Book Reviews · Discussion

The Queen of the Tearling: What Do You Do With Unread Mediocre Fantasy?

Hey guys! I’m posting after nearly two weeks which I really don’t know how to feel about. I was busy with college for the first two weeks of the year, but after that, I’ve been pretty free but I just haven’t felt in the mood to blog since then.

Today’s post is gonna be a mesh of a review and a discussion – I didn’t have enough content to make two separate posts so I decided to blend the two and convert a review into a discussion.

So, the book I’m reviewing/discussing today is The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.


Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – 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 19th 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, earn 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…

The plot of the book is actually SO GOOD…

When I read the first chapter, I was so intrigued by what the plot promised. It’s basically about this young woman who inherits the throne and has to fight a lot of forces in order to rightfully be able the rule her kingdom. I really love fantasy plots which involve royalty and kingdoms and it felt like the book would have a lot of political intrigues but it was just SO disappointing.

My main issue with the book is that it seems to be targeted at a younger audience, or meant more for people who are just starting out with YA fantasy/fantasy. The overall plotline is extremely basic and doesn’t have a lot of innovation or ‘newness’ to it. It reads like a very basic, ‘dry’ fantasy and has elements which have been oft repeated in fantasy books SO many times.

The writing is dry and again, feels like its targeted at a much younger audience. While reading it, I wasn’t really enjoying the book, I was just reading it for the sake of reading it. Finally, though, I decided to DNF it. I think my main problem with the book was it did things which have been overdone and is the most mediocre, basic version of a fantasy you can ever imagine. The plot is good (a common plot, yes, but one I really enjoy reading) but the book doesn’t have the writing or the characters to back it up.

Mediocre fantasy…

And what do you do about it?

There is tons of mediocre fantasy out there, no doubt. I’m not going to be naming series or books but we all have certain books/authors which we consider average or not that great. The thing is, for me, I really want to have read all those books without having to physically read them.

I feel like what I’m trying to say makes absolutely no sense but hang on, wait a minute. Suppose there is a YA fantasy series called X. I know from my general understanding of the premise and the reviews that it’s going to be average for me. Maybe I’ve even read the first half of the first book and found it to be extremely basic and not worth my time. The problem though? I want to have read it, without having to read it.

There are so many series (especially of YA fantasy) out there which I know I will not enjoy if I read them now, but I still want to have read them. I wish I had picked them up in the past, but somehow or the other, I didn’t and they’re all unread. And I don’t want to leave them unread. But at the same time, I don’t want to have to read them all because I KNOW I won’t enjoy them at all.

Take The Queen of the Tearling for example. I wanted to read and finish this series for so long since it’s been on my TBR for ages but naturally, if I DNFd the first book, I’m definitely not reading the series. But I really also wanted to have this series read, you get me????

So my question is, what do YOU do with these books? Do you have the same feeling too – that sometimes there are books that you wouldn’t necessarily read physically, but you still feel sad at not having ‘read’ them. So what do you do?

And that, my friends, is what I had for you today! Somewhere between a review and a discussion – I still don’t know what to call it, I know that it’s far from perfect – but I’m willing to work on it. I realized last year that I didn’t want to write just reviews of books, or rather, I didn’t want to stick to the conventional method of writing reviews. I want to experiment a bit, and see if I can make these review posts into something else, something better.

Tell me what you think of the post below – I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you read The Queen of the Tearling? What do you think about this book?

7 thoughts on “The Queen of the Tearling: What Do You Do With Unread Mediocre Fantasy?

  1. I totally get what you mean about wishing you could read a book without having to read it. There are so many series that I know I won’t love, but I still kind of want to be involved in the hype or know what the fuss is about. I don’t want to waste my time on stuff that’s not for me, but I also want to have these series under my belt just so I can say I’ve read them.


  2. I definitely relate with this. There’s a lot of books on my TBR that I want to have read, but realistically, because so much time has passed, I don’t ever see myself picking them up and I should probably just remove them from my TBR altogether. I think this is really a case of fear of missing out. You want to participate in discussions about those books, even if it’s slamming how bad they are. When other people talk about them you wish you’d read them, but I’d say go with your gut. There are too many books to waste time on mediocre books that you ultimately don’t think you will enjoy.


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