Fantasy · Ida's English Reading Corner

Review | ‘The Fate of the Tearling’ by Erika Johansen (2016)

“Hell? Hell is a fairy tale for the gullible, for what punishment could be worse than that we inflict upon ourselves? We burn so badly in this life that there can be nothing left.” – The Fate of the Tearling, p. 369

This is the 3rd and last book of the “The Queen of the Tearling” trilogy.
Beware of possible spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books!

With Kelsea in the hand of the Red Queen, the Mace left as regent of the realm and a devilish creature set free to roam the lands, all hope seems lost with the incarceration of the True Queen. Having given her sapphires to the other queen, Kelsea is left to wonder time and again about where those sapphires originally came from and how they work. As time progresses, Kelsea begins to understand that if she wants to change the dynamics of her corrupt kingdom once and for all, she has to dig deeper in its past, whether she likes what she sees or not…

If I would have had all the time in the world, I would have read it in one sitting. The book was breathtakingly good, wonderfully written and it took me back in an instant to Kelsea and her broken kingdom, the Tearling. The third and last book of the Tearling trilogy is much darker than its predecessors and awaits the reader with more horrors and gory details than expected – which, at least to me, was a very, very good thing!

I never grew bored with the plot. I was invested in every little part of the story, even in the issues of the secondary characters like Javel the Gate Guard or Ewen the jailor. By the way, I liked the character of Ewen so much! I loved that most of the characters grew with their tasks and were forced to deal with their shortcomings or failures. This includes Kelsea, whose growing as a person is astounding. I enjoyed how she critically reflects upon her doings that lie in the past.

[Spoiler alert! I had a moment to reminisce on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy when I read the discussion between the Queens Guard Dyer and the Gate Guard Javel. After Javel finally found his wife in Mortmesne, he was disappointed with their reunion (that’s putting it mildly) so that Dyer has to intervene and shut up his whining for good: “Your wife was shipped to Mortmesne while you stayed behind, a free man, and you think you have the right, any right at all, to question how she survived?” I was wildly nodding my head at this point, thank god no one was around at that time to witness that. I just had to share this with those of you who have read it. Spoiler end!]
To be honest, the only thing I did not fully love at first was the ending. To me, it seemed a bit too abrupt and not quite as satisfying as I would have wished it to be and it left me feeling a little bit depressed. Nevertheless, it was innovative and somehow really fit the whole plot. And I have to applaud the author for the bravery to write such an ending which I barely saw coming. Until this last chapter (which I have mulled over in my head for the last few days), I loved this book with all my heart, just as I did with the second one. I laughed, I cried, I sobbed, I had to curl up into a tight ball and wait for all the emotions to pass and let me breathe again. I was heartbroken by some events and revelations in the book and I will definitely be needing time to get over those.

I highly recommend this trilogy to anyone who is open for a story full of believable characters, adventure, a young woman finding her way through trial and error, magic, time travel, but also for those who don’t turn a blind eye towards topics and issues that are problematic ones in our society (namely violence, rape, murder, child trafficking, male dominance and predatory behaviour, slavery, war, injustice and the thought that some people are better than others, … to name just a few). If you are open for a world that is evolving and crystallizing as the story progresses over the course of the three books and not fully available in the first one, this is a series you are very likely to fall in love with. I for one know that I will reread this series in the future… it is that good!

“Hatred is easy, and lazy to boot. It’s love that demands effort, love that exacts a price from each of us. Love costs; this is its value.” – p.81

Author:   Erika Johansen
Title:       The Fate of the Tearling
Series:     The Queen of the Tearling (#3)
Press:      Bantam Books
Year of publication: 2016
Pages:      478
[Genre:   YA | Fantasy | SciFi – Dystopian]

Interested in a review of “The Queen of the Tearling”?  Klick here.
For a review of “The Invasion of the Tearling”, klick here.

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