Title: Queen of the Tierling
Author: Eika Johansen
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Synopsis: An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy. Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.
In short, this novel is a story of a young girl, age 18, that comes into age and must be Queen. Like many YA fantasy stories this is a typical element that, if done sloppily, can feel generic. However, Erika Johansen is no sloppy fool and in her hands she creates this rich, complex and brilliant character that comes alive page after page. For starters, she builds a beautifully paced tension that hits a crescendo exactly when it needs to.
The world is also unique, in my opinion, when it comes to fantasy. It is a world in the future of our current world yet society has regressed to medieval. So there will be references to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and advance technology now lost to this culture.
Our main character of Kelsea is not a bad-ass, sword wielding warrior, she’s not a slender delicate flower nor is she a damsel in distress – not in the typical sense anyways. She’s a damsel, she’s often in distress, but she doesn’t need your help or opinion in that matter. Erika makes her real – she gets hurt, she’s conscious of weight gain, she’s determined and stubborn but also cool, calm and trusting. This quickly became a page-turner for me and I absolutely loved so many of the characters in it. I highly recommend picking it up this is well-paced, well written and above all a very enjoyable voyage.
ETA: After months later I have to say that this is one of my favorite books of the year.