The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2) by Erika Johansen
Publisher: Bantam Press
Released: July 16th 2015
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on 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. (from Goodreads)
The Invasion of the Tearling was not what I expected. It was a lot darker than the first book, and some weird and unexpected things happened.
Kelsea had changed in this book. The fact that she had to become pretty and thin kind of annoyed me - I liked the fact that she was plain before. It was so emphasised in the first book as well, so I didn’t understand the need for this whole transformation - other than the fact that now Emma Watson will be perfect for the part in the film. But anyway, that wasn’t the only part that changed. Kelsea had become more brutal, more ruthless. She wasn’t afraid to kill or cause pain. I don’t know whether the sapphires were affecting her mind and making her this way or something but I actually quite liked seeing this darker side to her, that refused to back down. I do think it was weird that she was suddenly becoming so powerful just on her own though. Where was this power coming from? The sapphires again? How was she controlling it? I would have liked to have known more, especially since she was basically now a match for the Red Queen who was supposed to be undefeatable. She was also less naive and though she was still weirdly fascinated with the Fetch (which still baffled me, seriously, WHAT did she see in him? She barely knew the guy and apparently had all these strong feelings for him - stronger than her feelings for Pen - WHY) she had also started up a relationship with Pen. It was purely a sexual relationship - at least in Kelsea’s eyes - but I get the feeling Pen liked her a lot more than she liked him. Which was a shame because I much preferred Pen to the Fetch. Though I swear I remember Kelsea saying in book one that she wasn’t attracted to any of her Guard because they were all too old? How old was Pen anyway? Because from book one I thought he was in his thirties but this book made him seem younger. I really hope he was younger because otherwise it’s kind of creepy. Especially since Kelsea was still pretty immature in this book (just because you can kill people with your weird magic powers, Kelsea, and know a few good strategies in war, doesn’t make up for your ridiculous bratty behaviour at other times).
Kelsea was also seeing strange visions from the past throughout the book, about a woman named Lily. Lily suffered horrific violent and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband Greg and was seemingly just a random woman in the first few flashbacks until she met another woman named Dorian, and it became obvious these were the events occurring right before the Crossing. While I initially didn’t enjoy these chapters much (I am not a huge fan of POV switches or flashbacks), it was definitely interesting to find out more about the pre-Crossing days and learn how the world Kelsea lived in came to be. Honestly, not that much was actually explained [spoiler, highlight to view](I am so confused by the whole time/portal thing)[end of spoiler] but we got to see William Tear and a bunch of other interesting characters, and learn how they were connected, so I was starting to understand this weird future setting we were in. Plus, it seemed [spoiler, highlight to view]Lily and Kelsea were somehow related so I am interested to find out what that will mean for Kelsea in the next book[end of spoiler].
Plot-wise, a lot of things I did not expect happened. Kelsea did not always make the best decisions though, especially concerning a certain Row Finn (she knew he was evil and multiple people had warned her about him and yet STILL ugh - it’s not like she even really needed his help or urgently had to know what he knew). However, I did like a lot of the things she did do, especially when she got Ayliss to draft the Bill and when she faced the Red Queen [spoiler, highlight to read](though the Red Queen didn’t really do anything? Isn’t she meant to be super powerful?)[end of spoiler]. I also loved the scene with the Holy Father because it was funny and Kelsea just wasn’t taking any of his crap. It was true that she didn’t really need the protection of her Guard anymore, and I sincerely hope we do get to learn more about her power in the next book and how she managed to become so strong. Also, who is her damn father?! I am dying to know! And I want to know more about Mace too, he seemed to have an interesting past. After the ending I am curious to see what happens in the next book. I honestly can’t guess so that intrigues me. The writing was okay but again, too many POV changes for me and I just couldn’t be interested in those side characters - I just wanted to get back to the main story and so it felt like a lot of things dragged on.
Overall, this was a solid sequel. I will never love this series, I have too many problems with the characters and the world-building (see my review for book one) but I’m invested enough to pick up the third book.