Audiobook Review: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

InvasionoftheTearlingSource: Library
Publisher: Harper Audio
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #2
Narrator: Davina Porter
Edition: Audiobook, 18 hours and 10 mins
Genre: Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon  / Barnes & Noble *
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5

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 have not read Queen of the Tearling then there may be some spoilers located in the review below. Long story short I really enjoyed Invasion of the Tearling. The world building finally comes together and Kelsea remains to be a force to be reckoned with. 

The Queen of the Tearling was a rather odd book, and Invasion keeps this trend going. It offers the incredibly realistic world from the first book and expands upon it, giving us the history we craved and the answers we sought after.

When we leave off in Queen of the Tearling Kelsea was beginning to prepare for the oncoming invasion from Mortmesne (mort-main) and was establishing herself as a queen with a mind for ruling both smartly and fairly. For better or for worse. Now the threat is drawing ever closer and Kelsea is introduced to new players and new powers. At this point I’m pretty sure I’m in love with this series. The bizarre nature of the land they live in is one that I’ve questioned since book one, and I hated that it was never truly explained because we know the settlers came from a world like ours but very little mention on how and why they made the Crossing. We get this backstory in the form of visions through Kelsea, and we begin to see the life of a Pre-Crossing woman named Lily. She lives in a world a little more advanced than our own technology-wise, but a lot of the rights and freedoms we are accustomed to are gone. I loved getting to know Lily, but damn was it painful She’s a tad naive, but she doesn’t like her life and the moment the idea of more dawns on her she can’t get it out of her head. Her struggle was painful but I think she became a stronger woman because of it, she just needed the space to grow. Back in Kelsea’s world war is raging and society is facing some rather important issues thanks to the constant pressure of the Holy Father and the Arvath. One could argue that this book takes on too many social issues (i.e. birth control, women’s rights, LGBT, etc.) but while there were a lot to be handled I think they were handled well and in a way that it didn’t sound overly preachy in getting it’s point across.

The only problems I had with this book lie with Kelsea herself. She’s a strong woman, and at only 19 she has some self confidence issues that she’s been struggling with since the first book. I loved that about her. I loved that she knew her worth was more than what her face looked like, but she still couldn’t help but worry at it…I’ve been there plenty of times. I also loved her love affair with the new power she’s gained thanks to her jewels, and the spiral it sends her own. Her path definitely gets a bit darker in areas and lighter in others, and the internal struggle she had with these were excellently done. My problem however lie in her “I must be more adult” mantra that she’s taken on. Personally I found this ridiculous because when you look at what she’s doing on a daily basis (ruling a country for example) the fact that she finds herself lacking simply because she’s a virgin is just idiotic. I mean I know all young adults venture into that mindset at some point, like it’s some odd race just because you hit an age where you feel you need to be attainable…but seriously? Why is this a worry? If people are looking at you like you’re a kid simply because you haven’t had sex yet, they are a bunch of idiots and you need to get away from theme. Plus added to the fact that no one but her (well and the Holy Father who insists upon marriage) really even cares what goes on in her bedroom I found this to be a weirdly  immature inclusion. Understandable? Yes…Likeable? NO

The narrator, Davina Porter, was a great choice for these books. She has a great repertoire of voices for the characters and her pacing was excellent. Definitely another one of those storybook type voices perfect for a hold nothing back fantasy novel.

Overall I really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait for the next book…especially since the ending was so open. These books are not for the faint of heart and contain both the horrors of war and the horrors of domestic abuse, if you don’t like detailed conflicts of either nature it might be best to sit this one out.

4 stars

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One Response to Audiobook Review: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

  1. LOL…could someone please define more adult? I’ve been trying to do that for years..hehe. Sounds like a good listen!

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