I almost stopped reading this book at the 25% mark and I’m so glad I pushed through. At about that point, I was thinking, “does the world REALLY need another story about a book-loving, overweight, shy teenager blessed with an extraordinary destiny who falls for the first attractive rogue she sees?” But then when the attractive rogue (Tangent: who I really hope doesn’t end up being her father. The world of mainstream fantasy books doesn’t need more surprise incense. “Mortal Instruments” did quite enough of that. End tangent.) goes away and the romance C plot disappears, the rest of the book plays out with an arc which I enjoyed quite more: a princess growing into a queen. This was done extremely well in Intisar Khanani’s “Thorn” and (with a guy) Katherine Addison’s “Goblin Emperor” which was one of my favorite books of 2015. Where this book grows on those books is to have all the likability, cleverness, and complex world-building of “Goblin Emperor” paired with the adventurous magical realism of Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” (another great fantasy book with same tone) and then top it all off with a keen sense of playing tribute to history without bashing Life Lessons over the reader’s head. The “Queen of the Tearling” is a page-turning exciting adventure which never flinches from the worst sides of humanity and the costs that come from trying to curb those crimes and bringing order and justice to a scarred land. It’s also a super fun and easy read. Will definitely be blazing through the rest of the series soon.
The first book in the series is available at half the normal price in honor of drawing attention to the release of the final book in the trilogy, so my recommendation is to grab it up before it goes back to full price.