“Fortune favors the bold, history tells us. Therefore, it behooves us to be as bold as possible.” – Erika Johansen, The Invasion of the Tearling
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.
I have such an obsession with this world, as you can tell from the overkill of sticky note annotations…
This trilogy fought its way into my heart and quickly became one of my favorites (without the third book even being out yet!). Not only is it one of my favorite series, but also one of my favorite worlds to immerse myself in. If Erika Johansen hadn’t proven her ability to create an intricate and realistic world in The Queen of the Tearling, then she definitely proved it in The Invasion of the Tearling. Johansen has a way of making me want to know everything about the Tearling and its history. If I wasn’t attached to the characters, if I disliked every one of them, I’d still read these books purely to learn about this world. I want a textbook that covers ‘pre-crossing’ and the history of the Tearling and William Tear.
The second installment of the trilogy is full to the brim with character development, specifically Kelsea’s. It can be easy to forget that Kelsea is a 19-year-old who has taken her place as queen and made some very emotionally and morally driven decisions. Her heart is in the right place, but there are consequences to every decision. Kelsea is finding out exactly what the consequences are for the decisions she’s made throughout the second book. Often, Kelsea the 19-year-old girl and Kelsea the queen clash, which makes her an incredibly realistic character with intense internal conflict. It can’t be easy to protect and fight for an entire kingdom of people while balancing magic, sexuality, and depression. Through the novel, I could see Kelsea changing. I saw her at her lowest, and I saw her begin to pick herself back up. Add the significant development of other minor characters and Lily Mayhew and we have a book jam packed with incredible characters that are growing and changing through the entire book. The way Johansen develops her characters is realistic and meaningful.
The Invasion of the Tearling covers many more themes than its prequel. Themes in this book ranged from coming of age and finding yourself to human morality to how the past can affect the present and future. In this novel, we see Kelsea growing and fighting not only her inner demons, but also physical demons. Johansen shows how past strife can ultimately make or break a person for the rest of their life. And, arguably the strongest theme is human morality or immorality.
Johansen is an incredibly talented writer. I love that she has put so much into this world and has given it its own history. It’s intricately crafted and always leaves me wanting more. I would read spin-off after spin-off of these characters if Johansen wanted to give them to us! The Invasion of the Tearling pulled me even more into the world. It gave me answers to so many questions while still forcing me to ask new ones.
November needs to get here quicker!