole series and I immensely enjoyed it.

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  9. Lovely review sweet girl. <3 And ohh, I'm glad you ended up enjoying this final book a bunch :D YAY! Sadly, book one was a 1 star for me, so never finishing this series, lol :) Not for me at all. But happy you weren't disappointed with how it all ended :)

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    1. Thank you! It was kind of mind-blowing, especially towards the end. I definitely think the series got better as it went.

      Thank you, Carina!

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  10. I loved this series, and have finally finished the final book (a 4 month old baby has meant reading it in 20minute sections for weeks). Please can someone briefly explain how / why Katie becomes / is renamed Caitlyn Tear? I feel like I'm missing something very obvious (again, I blame the non sleeping 4 month old baby). Thanks.

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