The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

In the second book of the Tearling series, The Invasion of the Tearling, Erika Johansen delivers another well-written book. Although the book is 514 pages, it is a quick read.

Below is a synopsis of the plot from the publisher:

In this riveting sequel to the national bestseller The Queen of the Tearling, the evil kingdom of Mortmesne invades the Tearling, with dire consequences for Queen Kelsea and her realm.

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, Kelsea has crossed the brutal Red Queen, who derives her power from dark magic and who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what she claims 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. 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. Soon Kelsea herself begins to change; she does not recognize either her reflection in the mirror or the extraordinary power she now commands. The fate of the Tearling—and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Queen Kelsea is running out of time.

In the second book, we finally start to get an idea of the pre-Crossing world. The Queen of the Tearling only made mention of the pre-Crossing time without any details. As described above, Johansen uses Lily as an avenue of portraying what was happening in the world then and how the Crossing occurred. This story line fills in some of the gaps in understanding the pre-Crossing and the post-Crossing worlds.

Johansen continues to strengthen existing characters and brings in a few new ones. The dark being that advises the Red Queen has a larger role and becomes an even more menacing character. This being will have a great impact on the future of not only Kelsea, but the entire post-Crossing world.

Kelsea changes significantly – not only physically, but also in maturity and strength. Under Johansen’s writing, Kelsea evolves from an awkward teenager to a young adult with huge responsibilities. As Kelsea matures, Johansen puts more and more weight of responsibility on her.

There is still a dark undertone throughout the book, but there are periods of light. Similar to the Lord of the Rings trilogy where darkness just seems to grow as the movies go along, the darkness in the book has a similar path in this book.

The book is wonderfully written and spellbinding.

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