On The Cover: 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.
Why I Chose It: After loving the first book I couldn’t wait to continue the series! I’ve been on the hold list at my library since before this book came out and finally I got to read it!
Other Books in the Series:
The one aspect I loved about the first book was Kelsea’s character. I was drawn to her determination and decisiveness, and really loved her overall strength. But throughout The Invasion of the Tearling, Kelsea’s character is slowly changing. The more Kelsea changed, the less I liked her. Yet I found it incredibly intriguing that the secondary and supporting characters didn’t seem to like these changes either. There was this weird push and pull in the book surrounding Kelsea: first Kelsea’s own justifications of the changes that are happening to her; and second her interactions with other characters that showed their negative reactions to these same changes. Despite my growing dislike of Kelsea, I really enjoyed the experience of siding with the secondary characters and not the main character, as it’s not something I’ve experienced a lot as a reader.
This book also took on a different format as it showed something not in the previous book: flashbacks to a life before the Crossing. Kelsea was having visions of Lily, a woman from a very ugly dystopian America, right before the Crossing takes place. I was so conflicted over these flashbacks. On one hand, I loved learning more of the history of the Tearling and getting the chance to see what America looked like before the Crossing. It’s a really intriguing world, and I love how far Johansen pushes the dystopia. I genuinely liked Lily and her story.
But on the other hand, I felt that Lily was overtaking the book. Here we have a giant army marching across the Tearling, death literally marching up to the front door, and Kelsea sleeps through most of it so we can see Lily. It just felt like the two stories were constantly fighting each other. The tones didn’t fit each other, and their pace and the action didn’t match. It was as if two different novels were mashed together and didn’t quite fit. I was very disappointed with how the invasion was so belittled, and I was sadly underwhelmed by Kelsea’s storyline.
Although I wasn’t wowed by this book, I still really enjoyed the process of reading it. Johansen is not just pumping out another YA read – she’s experimenting, she’s pushing boundaries, and she’s taking risks. While I may not enjoy everything that she’s trying to do, I definitely find her writing refreshing and interesting. I enjoy the experience of reading her work – and that is very important to me. I am very much looking forward to reading more from Johansen, both in this series and many others. I recommend checking out this series for a strong YA read but also just for something outside of the box.
Overall Rating: 3 / 5
Creativity/Originality: 5 / 5
Supporting Characters: 4 / 5
Flow/Pacing: 2 / 5
Suspense/Action: 2 / 5
“[He] got to stand right next to the Queen every day, his sword protecting her from the wide world. Surely that was reward enough. Love was a real thing, Aisa thought, but secondary. Certainly love was not as real as her sword.” (Overdrive, 2015)
“[H]ere is where Lazarus and I differ a bit. He believes that avoiding the wrongs of the future is more important than righting the wrongs of the past. […] The wrongs of the past are not less significant, they’re just harder to fix. And the longer you ignore them in favor of more pressing issues, the worse the harm, until the problems of the past actually create the problems of the future.” (Overdrive, 2015)
“The Queen had not thought of her soldiers, only of principle, and principle was cold comfort to men who were going to die. Hall wondered if she truly had magic, as the rumors said, or whether that was simply a fairy tale that the Mace had allowed to spread. The rumors were difficult to reconcile with the woman who sat on the throne, the child-adult with the gaze of an owl. Hall had already made his military assessment – all was lost – but intuition was not logical, and his gut would not allow him to give up. She could save us, he thought stubbornly. She could.” (Overdrive, 2015)