This will contain spoilers of this book, The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling.
The final book in this epic trilogy focusing on Kelsea Glynn, the Queen of the Tearling, and her fight for her throne and the war she now faces. I have loved this series since I picked up the first book after it was recommended to me, throughout the previous two novels more questions have been raised than questions answered and I hoped that this book would bring all of the loose strings together. It did not disappoint. The book gripped me from start to finish and I was left reeling at its conclusion, I can only think of one book that ended in a similar way and evoked such strong feelings.
The beginning of the novel picks up exactly where we were left dangling at the end of The Invasion of the Tearling; Kelsea has been captured by the Red Queen and is being escorted back to Demesne. Mace has been named Regent in her absence and now must confront the battles that are waging within him- does he take on his new role as Regent or, will his guard training make it almost impossible to focus on anything else but saving the Queen?
The books pace matches the previous books and keeps your mind working right until the very end. The mysteries of the sapphires that have hung from Kelsea’s neck are revealed but, Johansen still manages to keep us in the dark about how William Tear came to possess them. I assumed that they were passed down to him by his ancestors but it is not fully explained as to how the sapphires work and I liked this. We’re in a time where everything has to be brought together neatly, all questions answered which can, and does, take away some of the mystery that keeps us reading these worlds in the first place. Not knowing exactly how they work worked really well for me. Like Kelsea, we just have to trust in what we are doing/reading and get by with the information that we have. This makes it sound like I’m saying not to educate yourself but that is the complete opposite. Kelsea only has to go off of the information she has as she runs out of time and needs to trust that she will make the right decision for her kingdom. And what a decision it is.
It has always been lying just under the surface, the information there for the reader to interpret, that time will have to be changed if the kingdom is to survive. William Tear took the first settlers back in time to establish this new society which was meant to be built on equality and fairness. I think we can agree that Kelsea’s kingdom does not encompass either of these qualities. After a daring chase through her Keep after escaping the Red Queen, Kelsea finally has the real crown and from her visions into Katie’s mind – a daughter of one of the first settlers and protector of William Tear’s son – she has a rough idea of what she needs to do. She rewrites the past with devastating consequences.
Her kingdom is saved. Unleashing the Queen of Spades one final time she manages to rewrite the past and thus create a different future. One which is peaceful and about as equal in society as it is likely to become but, she is alone. In this new future nobody knows what has been before and Kelsea is stuck trying to life in this present but, being all too aware that things could have been different. She goes to look for Penn, ah Penn, I really thought something could have happened between them in her kingdom but, ultimately, his decision was for the best and even Kelsea understood that. Kelsea finds Penn whose name is now Andrew and has a wife and child and no recollection of her. It broke my heart but, what tore my heart apart was when Kelsea went to see the Mace. Second only to Barty, he played a crucial role in Kelsea’s life from the start of her journey to her throne. I had hoped that he was her father but, it was not meant to be. I wished that he would remember her, just something for her to hang onto but, nothing.
I’m sad that I have to say goodbye to the Tearling, I have been emotionally invested in these characters since I began reading them and now that it has come to an end I’m unsure which book I want to read next. Kelsea, the Mace, Penn and the Red Queen are characters that I would happily revisit even though the ending will break my heart every time. Read this series because if you haven’t, you have no idea what you are missing.