Blog Tour Book Review: The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

 

the-fate-of-the-tearling-cover About The Fate of the Tearling

• Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Harper (November 29, 2016)

Katniss Everdeen, you have competition.”—Entertainment Weekly

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.

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the-queen-of-the-tearlingAbout The Queen of the Tearling

A #1 Indie Next Pick and LibraryReads Selection

Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

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HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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the-invasion-of-the-tearling-coverAbout The Invasion of the Tearling

In this riveting sequel to the national bestseller The Queen of the Tearling, the evil kingdom of Mortmesne invades the Tearling, with dire consequences for Kelsea and her realm.

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.

In this dazzling sequel, Erika Johansen brings back favorite characters, including the Mace and the Red Queen, and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery, and a fierce young heroine.

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Happy Monday everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I received this book from the publisher Harper Collins through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it. 

The Fate of the Tearling is the third and final book in the Queen of the Tearling series. It is a fantasy series about a young girl who discovers that she is actually the Queen of this land called the Tearling. She was raised as a normal child and unbeknownst to her, many people have been searching for her to either assassinate her or put her on the throne. It’s very much a tale of her journey to become the Queen and protect her people and her land. If you’d like to check out my reviews for the first two books you can check them out here: The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling. 

There isn’t much I can reveal about the plot of this third book since this is the concluding installment but I can definitely tell you that this book is phenomenal. I have really enjoyed the series as a whole and I was so blessed to be able to read this book for a review as it is definitely my most anticipated book of 2016 because I just had to know what happened next after the cliffhanger ending of the second book.

I love a lot of things about this series and about this installment in general: this third book is definitely my most favorite of the three. It is definitely a fantasy story but it’s also dark and gritty. The setting is totally brutal at times and the events unbelievably harrowing. I was literally on the captivated and on the edge of my seat through the entirety of this book. 

Kelsea is my jam. She is such a wonderful character and her development throughout the series from a quiet girl unsure of herself into this badass, leader queen has been an awesome thing to see. She does many things in this book that just had he cheering out loud! She develops into a strong character who is a force to be reckoned with but I love that she was written in a very real way that shows that she has flaws, even while being completely badass.

I just really have loved the overall concept of this book and it’s unique multifaceted plot. I love that both YA and adult readers can enjoy it. It has been quite a journey with these characters. There has been so much conflict, betrayal, tragedy and even some romance. Once you start reading this book, you just don’t want to stop. It’s gripping, dark and will keep you glued to your seat. A five star read for sure! I actually gave this entire series five stars, it is that good and one that I will most surely reread in the future.

About Erika Johansen

Erika Johansen grew up and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to Swarthmore College, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and eventually became an attorney, but she never stopped writing.

Follow the Tearling series on Facebook and Tumblr.

Blog Tour Book Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere author preferred text coverAbout Neverwhere

• Paperback: 464 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 7, 2016)

National Bestseller

Selected as one of NPR’S Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of All Time

The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s ultimate edition of his wildly successful first novel featuring his “preferred text”—and including his special Neverwhere tale, “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”

Published in 1997, Neverwhere heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy. Over the years, a number of versions were produced both in the U.S. and the U.K. Now Gaiman’s preferred edition of his classic novel reconciles these works and reinstates a number of scenes cut from the original published books.

Richard Mayhew is a young London businessman with a good heart whose life is changed forever when he stops to help a bleeding girl—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.

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Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Neverwhere: The Authors’s Preferred Text by Neil Gaiman. I would like to send a huge thank you to the author, TLC Book Tours and the publisher William Morrow for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

Truth be told I have heard of Neil Gaiman and Neverwhere before. Though I still consider myself to be pretty new to Neil Gaiman’s work, I have wanted to read this book for a very, very long time so when I had the chance to read this version I jumped at it. I was pretty intrigued by the fact that this is the story the way the author prefers to tell it. That being said, if you have read and experienced Neverwhere before this is probably different from what you read before as it has been changed by the author in a few ways to tell the story the way he ultimately intended to. After reading this version, I wish that I had read the first one just so I could compare and contrast the differences between the two.

It is about a young man, Richard Mayhew, whom moves to London to take a new job. He ends up encountering a bleeding, hurt girl named Door and stops to help her. Having helped her he becomes part of another world, the London Below where people have been forgotten and quite literally have fallen through the cracks of the London Above. This London Below is dark, dangerous, fantastical and has far different rules than the London above. Not having anywhere to go he joins Door in her quest to find the person responsible for the death of her family.

I have read one other book from Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and I loved it. This book was no different in that respect, I ended up really loving and enjoying this book. Although I have heard of it before and added it to my TBR list ages ago, I was never spoiled for this book…fortunately. I loved following the story as it unfolded. This book to me was magical, I got lost in it. I got lost in the gritty, dark feel of the underground and the dangers that seemingly lurked around the corners. I loved the writing – it was descriptive and beautiful. I had a clear picture in my mind the entire time of the people and the places.

I loved all the characters, creepy and good. While Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were super creepy, I loved their creepiness in relation to the story. They terrified me. I loved the hunter and Richard and Door. I just thought everyone was really memorable and fleshed out really well. One of my favorite things in this book was the use of foreshadow and of course, all the fantastical elements. It’s just an intriguing concept of having this whole other world, events and lives existing beneath and even within our own. It’s definitely a more than meets the eye type story and I loved it and devoured it. There was a delicious element of danger throughout that kept me flying through the story. I also found myself eager to just keep encountering things and exploring this world. It was wonderful and I highly recommend to fantasy fans especially fans of darker fantasy stories. Five stars and this book has earned a place on my favorites shelf! Now I need to go on reading more Neil Gaiman!

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Neil GaimanAbout Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Find out more about Neil at his website, find all his books at his online bookstore, and follow him on Facebooktumblr, Twitter, and his blog.

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Book Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggon

Black SpringTitle: Black Spring by Alison Croggon
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page count: 281 pages
Format: Ebook ARC
Rating – 4/5

In a savage land sustained by wizardry and ruled by vendetta, Lina is the enchanting but willful daughter of a village lord. She and her childhood companion, Damek, have grown up privileged and spoiled, and they’re devoted to each other to the point of obsession. But Lina’s violet eyes betray her for a witch, and witches are not tolerated in a brutally patriarchal society. Her rank protects her from persecution, but it cannot protect her from tragedy and heartbreak. An innocent visitor stands witness to the devastation that ensues as destructive longing unleashes Lina’s wrath, and with it her forbidden power. Whether drawn by the romantic, the magical, or the gothic, readers will be irresistibly compelled by the passion of this tragic tale.

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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am a big fan of Wuthering Heights and never tire of reading it so when I read that this book was inspired by it I had to request it.

Black Spring is about a small country village named Elbasa where life runs a little differently…the landscape is dark and craggy and the villagers still adhere to centuries old traditions. Lina, Damek and Anna grow up together and are swept up up in the tragic twists of fate where innocence is lost and love is as passionate as it is ruinous.

I ended up giving this book four stars because I really really liked it. I loved the darkness of it’s setting and it definitely was evocative of the feeling I had when reading Wuthering Heights. There is a strong romance here, as crazy as it ends up at the end. It is the kind of romance though that is dark and twisting, tragic in it’s end. I have seen some blurbs that liken the writing to that of Tolkien and heartily agree that the writing style is similar – elegant, gorgeous and dense. The story is split up into sections according to the perspective through which we are receiving it. We are given the story through two perspectives: Hammel who is somewhat vacationing in Elbasa and through Anna whom is a resident of the village and most importantly the one who recounts the vast majority of this book. I really think that this story could have been told solely through Anna’s perspective rather than also having Hammel’s perspective which didn’t really make much sense to me. I didn’t really care for his narrative but really liked the rest of the story as given through Anna.

The only character that I felt I really connected to (and this is quite possibly due to the bulk of the book being told through her perspective) was Anna. I didn’t like Lina’s character and I found myself intrigued by Damek in the first half of the book but once he leaves the village and comes back I just didn’t care for him anymore.

This book falls under the fantasy genre but it is pretty light on the fantasy. It does involve a witch, a little magic and a tiny amount of the paranormal. The feel is very gothic and classic. I recommend to fans of this style as well as fans of Wuthering Heights. It can be read without having read Wuthering Heights but I think having read it enabled me to get the full effect of the book and I definitely enjoyed it.

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

QueenTitle: The Queen of the Tearling written by Erika Johansen
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Page count: 434
Format: Hardcover
Rating – 5/5!

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen. (Goodreads)

It’s been months since I first heard about The Queen of the Tearling, and over those few months I had succeeded in hyping this book up for myself. When it was finally published early last month I sent my husband to the bookstore and got my hands on a copy. It took me a few days to prepare myself to read it because I just knew it was going to be epic…and it was.

The Queen of the Tearling is 437 pages of a wonderfully written, beautifully detailed fantasy novel. It’s a dark fantasy set in a dystopic world that seems to take place centuries after our time. The best thing about this book is it’s strong heroine, Kelsea, whom is unlike any other heroine that I have read of so far. She’s not your typical beautiful heroine that everyone falls all over themselves over. She is plain, not very feminine or graceful but is strong, courageous and intelligent unlike her mother, the queen before her that was vain and petty. Kelsea is without a doubt a badass.

I don’t know if it was my built up anticipation to read this book but I fell in love with it instantly. The vast universe that Johansen has woven for us  is so interesting and literally delicious to absorb. Once I began reading it, I couldn’t bear to be away from it for more than a few seconds at a time. It is so absorbing, sweeping and so detailed in scope.

When I first saw how big the novel was I thought that maybe it was a standalone but having finished this book, I know for certain that this is the first book in what is going to be a KILLER series. From what I understand this is also going to be a movie which I am super excited about because there are these epic, amazing moments in the book that just HAVE to be translated to the big screen, they just have to be. I’m expecting amazing things from this author, since her debut was so earth shattering for me. I cannot wait for the next one.

If you haven’t heard of this book or are contemplating reading it, do it!!! You will not be disappointed!

Happy reading everyone!

P.S. What a beautiful cover right? There is also another version that I thought was really cool (see below). Which do you like more?

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