Title: The Invasion of the Tearling (Book 2)
Author: Erika Johansen
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Synopsis: With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion. But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
I am Kelsea trash. Totally ultimately Kelsea trash. I cannot express how much I love the Queen of the Tearling, she’s like this horribly flawed individual who you cannot help but love and want to protect for all of eternity.
The second book in this series took the trilogy to another level. This book was half fantasy and half dystopian because we spend a lot of time in the past – 300 years before – when William Tear crossed into the New World which Kelsea now rules. We see this from the eyes of Lily, whom Kelsea is suddenly connecting to and despite being annoyed at first with this change of POV I grew to not only love Lily, root for her and hurt for her which is only a testament of Johansen’s writing.
This book was intense and hard to read. It is gruesome and hard to read. It does not play around with how terrible human beings are. There’s trigger warnings abound – rape, torture, rape, mutilations, just horribly graphic stuff that make you cringe. I think some of the worst happened in the first 30% of the book but it continued steadily. This entire book is a set up for the final one but it moved nicely with world-building, rich characters and moments of utter contentment.
This book also revealed in the words of Buffy the Vampire slayer, the ‘big bad’. You finally see the ugliness that has destroyed the Kingdom. And then you have characters you hate with all the fibers of your being like the Holy Father who gave me the utter creeps and Greg – who I thought got off easy. I wanted him to die slowly and horrible.
The one complaint I had of this book was the lack of Fetch, he’s still so mysterious and we only had ONE scene with him and Kelsea – so I need Johansen to give me more and more and I don’t know what the heck is going to happen to Pen, I’m terrified for him and for Mace which I have a feeling neither will live through the end of the trilogy 😦
Best line: “You’ll probably greet General Genot himself with a glass of whiskey and a free fuck.” STOP IT KELSEA I CANT!
The best part of the book was Kelsea slapping the christ out of the Holy Father, don’t tell me it was not because I roared with delight.