The Queen of The Tearling – Erika Johansen [Books]

queen of the tearling.jpgDear friends,

One thing I want you to understand, is I will never disguise my feelings about a book on this blog. I will, however, always try to find the good in something. But if I say I liked a book, I liked it. If I gush about how great it is, I absolutely loved it. If I disliked it, it’s going to be clear. And if you felt differently about a book than I did, I would love to hear from you – I’m always open to discussion.

That said, if you passionately love this book and cannot hear a bad word said against it, it might be a good idea to turn away now.

I did not like this book.

I struggled with this book, and it is one of those rare times I considered rethinking my do not DNF policy.

The Queen of the Tearling is about Kelsea, a young woman in the Tearling, who due to her heritage, has grown up isolated with no one around but her foster parents. One day, a group of men come to whisk her away to the capital and crown her queen. But they are being pursued by the Caden, a group of assassins hired by her uncle, who wants her dead before she can be crowned.

So far, so yeah this sounds interesting, right?

It didn’t take me long into the book to discover I probably wouldn’t like Kelsea. She feels really bland, and makes massive judgements about the people she sees. Speaking of which, the book is very, very focused on appearances. All the men in the guard are handsome and young, despite the fact most of them have been in the guard since Kelsea was a child. People seem to age really slowly in the Tearling, for some reason – actually, almost every man (except the bad guys or slightly-bad-guys) are described as handsome. Kelsa herself keeps moaning about how plain she is, but I really don’t understand how one would think themselves plain if they’ve never seen anyone else? Also she has no mirrors, just sees herself reflected in water, and that’s not really a great one to judge appearance?

I’m not saying Kelsea has to be beautiful, or even ugly. But it just reads a bit odd, and honestly, the plain female hero obsessed with books…it’s been done. A lot. And Kelsea doesn’t really add anything to it at all.

Oh! And one of the men in her guard happens to be black. We know this, because Kelsea seems him and IS SHOCKED. She has (gasp!) never seen a black man before. But…she’s never seen ANYONE before? Like, again, her whole life has been lived in complete isolation. Oh, except in history books. She remembers that.  She has definitely seen black people in history books about…the slave trade.

And (I might be misremembering) I can;t recall anyone else’s race being mentioned again. So either he gets a special mention for being the first, or…no one else in the Tearling is black? I don’t know, but considering it’s the future, and people are descended from the Brits and Americans, it would be REALLY BLOODY WEIRD not to have anyone else who isn’t white. Speaking of which, why British-American? What happened to the other countries? Oh, except Europe. Because they came separately and have a completely different country right next door. Coincidently, all the doctors and medical supplies were on the same ship, which sank. So medicine is poor.

Which brings me to some other points. They made a crossing, from somewhere, but to WHERE, EXACTLY? Is this a different planet? Or did they find some other continent, and kill whoever lived there? None of this is explained or hinted at, and there’s really not a lot of indication as to why things have regressed so much. Don’t get me wrong – I love when worldbuilding makes you think you’re somewhere else, but it turns out (GASP) it’s the future! The problem is, this doesn’t do that. There is literally no reason to not explain these events, or where they are. It’s outright stated – not even hinted at – that this is in our future. There’s mention of Harry Potter and The Hobbit. Revealing that this was another planet would have made it more interesting, I think, but maybe that was revealed and I missed something? I dunno.

And why do people live for so long?

The book builds up the mysteries of who is Kelsea’s father and who is The Fetch but there is literally no pay off to these. To any of these! Three huge questions and by the end of the novel none of them were answered. If one of them was, I’d have found that mildly satisfying, but them all being left makes me feel like it’s a ploy just to get people to read the next one.

Honestly I could rant about this so much more, but I’m not going to. I wanted to like this book. I really, really did, but I struggled so much and as you can probably tell from the above, there were a lot of things that just nagged at me.

I would definitely not recommend this book, unfortunately. But that’s just me, and looking on reviews, it seems to be a book you either love or hate, and of course this is all just completely and utterly my own opinion.

Still, if you have read this book, I would absolutely love to know what you thought. And I promise my next review will be less ranty.

‘Double Standards’, Really??

There’s a few things which crop up every now and then, whether they get shared on your favourite social media site or come up as just click-bait, sometimes you can’t help but see the same thing again and again. The whole double standards thing is one of them. It’s usually an article showing how ‘wrong’ society is in the way we see certain things, and to be honest, most of these are complete and utter bollocks.

double-standardsThis is the image in particular that at the moment, has got me…let’s just say a little riled. Two images. One of a skinny girl with a larger guy, and the other of a larger girl with a skinny guy. The comments beneath are obvious. I can’t help but assume whoever wrote these is a guy. Maybe a guy who needs to sit down and have actual conversations with women. Because, hell, maybe there are some girls like the ones above, but most women I know are completely and utterly not like that.

Here’s a secret for you guys; yes, looks are important. Love flourishes with attraction. Of course it does. But realistically, personality will always win out. Always. IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT LOOKS. I can’t say if guys feel the same way. I don’t know. But the fact is I have known more girls go for guys who others would deem to be ‘below them’ than the other way around. Not that it matters either way. Let’s face it, the kind of guy who thinks the above statements are real, are probably not nice guys to begin with.

Personally, I’ve been attracted to all sorts of guys. I’m not exactly skinny myself, and I know I’m not going to get swept off my feet by some tall blond guy with a rock-hard six-pack. And I’m okay with that. Because the type of guys I go for have more than just good looks. They’re funny, charming, witty….and hopefully, on my end, they see me as more than just a pretty face. There is nothing wrong with either of the above pictures, and whoever added those comments beneath them seems to be missing the point of the drawings themselves (if anyone knows who created them, please let me know so I can credit and link to them). Look at the text at the bottom. Look what it says.

“People should fall in love with their eyes closed.”

Girls could be attracted to the best looking guy in the world, and be turned off when they find out he’s an arse-hole. Similarly, they could meet someone who isn’t conventionally good looking, but as they get to know him, personality shines through and changes the way they see him. It’s happened to me. It’s happened to others I’ve known. And yeah, opposites attract. I said there’s nothing wrong with those pictures, and there’d be nothing wrong if it showed a skinny guy & girl or a larger guy & girl. Or two big guys, two skinny women, or any other mix that could be thrown in.

If any guys are reading this and honestly do believe those comments, do me a favour. STOP. Take a few seconds to really think it over. Don’t be nice because you think you might get sex out of it. Don’t be a dick because you think that’s what girls are attracted to, and don’t sit at home lamenting the fact that no one has looked twice at you. In truth, girls are really bloody subtle at checking guys out so in reality, you don’t know if some hot girl might have been staring at you while you were in the queue at Tesco. There might be a really good reason you were turned down by  that girl you liked or, hell, maybe she really isn’t attracted to you and THAT IS OKAY. Sometimes attraction doesn’t happen, but please just don’t turn around and claim all women are horrible or even that that one girl is a bitch, because they didn’t reply to your message on POF or refused that drink. There are plenty of fish in the sea and believe me, if you go through life pretending to be nice (referring to the point above about trying to get laid) we will see through it. If you actually are a nice person, who is fun to talk to and fun to hang out with and act like a friend, you never know what they friendship might grow into.

Just don’t let stuff like the above get into your head. It’s bollocks. Be yourself is the best advice for any guy (and woman) looking for that special someone. Yeah, try and be healthy. Try to look after your body because you don’t want to be half way through round #1 and find you have no energy to go on. But understand that people aren’t idiots. Guys and girls know that not everyone is going to be small. Not everyone is going to have a ‘perfect’ body and, once again, that is okay. It’s okay to have a bit of a stomach. It’s okay to not have a six pack or have slightly broad shoulders or whatever. Very skinny isn’t sexy. Neither is massively big. Healthy….healthy is. And I am saying this as someone who has taken themselves off the dating scene for the time being because I am not at a level of health I like. That’s my choice. I am never going to be super skinny. Never going to have a perfect body. But once I feel fitter and happier in myself then sure, I’ll probably put myself out there a bit more. But for now….

Just take my advice. No one knows what you want except you, and no one knows what that hot guy/girl in the corner of the pub wants except them. So rather than moaning that there’s no way they’re going to be interested because they obviously like a different type of person, strike up a conversation. Talk to them. Treat them like, well, a person. Because that’s all they are. Another person. Not some god/goddess. Not some alien from another planet. Another person. Just like you. Just like me. So treat them like it.

Okay. I’m done.

Rant ended.