WARNING: If you have not yet read The Queen of the Tearling and Invasion of the Tearling do not read any further!
Kelsea has given herself and her sapphires over to the Red Queen, brokering a peace agreement she hopes will protect her kingdom. But it also means being captive and prisoner of her enemy all the while stripped of the powers the stones once gave her. Except it seems Kelsea's ability to see beyond her own time hasn't left her. Visions of a girl living in William Tear's time, just after the crossing, have replaced those of Lily, giving Kelsea a look into her kingdom's earliest days. But what wisdom can be gained by these visions?
Meanwhile, Mace has been left in charge in Kelsea's stead. As public sentiment suffers thanks to the damage left behind in the Mort soldiers' wake and the church's attempts at destabilization, Mace is also tasked with cleaning out the dirty underbelly of the city. All this as he and the rest of the Queen's guard try desperately to figure out how they can save their queen.
So when we last left Kelsea she had surrendered both herself and the sapphires to the Red Queen. Her strategy did leave her prisoner, but it also made it possible for her to discover the identity of the enemy that has been tormenting her kingdom for so long. And it also revealed the fact that the sapphires are apparently useless to anyone other than Kelsea.
Kelsea had also been having visions of a pre crossing woman named Lily. The visions were attributed to the power the stones had apparently given her. Her physical powers left her with the stones, but in the days after her surrender Kelsea realizes that the visions haven't gone at all. They have changed, though. Rather than seeing and feeling Lily's pre-crossing experiences, she's now seeing a girl born just after the crossing.
These visions allow the reader to see more of the history of Kelsea's world, a history that's not really understood by even Kelsea and her people. And there's a suspicion, as the visions continue, that something very important is being conveyed to Kelsea. Something that (considering this is the final book in the trilogy) must lead to some sort of resolution. But Johansen does, as with the prior two installments, keep her cards close, leaving the reader guessing as to what might be coming for Kelsea, the Red Queen, and even William Tear and his people.
The scope of the world of this trilogy is amazing. I never suspected, in the opening pages of The Queen of the Tearling that the world was anything close to what it turned out to be. It's funny, too, that Johansen herself notes some of the feelings I had while reading in her acknowledgements. The fact that the history of the world is limited to what the characters know - and they really know very little at all -, that identities are hidden, that information is just plain lost, was at times incredibly frustrating. Don't worry, it was never frustrating to the point of discouragement, but instead in the most I-must-keep-reading-I-must-know-what's-going-on agonizingly edge of your seat kind of way. It's made the wait for this third and final installment quite difficult, let me tell you.
If you ignored my warning above, I did try to go no as no spoilers as possible. You do have to read the trilogy in order, though, in order to have any inkling of what's going on. It's a highly inventive trilogy and a fabulous world, though, and I definitely recommend checking them out.
If you have read them all, or at least the first two, then you may have missed this recent little extra over on Bustle (a short story about a young Mace called "The Boy"). Mace is probably everyone's favorite character (or maybe that's just me) so don't miss it!
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Erika Johansen and her series you can like her on Facebook and visit her on Tubmlr.
Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble