Aly in Wonderland

The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen



Buddy read with the bombastic Figgy! I'd also like to dedicate this review to her, because without her support and lovin', I sincerely believe I'd be in a boredom-induced coma.

I received this book in the Goodreads First Read giveaway.

And because of that, I can safely say I'm glad I didn't spend any money on this. This is the most boring, dumb, confusing book I have read so far this year, and I've read a lot of boring, dumb and confusing books.

For the record, when someone gives me a book and tells me it's high fantasy with magic, I expect this:

You know? I expect a world of your own making, magic, fantastic creatures, prophecies, witches, dragons, everything that relates to "fantasy".

Instead, what I got is:

- an unlikeable, whiny heroine that is so bloody stupid.

- a confusing era. I came into this expecting high fantasy, but all I got was fantasy, in the "in your dreams" sense. There is a half-arsed attempt at dystopian world-building, yet it's somewhat set in the medieval ages. Apparently, for some screwed up reason, the story takes place a couple of hundred years from now, where technology and human advancement don't exist. They mention the year 248, e-books, the church, Britain, doctors with real painkillers and anaesthetics, New London and Europe but these peoplefight with swords and shields, have armours, ride horses, shovel mud, women have no rights but their vaginas have plenty, people are whipped in the middle of the street, there are SLAVES. So are you telling me that hundreds of years from now, we're going to abandon technology and human rights for cow poop and horses? Really?

- really dumb guards. These people are supposed to be guarding her life but fail miserably by shouting out "dresses and dolls, Lady!" in the middle of the woods when they're in 'hiding', get drunk on the night shift when they're still in hiding in the middle of the woods and fail at protecting her by letting someone STAB HER.

My main problem sits with Kelsea. The Queen, someone who should have at least an inch of common sense... but in reality, Kelsea sends a dozen soldiers in search of BOOKS, putting her kingdom at risk if the enemy attacked. All in the name of BOOKS.

Look, I'm a book fanatic. If I could choose between having my teeth yanked out and reading, I'd go with reading. If the choice sits between having my teeth yanked out without anaesthetic and reading The Queen of the Tearling... strap me to that damn chair, because I ain't reading this steaming pile of bullshit again. Kelsea is way too stupid to live. Instead of listening to those who have some experience, she decides to flip like a child and throw tantrums. She has the attitude of a deranged lunatic masquerading as a high school student. She'd rather sit down and copy books than talk to her advisers about this big-ass war that's coming your way.

Responsibility? Kelsea can't even spell the word.

THE WORLD BUILDING SUCKS. At first, we're given the power to believe that this is a medieval setting -- you know, because they ride horses and stuff? Fight with swords? Chuck their poop out of windows? 

It's not until you hit the 300 page mark that you find out, actually, that the "Crossing" is our world crossing over to another world... where they revert to medieval times. In fact, this is passed off as high fantasy dystopia. Huh? What? Really? There is no point in this "dystopia" because it SUCKS. IT SUCKS SO HARD. There is nothing remotely futuristic about this. Apparently, this New World is something that popped out of the ocean. Guess what? We're still not given an explanation as to how or why this happened. We're only told that these places exist, and this type of materials exist, and that magic exists but there is no explanation that comes with it.

At one point, we're told about tracker/hunting hawks that are bigger than your average hawk. To me, this is like a cross between the eagles from Lord of the Rings and the trackerjackers from The Hunger Games. Again, we're not told why, we're just told that they exist.

You want to read QOTT? Prepare to either not give a crap or for your brain to turn into liquid mush. None of the "world building" makes sense. There is none.

THE GUARDS ARE STUPID DIMWITS. They are literally ALL IDIOTS. The first instance is 20 pages in, where Kelsea gets kidnapped by a group of thieves. The second instance is 100 or so pages in, where someone manages to knife her in the back. The third instance is halfway through, where an assassin manages to get in and holds her hostage in her own bathroom. They're bumbling drunks, dumb as bricks and I swear, my cat makes a better guard than they are.

There are rumours of a naughty, badass witch Queen who wants Kelsea dead. To be honest, it took me forever to understand that the Mort Queen and the Red Queen are the same person. As Figgy puts it: "She Who Doesn't Want To Be Named." We're never given a reason why, it just is. I had to ask her, in fact, if they were the same person. It's that unclear. Anyway, the Red/Mort Queen is SO SCARY that we are given no proof, in case we poop our pants or something just as dumb. All we see is a child being bled for sacrifice and some slave having his tongue cut out, because he was sexually dissatisfying. 

The Red Queen is a pathetic excuse for a 'mortal enemy'. The two times we're shown her point of view, she's lounging around her room, naked and calling on a servant to have sex with.

Then, she goes on to think about all the failed attempts at finding Kelsea. There are so many flaws in this concept that my head literally hurts. First of all, if she's really so powerful, how could she not have just cast a tracking spell? It doesn't say anywhere that she can't, so why didn't she? Second of all, Kelsea arrives at Tearling with ONE guard. How could she not have had an ambush ready to pounce on them the minute they are alone? The Fetch managed to find her, yet the most terrifying enemy in all the land couldn't? Ugh. This book could've started and ended within ten pages, and it wouldn't have made a difference.

The Mort/Red Queen wants Kelsea's necklaces, but we're not told why. Apparently they're powerful.


Apparently they hold GREAT power, in fact.

... Really.

But we're not shown where this "great power" comes from or what happens with it. Kelsea made it rain. Hurrah. Much power, very wow.

There is a badass Uncle who also wants Kelsea dead.

He's fat, bald and apparently an alcoholic. However, Kelsea's never seen an alcoholic in her life, so I don't know HOW she could make that assumption. He walks around with a sex slave on a leash, like some dog. Kelsea's so infuriated, she decides to send guards to ransack his home and free all the women.

He's so, so mad so he decides to cry to the Red Queen.

Basically, it's like being in a sex-run playground and he's crying in the corner about how unfair life is.

He's not in the least bit intimidating. He's just as pathetic and dumb as the rest of the characters.

There is a man called the Fetch who kidnaps Kelsea in the first 10% of the book. He's as sneaky as a snake. Like Robin Hood, except he keeps all the pretty stuff for himself and kills a lot of people. Oh, and no one's ever seen his face, apart from Kelsea.

It's that original.

He decides that because he let Kelsea go, then she should let him have one of her necklaces until the next time they meet.

And guess what? She hands it over without saying a word.

WHAT THE SHIT, KELSEA? You've been told time and time again that those necklaces are precious and powerful and you just hand them over to a popular, well-known thief? A thief! A goddamned stinking thief!

We are given no clarification on how these people can have showers with no electricity, but they have copies of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. WHAT? They talk of ebooks, but still poop in trenches. As Figgy pointed out to me, if you're creating a New World, surely you wouldn't get rid of technology and electricity? Surely humanity is FAR too advanced to not use those things any more, and start from scratch? It didn't make sense how people knew these things existed, but wouldn't use them, yet they would use plastic surgery, heroin and organ transplants.

Throughout the book, Kelsea does nothing but complain about how boring, ugly and fat she is. 

She reached up to touch her hair and found it smooth and soft; someone had given her a bath. She looked up at him, her cheeks reddening.
"Yes, me as well." His smile widened. "But you needn't worry, girl. You're far too plain for my taste."

And even her Arms Guard tells her to sort herself out.

"You require conditioning, Lady. You'll never be as lithe as a dance, but you'd move faster if you carried less weight."
Kelsea flushed and quickly turned away. She knew she was heavier than she should be, but there was a big difference between knowing something and hearing it spoken out loud.

In response, Kelsea finds it fun to mock everyone for how they look, from Lady Andrews who is still stunning at over forty...

What does she see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive?

Because how dare you want to look good.

To Arliss, her Treasurer:

... finally, someone who made her look beautiful.

It's the pathetic mindset you'd give a thirteen year old schoolgirl, not a nineteen year old QUEEN. Surely, with the fate of an entire kingdom on your shoulders, the LEAST of your worries are what you look like? 

Emma Watson said she couldn't put this book down. I have a feeling she was lying.

Overall, I'd read this book again next time I struck with a difficult phase of insomnia. The amount of naps I had whilst reading this are world record worthy.

I'm off to eat chocolate and despair my lost time.

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