The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Book Three of The Queen of the Tearling series
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.
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!
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