One star for the actual book, and one for the potential in it (I'm being generous here).
The signs are all in place for The Queen of the Tearling to be one of the
best books of the year, if not this century. An epic fantasy emphasising realistic female characters; a huge film adaptation with a huge star in the lead role; one of the highest sums ever paid to a debut author; two more books to follow in an “astonishingly imagined trilogy” – you can imagine my excitement at the chance to review this phenomenon.
Unfortunately, high expectations can lead to even greater disappointments. Johansen’s writing is humourless, mired in dense verbosity. There are large periods of time where nothing at all happens, yet this nothing is described in excruciating detail – it’s as though anything interesting is only mentioned in subtle hints, with the rest of the space filled with as many words as possible so that there’s enough story left to cover in book two. Frankly, I’m tired of reading books that appear to be little more than a set up for a future series. Trilogies and book series can be fantastic but what makes them fantastic is when each book is as strong as the others; when it feels, while reading, as though each could have been a standalone book – if it weren’t for the fact that there is still so much story left to tell that one book simply isn’t enough! Regrettably, that is not the case here. The potential in Johansen’s future-medieval world is endless, and yet the history and implications of such a post-apocalyptic world are only alluded to in the small spaces between dull court dramas and clumsy assassination attempts.
These are superficial flaws. For me, personally, a more worrying problem is the characterisation of Queen Kelsea...
Full review here.
Recieved from the publisher through NZ Booklovers.