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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Erika Johansen makes another literary conquest with The Invasion of the Tearling

Last year, debut author Erika Johansen introduced us to an amazing heroine in Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, the heir to a most troubled throne in The Queen of the Tearling. In the second book of this three part series, we return to Kelsea's world in The Invasion of the Tearling, as now Queen Kelsea faces an even more greater threat at her front door.

The Red Queen of Mortsmense has sent her army to conquer New London, the capital city of the Tearling nation, due to the halt of slave shipments as tribute.  The Tearling military does manage to hold off the Mort forces for a while, yet the need for better armaments and protection for the civilian population is dire.

Kelsea attempts to find aid and seek alliances from the nobility, the church(which now has a most vicious new leader) and the neighboring country of Cabrese, all to no avail. As much as she and her people are willing to deal with others, Kelsea will brook no compromises that allow any potential allies a disproportionate advantage over her in the bargain:

As she does her best to plan and prepare for what's to come, Kelsea starts to realize that there is one change she can't get a hold on.

The magic from her family sapphires is not as dormant as she was beginning to believe as her appearance slowly but surely is transforming her into a beauty. Other abilities also emerge, granting her powers that may be a real benefit in this time of need but also run the risk of becoming just as dangerous as the Red Queen, if not more so:

One of the more mysterious developments in her magical skill set are the visions that Kelsea has been having of another woman's life in the past. That woman is Lily Mayhew, an abused wife of a government agent in the last days of America, who finds herself caught up with a revolutionary group that wants to take others like them to "the better world".

 The leader of that group happens to be William Tear, the man who began the Tearling nation, and as Lily gets deeper into a situation that is reaching the point of no return, Kelsea follows suit. Is this meeting of the minds a strange coincidence or a journey that holds answers for both of them?:

 As in the first book of the Tearling trilogy, Erika Johansen creates a compelling narrative that brings this vividly imagined world to life, breathing some of that life into supporting characters as well as her leads.

The duel thrust of Kelsea's current circumstances with Lily's narrative is a suspenseful counterpoint to their seemingly separate stories that pays off quite nicely. A good number of questions from the first book are answered with a whole crop of new ones put on the table to add more anticipation for the next book.

I saved this book for the Fourth of July holiday weekend but this is more than just a good summer read. The Invasion of the Tearling is a solid story telling bridge that gives the reader steady passage towards a page turning adventure yet to come. The book is now available everywhere and definitely worth adding to your library of dreams:

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