BLURB: “Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret after her mother – a monarch as vain as she was foolish – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent; however, he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding…
And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, win the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive…”
REVIEW: I absolutely loved this book. There are not words for how quickly I became hooked, gripped by the storyline, fascinated by the characters and deeply involved with each twist and turn of the plot. Kelsea is a brilliant character, by turns full of wit, emotion and cleverness that clearly surprises the members of her Guard, who were clearly expecting a replica of her vain, flirtatious mother Elyssa. We travel alongside Kelsea as she gets to know her Queen’s Guard, many of whom the reader develops fond attachments to, who prove difficult to win over but are ultimately loyal as they see Kelsea back to the Keep, the seat of the monarchy where her Uncle the Regent is currently waiting. As she gradually learns more about her kingdom, Kelsea is horrified to discover the abject poverty and suffering that plagues the majority of her subjects, all of whom are also living in fear of the Lottery. In a trade agreement with the bordering country of Mortmense, Kelsea’s mother agreed to trade hundreds of her people to the Mort Queen in order to avoid invasion. As a result, the people live in fear of a member of their family – even their children – being selected in the lottery to be shipped away as slaves, or perhaps worse. Only the elite escape this fate, and Kelsea’s horror at such a thing lead her into a desperate decision that frees her people and wins their loyalty, but also indirectly declares war on the far stronger country of Mortmense. Kelsea must now fight to take her throne from the Regent, keep the support of her people – and indeed, keep her life – as she works out how to protect her kingdom against the threats that come from both within and without. This is an absolutely fascinating book and the second I finished it, I was on Amazon ordering the sequel. It intermingles the genres of historical fiction, adventure and fantasy seamlessly, creating a novel that will appeal to a wide range of readers and, I have no doubt, attract a devoted fanbase.