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It Ain’t Easy

Heavy lies the crown in The Invasion of the Tearling, the second book in Erika Johansen’s The Queen of the Tearling series.

It Ain’t Easy

BOOK REPORT for The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2) by Erika Johansen

Cover Story: Turn Arrrrroooooound
BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Time Traveler’s Life
Trigger Warnings: Sexual Abuse, Spousal Abuse, Interrogation Torture, Brutal Deaths
Bonus Factor: Just Desserts
Relationship Status: Questioning My Loyalty

Danger, Will Robinson! The Invasion of the Tearling is the second book in the Queen of the Tearling series. If you have not read the first book—The Queen of the Tearling—turn away now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you have read the first book, however, feel free to continue below. I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but there might be hints at plot points and details about the story.

Cover Story: Turn Arrrrroooooound

I loved the first cover in this series, and although I’m still digging the title treatment and the curly flair bits (that’s the official term for those, I’m positive), the silhouette of the woman on the cover just doesn’t blend with the land she’s looking out over. And the explosions look more like lava eruptions (or bad CG) than true flame.

The Deal:

Hidden away from the world for 18 years, Kelsea Glynn has finally taken the throne that’s her birthright. But her first few decisions as Queen haven’t exactly been easy—nor are they without major consequences, including the vicious Mort army marching toward the Keep.

As Kelsea tries to determine what her next course of action will be, the visions that began when she found the royal sapphires escalate. She even begins to experience the life of a woman named Lily, a woman in a time and place far removed from her own.

BFF Charm: Natalie Imbruglia

Kelsea is—there’s no denying it—a badass. I mean, she’s barely 19 and she rules an entire country, plus she’s got some sweet otherworldly powers. But that old “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” adage? Seems more and more apt as the book goes on.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

There’s quite a bit of sex in The Invasion of the Tearling, but none of it is particularly swoony. On the one hand, there’s rape—which is NEVER, IN ANY SENSE OF THE WORD, SWOONY—and then there’s consensual sex that’s barely more than perfunctory. Even queens, with all the responsibilities that lie on their shoulders, deserve loving, hot relationships!

Talky Talk: Time Traveler’s Life

The Queen of the Tearling brought up a lot of questions about how a feudal society could have a complete set of Harry Potter books on their bookshelves. In the book, Erika Johansen crafted a world that felt old, but hinted at possibly being in the far flung future. It was intriguing and fresh. This feel continues in The Invasion of the Tearling, but some of the mystery is cleared up as we experience Kelsea’s visions of [REDACTED FOR SPOILERS]. I love that we got to learn more about Kelsea’s world.

Kelsea herself also feels older and more mature, even when she’s cursing out good-for-nothing nobles or punching people she dislikes.

Trigger Warnings: Sexual Abuse, Spousal Abuse, Interrogation Torture, Brutal Deaths

The Invasion of the Tearling is a crossover novel, and has been marketed as both a YA and adult book. But it’s definitely on the mature side of YA—as you can see from the list above, it features a lot of sensitive and uncomfortable scenes and topics.

Bonus Factor: Just Desserts

It’s always awesome to see villains get what’s coming to them. And certain villains in The Invasion of the Tearling REALLY get it good.

Casting Call:

I cast Kelsea* in my review of the first book in the series, and I’ll add:

Sylvester Stallone as The Mace

Although he might not be able to put as much nuance into the Mace’s “tell a novel in a single look” facial expressions as other actors, Sylvester does have the right amount of grizzle and is the right age.

*Really, I cheated, since Emma Watson had already been cast in the movie adaptation, but ...

Relationship Status: Questioning My Loyalty

Although I still really enjoyed your stories, Book, I’m beginning to wonder about how safe it is to have pledged my loyalty to your queen. I value the strength of my word, but I value my life, too. Hopefully things can only go up from here?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from HarperCollins I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Invasion of the Tearling is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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