The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Invasion of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #2
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you HarperCollins!)

Summary from 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.


If you know me well, you know that I absolutely LOVED The Queen of the Tearling and that I was beyond excited to read The Invasion of the Tearling. Thus, I went into this book with pretty high expectations, fully expecting to love it. So it is with both sadness and bewilderment that I am here telling you that I did not. Now, before I proceed with my reasons why, I do want to stress that this is still a solid sequel and that I did like it. I just didn't walk away with that same enamored feeling.

One of the things I loved most about The Queen of the Tearling was Kelsea herself. She was given responsibility over a broken, corrupt kingdom, was surrounded by enemies and had nothing but difficult choices to make and an unfavorable legacy to overcome. And yet, despite those incredible odds, she rose to the occasion with poise, heart and conviction and slowly won the loyalty and respect of those around her. She was inspiring. But the Kelsea in The Invasion of the Tearling was almost unrecognizable. She was reckless, immature, distracted and went against her better judgement most of the time. Now, the old Kelsea did shine through at times, and damn if that ending wasn't amazing, but I found myself frustrated with her often and I wasn't alone. I know I should allow room for her to grow and make mistakes but, well, I wanted more from her.

There was also the fact that a considerable portion of this book is devoted to Lily Mayhew's story - a women living in the pre-Crossing days. For those looking for answers about how this world came to be and why it is the way that it is - you'll get many of them in this sequel. But while I appreciated getting answers, I usually found the switch to Lily's POV unwelcome.  I did eventually get into her story but these diversions were very long and I was always anxious to get back to Kelsea.

Although the Mort army was marching on the Tearling and the outcome was bleak, I didn't feel the same level of suspense as I did in the first book. The Mort army was a BIG threat but they were the only threat. I guess what I am trying to say is that in the first book, there were many more variables at play to keep readers on the edge of their seats and many more opportunities for Kelsea to shine. That element was also missing this time around.

In a way, I feel like this sequel was more focused on the past than the present. The story didn't exactly move forward as much as you would think for an almost 500 page book. Instead, a lot of the backstory was filled in and the world was expanded upon. But despite my slight disappointment with this sequel, I am still 100% invested in this series. I still love these characters and this world and am itching to know what happens next. I still recommend it.

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