In this riveting sequel to the national best seller 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.
©2015 Erika Johansen (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
When reviewing books I try to be fair; I appreciate that not everyone will be looking for the same things in a book.
The Invasion of the Tearling is the second in Erika Johansen’s YA Tearling fantasy trilogy. It continues the story of young queen Kelsea Glynn as she prepares to deal with the aftermath of her actions in the first novel, The Queen of the Tearling.
I’ll start this review by stating that I hadn’t actually intended to continue with this series, given that I had significant issues with Johansen’s worldbuilding and character development in the first book. However, I recently read the book blurb which indicated to me that Johansen was taking clear steps to address some of the issues with the worldbuilding at least and so I decided to give the series a second chance.
What I liked
Additional point of view character. For this second outing, Johansen has added a second point of view character, Lily. Lily is a woman from the pre-Crossing era who has a strange connection with our protagonist, Kelsea. Through her eyes we learn more about the history of the Tearling’s founding and what led William Tear to strike out to begin his utopia.
I absolutely loved Lily’s story and, personally, I was far more engaged with her plight than Kelsea’s. These sections were wonderful both from a plot point of view and character development. Throughout, I really found myself rooting for her. This section of the book reads more like a dystopian novel than the traditional fantasy of Kelsea’s section, but it worked very well.
It should be noted that Lily’s section deals with some issues which are far grittier and more adult than those generally found in young adult or even new adult books, and was written in a more adult manner. Lily is notably older than Kelsea and is in a different life stage. It could well be that’s why I connected more with her, as I too, am older than your average young adult protagonist!
Lily’s character development was beautifully written.
Kelsea’s romantic life. Often in YA, this can be a particularly problematic area, with the romance either subjected to the inevitable love triangle or so overblown with stars and rainbows it becomes intolerable. I get it. First love can be awesome. Too often though YA authors portray it through rose-tinted spectacles. Johansen’s portrayal of this part of Kelsea’s life felt grounded in reality and was excellently written.
In general I found Kelsea more consistently written in Invasion of the Tearling than she was in Queen. I particularly enjoyed how the connection between her and Lily played out.
The pre-Crossing history. The promise of learning more about the founding of the Tearling was what drew me back in to give this series a second chance and Johansen certainly made good on that promise. I loved what we got, but I’m not one hundred percent convinced, though, that she has allayed the concerns I had from the first book. I still can’t see the logic in why Harry Potter survived the Crossing but the internal combustion engine didn’t. We still have a lot to discover, so I’ll suspend final judgement on this aspect until after the final book.
What I didn’t like
Additional point of view. Yes, I know I had this listed in part of my Likes; let me explain. The two main point of view characters are in different worlds, and are at different life stages and more, importantly, are written as such. It feels almost like two completely separate books, and I’m not certain that they are targeting the same audience.
The audio narration. I had a bit of a problem with the audio narration. The book is narrated by Davina Porter, who, don’t get me wrong, does a great job. My issue is that she is best known to me as the narrator of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Ms Porter has a distinctive voice and half the time I kept expecting Jamie Fraser to come sauntering into the scene. That was my personal issue though and it may not be one for you.
In summary then, I found Invasion a stronger book than Queen of the Tearling. That’s not to say it’s perfect by any means. I’m still not completely certain Johansen can pull together a completely cohesive overall story arc by the end of the trilogy, but I’m invested enough that I want to read book three to find out.
I gave Invasion of the Tearling 3.5-4 stars out of five.
The Lily chapters ruined this book for me. It made the story to disjointed and took me out of the original story arc. it's never taken me so long to finish a book due to my lack of interest in the outcome.
Book 1 was good enough to listen to book 2. Book being read by Davina Porter was a game changer. She is the best narrator around. She pauses at just the right times. Just helps you become part of the story. Now only if audible would have her redo book 1. I can't wait for book 3 to come out. Great story. I found myself checking to see how much time was left, not wanting it to end.
I really enjoyed the first book. The narrators voice was perfect. But why change the narrator on second book? It wasn't right.
The plot device through the character of Lily is unique and ingenious.
My only negative comment on the second book of the series is that Davina Porter does not provide the same quality performance as Katherine Kellgren from the first book. In particular, Ms. Kellgren gives the Morte and the Red Queen French accents. If nothing else, it helps you differentiate between characters. Overall, the performance is still very good and the book is excellent. I cannot wait for the next novel in the series.
I enjoyed Erika Johansen's first novel, "Queen of the Tearlings", and was looking forward to the second book in the series, but I found it disappointing, and was unable to finish it. The book was well set up set up with an interesting main character and engaging secondary characters, plenty of conflict, and an interesting new world with an unknown and mysterious history. However the main focus seemed to be the heroine's inner angst about her appearance, her love life, and her inferiority complex. Davina Porter did a good job reading and interpreting the characters, but it was not enough to redeem the book.
Avid reader and podcast listener.
I wish the author had stayed within the original world rather than flip between present and past.
The author's apparent social, spiritual, and political views shone through in a way that was distracting and oftentimes jarring. The author's personal tone came across as angry and bitter and didn't match the characters or original plot.
There was a new narrator with the sequel and she seemed significantly older, which was was confusing when compared to the lead character(s).
All of the referencing to the past/pre-crossing.
Ugh. Not much that is satisfying happens in this part of the story. The characters take a dark turn and you're launched into a parallel and depressing tale of a completely different character. I'll read the third when it comes out ... But I can't say I enjoyed this one. Also the narration changes which changes the feel of the story.
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