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Thursday, 16 July 2015
The Invasion Of The Tearling
The Invasion Of The Tearling
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.
GoodReads synopsis because I am struggling to write right now and I can assure this is going to be a rambly, gushy review, with me trying desperately not to spoil but to also explain what I mean. So you know, this won't be short. But hopefully it won't be an essay either, who knows, I'm writing this at gone midnight literally after just finishing this book and I can't even with the feels I'm having. I mean, I wrote notes while I was reading and they're all over the place from the different feels I was having and I have no idea where the hell to start!
I think I'll dive straight in to the action, much like the book itself did, because from page one we're there. There's a good dose of action in the book as we, like in the first book, get multi POV. Not only do we get Kelsea, but we get a jailer named Ewen who catches us up nicely with what's been going on while we've been away, and was an interesting perspective. But we also get the Mort Queen again, who is thrillingly chilling but also interesting, for a villain she has a hell of a meaty backstory and there's much more to her than meets the eye, I mean I actually found her relatable. Go figure. We also get Hall, who gives us a large dose of the action what with being on the front line and everything and ensures we get to know more about him. Then we get Aisa, who's taking a rather interesting path, and overhears some rather interesting things and has a rather interesting perspective. Hey, I'm trying to make this spoiler free, so I'm not explaining that anymore! We get one other POV but more on her in a moment. I should also mention we learn more about Andalie and wow plot twist! Sorry but I loved her character and was so excited to learn more about her!
The thing that always struck me when I was reading this and Queen Of The Tearling, was how gritty and realistic it is in it's battle descriptions, and the tactics. Nothing is glossed over and that goes for the rest of the book, there are some serious issues and some dark things covered in the book and each is fully there for you to read. It's not glossed over or romanticised, you read it and you get the full horror/heartbreak/emotion/injustice of the scene as you read and it really comes off the page. Each issue is dealt with brilliantly, I thought personally, because as I said, it's all laid out there, you understand how a victim of one would think and I think, considering a lot of this stuff is on the news, it helps readers become more empathetic to others. But that's just me, and I actually like reading about real issues and things like the subjects in the book being glossed over or romanticised irritate me and that's being polite. I just think the author handled everything so well so full props to her.
There was a lot of intrigue from the start, not just from the writing, but also as you dive back in to the world and remember the many questions you have. (There was a particular Merlin GIF I wanted to use on Twitter when I had finished my live tweet but I couldn't find it, so I can't share it here either. 10 points if you know what I'm talking about!). I saw from previous reviews that many people disliked the first book because of all that was left unanswered, I didn't see this as a problem for the book, I saw it as a perfect set up for the next book while still giving you a meaty plot for the first book and the same can be said for this one. Questions are answered but you're left with more, so you leave the book after having read a complex plot that takes you on a whirlwind ride, but still sets up the third book. But yes, there was lots to wonder at and try to solve yourself, but the book is so unpredictable, you're guaranteed to fail.
A lot of that intrigue lies with Lily. Don't get me wrong, you want to know what Kelsea is going to do, there's a lot going on with her, but more on that later. You also want to know what's going to happen with the Mort and so on, there's lots of little intrigues as well as big intrigues throughout Kelsey's POV. But with Lily, the new character we meet this book, there is so much intrigue. She's a HUGE POV. I'm not talking occasional switches, I mean alternating between her and Kelsea. There's the whole intrigue of Lily's life and what she's going to do and what's going to happen to her, but most of all there's the intrigue of how she fits with Kelsea, because Kelsea is having these visions that suck her in to Lily's life and you're desperate to know how they link together.
Now, firstly I want to mention that the different POV's are each well done, they're engaging, entertaining, and each had it's own voice. You could tell which character it was straight away. The switches were smooth and seamless and it all seemed so right, the flow from POV to POV was perfect. Each POV was very interesting because it added something to the story, more information, catch ups, everything. None of it was for the sake of it, it was all for a reason and like I said, added to the story.
Lily's POV was particularly interesting because it takes us to pre-crossing New York. In the first book we'd heard about it and so we had some information, but as a lot of it was lost, and some of it wasn't even noted down, there was a lot we didn't know. But now we do. Lily's POV was fascinating because it was a huge dose of dystopia. We're in the future and things have definitely gone bad. Kind of terrifyingly bad because there were huge echoes of our current state and mental attitudes towards women in particular, I mean women were pretty much property and it was disgusting to read about to be honest, but anyway, terrifying. We see what life was like pre-crossing, why they migrated, and the lead up to the crossing and how it happened and so on. Which in itself answers a hell of a lot of questions and actually reminded me that, hello, this was the future.
Another huge intrigue is who Kelsea's father is. Now I had a theory. It's probably the same theory everyone else had because it was kind of obvious which should have clued me in that I was wrong. But no. My theory was shattered and now I'm even more curious than I was before especially as it was a hell of a mind blowing plot twist.
We learned a little more about the world of the book, we actually learn a little about Cadare which has inspired further intrigue although I'm not sure we'll see more of it, and they were kinda pansies but there ya go. It was still interesting to sort of get a closer look at another part of the world of the book. One of the things I love about the world of the book is how thorough the world building is, it's a large part of what sucks you in to the book and has you completely enchanted so you lose track of time. I mean a lot of the quotes at the beginning of chapters are by fictional authors on fictional texts about the Tearling and some are quotes from Kelsea or Father Tyler and it adds a whole little touch to suck you in to the world of the book, as if it wasn't vivid enough before! Another part of the world I love is the mash up of different developments they have for each kingdom. Each of the three specialises in something, Cadare is glass among other things, Tearling is lumber and Mortmesne is many things. You can easily see that they're all at different developments as they all have different skills and so on, but the most interesting part of this book was the difference in military weaponry. I mean you've got canons from the Mort as well as good weapons while the Tear don't have much of anything. It makes the whole concept of war between the two more interesting, as well as the tactics from Hall to get around it.
That's not the only part of the book that's a mash up. There are so many elements in the book that I'm really not sure what genre it is, I mean I assumed it was fantasy when I read the first book, and the dystopia was, to me, in the first book so subtle that I kept forgetting about it, but that dystopian element comes raging to the forefront of your mind at certain points in this book. There's modern elements (Harry Potter for one), the dystopian elements, fantasy, medieval kind of times courtesy of the entire setting and I loved the mashup of medieval times but still having books and things from our time. Now I typed the whole thing about mashups before I had finished reading the book and it's this next bit that I'm struggling to explain.
I feel like my perspective on the book has changed and there is another major genre to be added to the mashup that I won't name for fear of spoilers. I'm still not entirely sure what to classify it as, but I feel like it has this sheen over it from this huge plot twist at the end that has entirely changed my way of thinking about the book, I mean it was a huge game changer. The book had this whole medieval world but with modern things classed as old world curiosities, kind of like how things from the past are oddities to us, but like I said, whole new perspective. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN WHAT I MEAN AND WORDS ARE FAILING ME AND IT'S ANNOYING! Especially as I'm full on rambling now and making no sense.
I had like, a vision of the world going to crap, them hopping on their ships with whatever they could grab and were allowed to take, sailing for days, months, whatever, and starting again in some corner of the planet that hadn't been destroyed yet or some new corner of the world that had sprung up from nowhere. Then rebuilding in an old fashioned kind of back to basics way. But with like Harry Potter and other modern books, and stuff that's thrown in and alluded to rather than shoved in your face, but there'd be little comments about modern things that would suddenly remind you "oh no wait, this isn't ACTUALLY a medieval fantasy world, the worlds gone backwards and has remnants" but you'd be reminded that it wasn't all medieval, this was the future. Then near the end there's a reveal, and it kinda changes how you think about the book, and how you see it, or at least it did for me. I mean you KNEW it was people from the future, and everything but oh my god someone hope me because I SERIOUSLY don't know how to explain what the hell I'm on about. Like seriously. This has been way too long and makes no sense to anyone but I don't know how else to word it without spoilers.
Moving swiftly on. The politics continue to be intricate, along with the history and religion of the world. The Arvath had a bit more going on in this book, there were some game changers going on with it and they kind of quieted down at one point, and I'm eager to know what's going to happen next with them because SOMETHING has to be done. There's a subtle SOMETHING going on, I'm not sure whether or not to call it a romance as such, I mean one is in love with the other but i'm not sure if the other reciprocates properly. But it'll be interesting to see how it plays out and at a point or two I was literally fist pumping the air, getting all over excited and doing some serious "AAAWWW" ing. I will literally take any small amount of cute I can in this book because there aint much of it.
Kelsea. Moving on to my precious. I LOVE Kelsea. Her struggles as a ruler are believable, not wanting to be like her mother, wanting to help people, with darkness tempting her and with no other way out. It's all incredibly believable and Kelsea is an incredibly realistic character, even more so this book with her struggles. Now, I used to be a chubby kid, like the bullied kind of chubby, and I can relate to Kelsea so easily because I can understand how she feels in this book, that what she looks like on the outside doesn't matter because a part of her will always feel like her old self on the inside. That really hit me and it's incredibly true and relatable. Kelsea is strong, she doesn't give a damn what others think of her. I feel she's a bit of a tom boy, I mean she's certainly no giggly girly girl. Yes she acts childishly sometimes, and makes wrong decisions, but she calls herself out on her childishness which I find admirable, and we've all made mistakes. Perhaps not on this scale, but she's only human and her mistakes and flaws make her more real to the reader. She's also incredibly intelligent. So yeah. Much love for Kelsea.
I want to mention a couple of other characters I love. I already mentioned Andalie, but I also quite like Arliss. I really, however, LOVE, Kelsea's guard. Seriously. There was a particular scene with Elston that had me chuckling. To be fair, all of her guard make me chuckle. They're also my favourite, yes collectively, because they're friends to her, support, advise her, while still guarding her. I particularly love Pen, and I really badly ship him with Kelsea, but then I also kind of ship her with the Fetch, but then the Fetch in this book made me like "nah mate". So it's Pen all the way! I won't beg right now, but I will if I have to Erika!
There were some other new characters besides Lily, including one that's technically an old character, we just learn more about said character and get to know this character better. This character is a rather lovely, intriguing villain, must see more of him I think! (You also get a huge inkling of who the Fetch is and what he did courtesy of this character). But there were other characters that I enjoyed and am hoping to see more of in the third book but seeing as they're from Lily's time I'm not sure we will!
So many questions are answered in this book, but you're left with even more questions. There are some truly mind blowing plot twists and reveals that literally have you like "NO WAY OMG", shouting at the book kind of thing. Like the entire time you're trying to work out how everything fits together and then you end up being wrong and totally mind blown.
The ending was so perfect. It gave you a sense that Lily's story had reached it's conclusion even though it left you with a longing to see more of her and what happens to her, and there is the odd question left. I really, really want to read more about what happened during the crossing and after and how they built up the Tearling, and about certain other Tearling monarchs! The other ending of the book, Kelsea's ending, don't even get me started on because the wait is just so hard for the next book, especially as you just know, from one totally awesome scene with the guards, that it's going to be SO EPIC.
I'd say I couldn't stop reading this book but that would be a lie because I had to stop reading this book to eat and sleep and work and so on, but I didn't WANT to stop reading. I would have loved to have read it in one sitting! I was completely enthralled by the plot, the characters, the politics and the world. Not to mention the intricate, almost chess like game being played between Kelsea and the Arvath and the Mort Queen. There's one point at the end that you need to brace yourself for because so many pieces fall in to place and you want to kick yourself because you should have already worked it out but you didn't and you can't actually berate yourself because you are too gobsmacked about what you just read. So like, fair warning. No reading in public I think.
Anyway, the world of the book was easy to slip back in to, the pace was fantastic, sometimes time would pass but it wasn't at all jumpy. You were concisely told what had happened and thus the passage of time had been marked. The writing is simple yet not overly so, there's just no over complicating of things. Kelsea has a touch of Gollum about her with her whole "MINE" thing with her necklaces *wink*. Yes there's still questions and things that appear to make no sense, I for one would like to know why Kelsea set a specific amount of time, but I assume she had something up her sleeve or figured it was enough time for you know who to sort things out. There are many questions and I'm sure they'll be answered in the next book while leaving us with many more, although I'm not sure how many books there will be! All in all, despite that one thing, I thought this was a thrilling, electrifying sequel that pulls you back and easily reminds you why you fell in love with the first book.