Title: The Invasion of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Release Date: July 16th, 2015 (UK)
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.
Kelsea Glynn has fast become one of my favourite characters and The Queen of the Tearling one of my favourite series. It is quite common for sequels, particularly when there is still another to come, to be a bridge between book one and three without much action or revelation. The Invasion of the Tearling doesn't suffer from this problem and is one of the best sequels I have read.
One of the biggest issues with The Queen of the Tearling was the confusing world-building. It was quite difficult to determine what the time period actually was and what kind of genre it was supposed to be. This is somewhat resolved in this book through the use of flashbacks/visions. Kelsea's sapphires cause her to have visions to a time pre-crossing. She experiences the life of Lily Mayhew who lives in a futuristic dystopian America where the rich are living a life of luxury and the poor are, literally, walled off. Technology has advanced but security and surveillance have increased tenfold and every movement you make is tracked via an implanted device in the shoulder. Socially, the country is in a mess and has returned to a time where women are constantly degraded and abused and backstreet clinics for contraception and abortions are the norm again. It is in this world that we meet William Tear; the man responsible for creating the "New World" and we begin to discover how the world that Kelsea inhabits came to be. There is still a mix of genres as we have fantasy, dystopian and a little bit of science fiction, but the world-building is vastly improved. There are still some mysteries, I feel like we've only scratched the surface, but it was interesting and I'm excited to learn more. I wasn't sure about the alternating timelines at first, and I did find myself more eager to get back to Kelsea's world, but it was a nice way of introducing us to the history.
Kelsea isn't always a likeable character and you know what? I think that's good. She does make some questionable decisions but ultimately she tries to do what she thinks is right for her people. She was still coming in to her own in the first book, still getting used to being a queen, and now she just doesn't give a fuck and I love her for it. I could have done without her appearance changing (*sigh*) but given that it appears to be related to something bigger I'm willing to let it slide and see what happens with that next.
I still love having viewpoints from other characters too. The guards are one of my favourite parts of this series. I love their protectiveness and loyalty. Mace is still an excellent fatherly figure and I am now even more in love with Pen than I was in book one. I approve of the Pen/Kelsea relationship a lot and can't wait to see where that goes next. The Holy Father is one sick and twisted man and I love Father Tyler (his story is left hanging a bit though.. where did he go?!)
This is absolutely one of the best series I've read in a while.