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Uneasy Lies The Head

Erika Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling series ends on a satisfying, if surprising, note.

Uneasy Lies The Head

BOOK REPORT for The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen

Cover Story: Bauble
BFF Charm: Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Future Fantasy
Bonus Factor: Good Ending
Relationship Status: Friends

Trigger Warning: Unlike it’s predecessor, The Fate of the Tearling has fewer scenes of an adult nature, but there is one sexually abusive encounter between Kelsea and a male character that is jarring and uncomfortable, and unfortunately reminded me of a certain president-elect’s bullshit “locker room talk," irrevocably tainting said male character forever.

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

Cover Story: Bauble

That is a LARGE gemstone. And the house in it looks like something out of Hogsmeade.

The Deal:

Queen Kelsea Glynn traded her life to the Red Queen for the good of her country. But the Red Queen might need more help than a political prisoner to keep her own country from falling; the rebellion in Mortmesne is gaining solid ground. Things in the Tearling aren’t all sunshine and rainbows under the Mace’s regency, either: God’s Church doesn’t like being told what to do, and certainly doesn’t appreciate Kelsea sticking her nose in their business.

Kelsea continues to experience visions of early life in the Tear as well, and slowly begins to connect the dots of the past decisions and situations that led her people to where they are in the present. But experiencing and learning from them and figuring out what her next steps should be seems like an impassable divide, particularly when she’s stuck in a rival kingdom’s dungeon.

BFF Charm: Eventually

When we first met in The Queen of the Tearling, I liked Kelsea a lot. She’s a strong, idealistic, loyal woman who knows that’s she’s not perfect, but will do whatever it takes to make things right. She also loves books with a passion that rivals my own. But as she came into power in The Invasion of the Tearling, she started getting a little scary. Her power, both as a Queen and the magic she could wield, grew, and with it came a side of her personality that made me wary. I still liked her, but I felt us growing apart.

In The Fate of the Tearling, she’s still somewhat scary, but makes huge strides toward mastering that side of herself. By the end of the book, she’s vastly different from the girl I met in the first novel, but again someone I think I’d get along well with.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

The swoon in the Queen of the Tearling series is a strange sort. There are actual sex scenes, and they’re supposedly portraying really great sex (spoiler alert: a character in The Fate of the Tearling has three orgasms in quick succession), but very little about them is swoony. The acts are kind of violent and there’s very little love or even companionship involved. If you prefer your swoon this way, that’s cool—I’m not judging—but I like a little more romance with mine.

Talky Talk: Future Fantasy

I really love the world building in the Queen of the Tearling series and the unique way Erika Johansen has combined fantasy and dystopian elements. It’s fascinating to think about a future society that basically started over with a feudal system, and I honestly was more invested in their stories than Kelsea’s present at a lot of points in The Fate of the Tearling. Occasionally, the switch between past and present gets a little confusing (thanks in part to a few actual errors in the copy of the book I read), but for the most part it’s pretty clear what’s happening when.

Bonus Factor: Good Ending

I wouldn’t go so far as to label this TEABS, because I had my issues with the series, but I did enjoy the trilogy overall. And I really liked the way this final book wrapped everything up. The plot’s conclusion surprised me, but made a lot of sense when I thought back on everything that had happened up to that point.

Casting Call:

I cast Kelsea in my review of the first book and The Mace in my review of the second, but thanks to commenter Jasmine, I realized that the casting for The Mace was all wrong. Jasmine’s pick of Ray Stevenson was much more appropriate, so let’s go with him.

Ray Stevenson as The Mace

I’ll also add:

Andrew Lee Potts as Row

Relationship Status: Friends

We’ve had our ups and downs, Book. There were times I didn’t like you, and times you frustrated me. There were also times I loved you, and times you kind of blew my mind. Our time together was unique, and although I might not classify us as MFEO, we’re still pretty good together.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Harper, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Fate 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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