One of the books in my mailbox (or rather front doorstep) this week was a signed book proof of The Queen of the Tearling by debut author Erika Johansen, the first book in “an astonishingly imagined trilogy”.
Due for release in Australia in August by Random House, Erika has this to say about her debut novel:
“The Queen of the Tearling is a book about one possible future for humanity, in which we are handed a clean slate: an uninhabited land and an opportunity to leave the old world behind. I wanted to write about not only the inevitable failure of a socialist experiment with our current mentality, but also the fact that the failure doesn’t preclude a certain amount of hope … So I decided to write about an idealistic monarch trying to do good in that land I saw over the horizon: a lawless land that never was, but was still tormented by most of the problems of our current society … I wanted to contribute a tough-but-smart girl to the pantheon. Too often fantasy books are either geared toward men, or (if geared toward women) feature a stunningly beautiful and amazingly self-assured heroine with whom no one could possibly compete. I wrote my heroine to appeal to any woman who knows what it’s like to feel less-than-beautiful or out of her depth.”
Here’s the blurb:
“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…”
Erika Johansen was educated at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania before attending the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree. She later became an attorney. Erika divides her time between her home in the San Francisco bay area and London.
While the fantasy genre is one that has never really appealed to me, from the moment I set my eyes on the strong book cover and read the blurb, it hasn’t stopped beckoning for me to pick it up and read. Who knows, perhaps this will be my turning-point!
Film rights for the trilogy have been bought by Warner Bros., reuniting the producer of Harry Potter and one of its stars. The novel which was released in the UK and the US during July is already garnering a lot of attention. Here’s what some of those high profile fans are saying:
“I didn’t sleep for about a week because I couldn’t put the bloody thing down. It would be fair to say I became obsessed with it.” – Emma Watson
“The Queen of the Tearling is a gripping read with an enchanting heroine. Erika Johansen has created a wonderful world and I can’t wait to read more” – Bernard Cornwell
“The Queen of the Tearling is destined to be a fantasy classic. Johansen’s writing is assured, confident and thrilling. I can’t wait for the next book.” – Amy McCulloch, Author of The Pathbreaker’s Shadow
“This book worked on me with all the subtle power of an addiction: by the time I realized I was hooked, it was far too late to stop.” – Lauren Oliver, Bestselling author of Panic
Kirsty from Random House publicity says it’s “a fantastic read for fans of George R R Martin, J K Rowling and Suzanne Collins” so, for a free sample, head over to it’s page at Random House and click on the book cover.