The much awaited sequel to The Queen of the Tearling following Kelsea after she has taken her throne and failed to deliver slaves to the Red Queen thus bringing war to the kingdom. The first book was a fast paced adventure not only looking towards the issues that Kelsea would take once she was crowned but, also, her personal issues such as the loss of Barty and Carlin, her parental figures and her coming of age. The second book picks up nicely where we last left the Tearling and begins to further unravel the mysteries to Kelsea’s father, the identity of the Red Queen and how the Tearling came to exist.
Throughout we are not only privy to Kelsea’s and the Queen’s thoughts but new narratives have been woven through such as Aisa and Lisa. This book like the first features very strong female characters who show that they are capable of ruling their kingdoms. In the first book the Red Queen was very much of the opinion that she needed no-one and in this second instalment we see Kelsea face the same trials which come with being a single woman and the need others feel for her to marry and produce an heir. She deals with these problems brilliantly putting her focus onto what is important to her kingdom with her own problems taking a back seat, while this may shift into focus as the book progresses the reader will learn why Kelsea’s own personal life will come to affect the outcome of her kingdom.
I couldn’t do a review without looking at the male protagonists. Every person, male or female, needs a Pen and a Lazarus (Mace) in their life. Their devotion to Kelsea is unwavering even when they disagree with her decisions. Mace and Pen and the rest of the guard are the immoveable object who would stop at nothing to protect Kelsea despite her age; while she is young they know that she can bring a better life to the people of the Tearling and they believe in her. The Mace’s background is finally revealed much to his reluctance throughout the first book that he would be named as Kelsea’s father, this is answered but I won’t reveal whether he is or isn’t; that’s for you to discover!
Throughout we see how the Tearling came to exist and learn more about the mysterious dark figure in the fireplace and how the sapphires play a part in events to come. The method of delivery for the past was unusual but, once the book began to come to a close I can see why Johansen wrote it as such. The interjections are woven in the chapters well and don’t feel like you are being taken too far away from Kelsea and what’s happening in the Tearling. The Fetch even makes an appearance however; I’m still left wondering how he fits into it all, much like the figure in the fireplace.
I’m looking forward to the third book when all of these strands will finally come together. I may have been slightly vague in this review but I really want people to read the book and get the same surprises I did and enjoy it as much as I have. I can’t wait for the third when I can openly talk about everything that has happened!