The Queen of the Tearling

Raised in solitude by a trusted couple, Kelsea Raleigh always knew she'd take her deceased mother's place as Queen of the Tearling. When Lazarus, a Queen's Guard, collects her on her 19th birthday, he warns Kelsea that every Tearling queen lives with a target on her back; proof comes when the group is attacked on their journey to the capital.

Kelsea and Lazarus are half-rescued, half-kidnapped by the Fetch, a masked outlaw who releases them only after assuring himself of Kelsea's worthiness as a queen. Although drawn to the bandit, Kelsea soon has other problems: her uncle, the Regent, would rather see her dead than lose control of the throne, and one of her trusted guards may be a traitor. Worse still, she learns that her mother brokered peace with the Red Queen, a sorceress and the evil ruler of Mortmesne, by offering slaves selected at random from the general population. Kelsea's only hope lies in the mysterious power of two sapphire necklaces passed down through her family, if she can learn to control them. In the fires of treachery, terror and mortal peril, Kelsea must forge herself into her people's sword and shield.

Debut novelist Erika Johansen eschews a typically futuristic dystopia in favor of a feudal society. The return of serfdom and slavery in a world whose founder intended to create a utopia speaks to the darker side of human nature, but Kelsea's naïve bravery and love for her people give hope to the optimist in all of us. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Powered by: Xtenit