Review: “The Fate of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen

I guess I’ll make a disclaimer that I did not reread the series in prep for the final book. It didn’t hinder me wholly as I went back and read my previous two reviews on it but there were some characters I forgot about. Regardless, that didn’t deter me from the story and things slowly came back to me as I continued reading.

the-fate-of-the-tearlingTitle: The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3)
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Harper
Release date: November 29, 2016
Length: 478 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.”screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-10-04-40-am

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Despite rating this book with 4 stars, I’m struggling trying to gather my thoughts together into a coherent review. I was skeptical about the first book, loved the second book, and while I did enjoy this book as well, the ending left me…wanting and a bit dissatisfied. Is this the reason why the publication date was pushed back a few more months? In my head, I wonder if it was worth it.

Right, so, world building. Excellent, and in this case, I think the flashbacks really helped. Despite that, the whole Pre-Crossing and how the adults didn’t want to talk about it ultimately hindered the Town as a whole. The idea of having a utopia-esque society as well had good intentions but ultimately failed. The quote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” plays well in here because I feel like that’s exactly what happened to the Town. Ultimately, we saw its final crumble when a particular character left. As we learned from the last book, Tear has some sort of crazy magic that allows him to go through time. As for the actual Tearling, Kelsea is held prisoner by the Red Queen. The readers received some background information on the Red Queen and how she and Kelsea tie together so I wasn’t quite sure what the point of the Red Queen, especially since the book ended the way it did.

Truthfully, I wanted more of Andalie. She had a lot of potential and I felt as if it was only marginally explored. I don’t think there was any part of this book I didn’t like minus the ending. Every single part was action-packed. I think the author wanted us to have sympathy for some characters (like the Red Queen) and also have us dislike many characters (Row Finn, maybe even the Fetch although did he try to redeem himself towards the end?). To me, what was still vague was what exactly Row Finn, the Fetch, and the children all were. They spoke about drinking blood and having crazy red eyes so all I can think is “VAMPIRES” although I doubt that’s what they really are, haha.

Here’s what I ultimately did like: that Kelsea was able to meet William Tear in a very Harry Potter-meets-Dumbledore-in-book-7 kind of way. Haha. I was still curious has to how Tear came to have his “magic.” If I remember correctly, the previous book stated that he had the sapphires for a very, very long time and that they were passed down in his family but that doesn’t really explain anything. Why was Tear the only one with these abilities? It became obvious that the people resented him for it (hence, more crumbling of the Town). Right, so Tear gives Kelsea three options: the past, present, and future. Truthfully, I was surprised she chose the way she did. She viewed it as “saving the Tearling” but… I don’t know. When she finally “became” Katie all that came after, there was a significant turn and that one decision changed everything–the whole fate of the Tearling. (OMG, I GET IT. THE TITLE MAKES SENSE.)

Yet there’s still a part of me that wishes it had ended differently–that there had been a way to fight against the Mort army and Row’s “children.” I mean, Kelsea had her freakin’ sapphires. She DESTROYED that bridge and MUTILATED those people and yet… Her choice sort of made everything else pointless. Kind of a bit of a letdown, though I can see and understand that was, ultimately, her way to save the Tearling.

I still recommend this book to others because it has this unique mixture of fantasy and dystopian. But I think I might just ignore the ending and insert my own. Haha.

Am I the only one who felt this way when they read it?

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2 thoughts on “Review: “The Fate of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen

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