Kelsea is nineteen. Because of this, the soldiers have come for her. To take her to the city and reclaim what is rightfully hers - the throne. Kelsea is Queen of the Tearling. Because of this, she must leave her adopted parents, go to the city and take the throne and, somehow, begin the huge unspeakable task set before her - figure out how to save her people from the corruption from within her kingdom and the overwhelming threat of the Red Queen in the neighbour kingdom, who needs little excuse to invade.
Kelsea has all the marks of a true Queen: fair, just and powerful. That is, if she can stay alive long enough...
This book is an interesting creature. It's not your typical YA book. If you went into a bookshop, you would have to go into the adult fantasy/sci-fi section. But this has really strong crossover appeal. It's a mix of genres - historical, but set in the future and with hints of dystopian in it. Has fantasy elements, but they are few and far between. It's more political and has a wider cast of characters. It's difficult to explain this book.
But, for some reason, it worked. A good chuck of this book, I really enjoyed it. It felt like a fantasy novel I have been waiting to read for ages and, at last, here it was! It was something I could sink my teeth and, once I found my footing with the story, I whizzed through. I wanted to know all the political and see the beginnings of the alliance that are setting up for, not only this book, but the trilogy as a whole. It had magic but used sparing. And there was strong characters and ideas and themes. It felt like a grown-up fantasy, something I really should be getting into more as I enjoy fantasy. And I wanted more. This story ticked most of my boxes when it comes to fantasy.
I am going to admit there are problems. This wasn't perfect. I wasn't the biggest fan of the audiobook's narrator when I started this. I warmed to her as the story went along and, by the time we got a few chapters in, I couldn't imagine anyone else reading this. But, there were times, when she read it, I just didn't click. And when an action scene was happening, she would read louder and faster.
But the reason it took such a long time to audiobook is because the first 100/120 pages, the characters were travelling on horseback. I get why this happened - we had to get to know some of our main players in this story and this is the best way - but it was SO SLOW!
Another thing some people won't like while reading/listening to this story is that there is a lot of backstory to characters and a lot of long-winded descriptions/details. Now, I liked this, but I know some people won't.
But I really enjoyed this. I'm surprised how much I did enjoy this! This felt like a fantasy book I have been waiting for a very long time to read, and I can not wait to read The Invasion of the Tearling.