Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Review: The Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen

Written by: Erika Johansen
Published by: Random House UK/Transworld Digital
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 380
Purchase from:  Amazon   |  Book Depository
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 neighbouring 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.

As you can tell from my review of the first book in the series, The Queen of the Tearling, (which you can read here) I absolutely adored Johansen's writing style, her development of characters and basically just everything about the story. So it didn't take me very long to decide which book I had to read next. The Invasion of the Tearling picks up right where The Queen of the Tearling left off, meaning that just like the first book it hits the ground running, pulling no punches where action and risk is concerned and just out right being completely mind consuming. 
"Corruption begins with a single moment of weakness."
First off, there is not a lot too the second book, in other words its only 380 pages, and I did have some minute practically minuscule problems that were hardly anything at all, but nonetheless didn't really sit right with me. One of these being I really did not enjoy how the relationship between the Mace and Kelsea had changed slightly. It was slow burning but it still bugged me how after everything they had been through the Mace was being slightly disbelieving of Kelsea's visions and ideas. Normally I would see this a character growth because in truth the relationship between them is growing to an almost father daughter feel but for some reason my brain kept picking at it not letting it settle. Having said this, individually I absolutely adored how the characters were still growing ad developing. For one, Kelsea was clearly maturing and become regal in her position, making her so much stronger, she's taking on the role of queen and, in my opinion, flourishing.
“When it fails, they do call it madness, Lazarus. But when it succeeds, they call it genius.”
Secondly, even though I got completely sucked into the story from the very first paragraph I couldn't help but think that the pacing of the story in some areas dragged slightly. After the first couple of chapters, I realised this was down to the 'flashbacks' that Kelsea was experiencing. For me, it made the story elongate and travel to places that I thought weren't necessarily needed. I understand that it added background to the story, and opened up and developed areas within Kelsea's magic that the first book didn't touch, but I really couldn't get into these parts of the story. It took away the intensity slightly because while there is a war going on and highly stressful and intriguing sub plots happening in the current world, we are pulled into a world that is connected, and in different ways intense, but not not necessarily needed throughout the entire novel. It gives pause to the current story to make way for a new one and in my opinion it slowed the novel down and dragged out the story. Not only this but it adds a whole new level of confusion of the world it is set in because there are basically two sets of storyline going on in one novel, with two different worlds that add up to one. 
“Even small gestures of kindness have the potential to reap enormous rewards. Only the shortsighted man believes otherwise.”
All in all, The invasion of the Tearling is reaches up to expectations that the first novel sets. It makes you fall in love with the story all over again and makes you itch for more. It does have its confusion with the world its built in still mixed in within the pages, but it doesn't stop you from getting completely gripped within the story. The characters achieve the impossible and become vastly more developed than the previously novel and the relationships between Kelsea and her guard become a lot sweeter and family like, which just adds to the story in a perfect way. While I did have some grievances with the novel, it wasn't enough to take way from the sheer beautiful quality the writing has to offer and I fell in love with it all over again. Making The Invasion of the Tearling a pretty much idealistic sequel to an all over thrilling first book. 
The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)