I dug this book. I wasn’t sure at first, because it was another novel where the heroine is forced into a new situation because of DESTINY and has to learn how to deal, etc. But guys, there is so much to like here. For instance:
- This heroine (Kelsea) has her shit together. She’s smart, stubborn, and brave, and does what she thinks is right, even if it’s not easy.
- She’s not beautiful. The heroines in these novels are always the most (understated) beautiful women the world has ever known, NOT that she lets it get to her head, of course. (I’m looking at you, Throne of Glass.) She remarks several times that she’s actually very plain and a bit overweight. While this bothers her at first, eventually she shrugs it off as, it is what it is.
- There’s no love triangle. Kelsea becomes infatuated with someone she has little hope of a future with (but who knows, right?), and I’m sort of getting a pre-romance vibe with one of her guards, but she has no time for romance right now. She’s too busy KICKING ASS.
Back to the beginning, though. Kelsea is the long lost daughter of Queen Elyssa, who died when Kelsea was a baby. Fearing for her life, she was hidden away until she came of age. Her adoptive parents, Carlin and Barty, kept her a secret until was ready to take the throne.
This, of course, does not prove easy, due to her uncle, who had been acting as Regent and fucking things up good and proper while Kelsea was busy growing up. She’s also faced with many, many enemies, especially once she arrives in the Tearling and begins shaking things up (like, immediately).
I think my favorite part of the novel, however, was when I figured out that this wasn’t a tale taking place many years ago, before the dawn of technology and enlightenment or whatever. No, this takes place AFTER that, after a group of utopians led by a man named William Tear decide to give up this technology and convenience and sail away to a new world. I enjoyed that this was just slipped into the novel, no one taking the time to ever really out-and-out explain what the hell was going on. Though I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind more detail in coming novels.
While this one was a bit slow to start, it gained momentum eventually and I found myself really tied up in how it was all going to shake out. My biggest complaint most of the way through was that I didn’t feel much of a connection to any of the characters, even Kelsea (meaning: would I care if this person died?) but I’ll be damned if a bit at the end didn’t make me tear up. My other (teensy) complaint is that the magic (whatever it is, wherever it came from) could be explained a bit more. But maybe it will be in the next one FINGERS CROSSED.
The reviews on Goodreads are totally split on this one. A lot of people loved it but so many people ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. Just after scrolling through, a lot of people took umbrage with one particular description of the book, which was: a female version of Game of Thrones. So. Yeah, I guess if I had known that was what I was supposed to be reading before I read it, I’d have hated it, too. (Also, I wouldn’t really describe it like that.) IDK. I enjoyed it enough to read the next one and I can’t really ask for more than that.