BLURB: “Kelsea Glynn is the Queen of the Tearling. Despite her youth, she has quickly asserted herself as a fair, just and powerful ruler. However, power is a double-edged sword, and small actions can have grave consequences. In trying to do what is right – stopping a vile trade in humankind – Kelsea has crossed the Red Queen, a ruthless monarch whose rule is bound with dark magic and the spilling of blood. The Red Queen’s armies are poised to invade the Tearling, and it seems nothing can stop them. Yet there was a time before the Crossing, and there Kelsea finds a strange and possibly dangerous ally, someone who might hold the key to the fate of the Tearling, and indeed to Kelsea’s own soul. But time is running out…”
REVIEW: As followers of this blog will know, I was absolutely amazed with how extraordinarily brilliant the first book in this (soon-to-be) trilogy, The Queen of the Tearling, was. I was so amazed, in fact, that the minute I finished it I sat down and ordered this sequel, The Invasion of the Tearling. I couldn’t put it down, and, as is always a worry with sequels, it definitely did not disappoint. Kelsea’s compassionate and righteous decision to end the Tearling’s trade with the Mort, which involved the sending over of 300 Tearling people of all ages and genders per month based on a lottery-style system, is one that the reader heartily praises in the first novel and , while we still support Kelsea’s decision in the sequel, the ramifications of her actions are becoming far more apparent. The Red Queen, noticing the late shipment, has realised the threat that Kelsea presents to the dominion she holds both over her own lands and the Tearling, most of which is gained through a dark, violent power that she obtains from the demon Row Finn, who also meets with Kelsea throughout the novel to recruit her to his dark purpose. Interestingly, in this book we learn far more about the origins of the Tearling and the world that preceded it – a future version of our current world – as Kelsea begins to have visions of the life of Lily Mayhew, a pre-Crossing woman who begins to rebel after years of horrifically violent abuse from her political husband. Cleverly, Johansen links our slowly uncovered knowledge of the Tearling’s origins with the knowledge we slowly gain about the Red Queen. Both stories – that of Lily and that of the Red Queen – are linked with Kelsea’s own past, and inform her transition to power and the decisions she makes. Kelsea becomes much harder and colder in this novel as she struggles to decide how to wield the power that the sapphires she possesses have given her, but the reader still strongly supports her decisions and finds themselves in increasing desperation alongside Kelsea and her councillors as the Tearling and the Mort armies lean ever closer to war. The ending of the novel produces a shocking twist, and is left on a cliffhanger that has made me desperate for June 2016 to come around so I can read the final installment! This was a well worthy sequel in a brilliant series, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.