The Queen of the Tearling
For the life of me, I can't understand why this book has such a high rating. Maybe it will get better? Not sure if I'll continue the series or not, but if I do the next book will be down at the bottom of my list.
Even the blurb is too long. Let's just say this: it's a book about a princess who was in hiding and now needs to claim her throne. In a neighboring land, a woman named 'The Red Queen' had made a deal with this princess' mother, that the queen won't have her alarmingly built army invade the land if they send her 250 people per month (as slaves). There's some more convoluted storylines underneath, but that's the main gist of it.
The book is just way too long with barely any action or plot to keep you going. I kept finding my brain drifting off and coming back 20 pages later with nothing new happening in between. We don't need to know every single thing this girl is thinking. In my opinion, there are only certain books that can get away with having multiple characters' perspectives, and this one did not work. If it stuck to Kelsea's story, it would have still been bad but at least bearable. There were one or two inserts from the red queen and one or two from one of the gate guards that made sense, but weren't necessary.
The main reason I didn't like this book was the setting. It made absolutely no sense to me. Supposedly, people from America and England crossed a giant ocean (where?) to a new land (why?) and somehow were forbidden from using any sort of technology? Or medicine? And went back to medieval ways including specific gender roles? I'm so confused. How did everything get so backwards? And there's so much mentioned about the great crossing but gives no reason as to why it was necessary. I didn't even know this was supposed to be post-apocalyptic until she mentioned ebooks.... seriously? You ride on horses, use flame for light, have a maidservant, are looked down upon for asking for woman's armor and training with a sword, but this is somehow all in the future?
The second big one was the characterization. I absolutely HATED Kelsea. She's always going on about how ugly she is and how she wished she was pretty, but tears people apart who look better than she does or put an effort into their appearance. She also hates pedophiles but she's chummy with murderers and thieves. She has no problem with killing men herself, but weeps for the lives of random people. She doesn't think about consequences of anything. She's just a terrible queen and the only reason the people like her is because she's a smidge better than her mother (which isn't saying much at all). If I had to read about her blushing one more time when the Fetch was around, I would scream.
Then there's the red queen. She's supposed to be so scary and intimidating, but we have no reason why she's evil and her chapters make her seem very weak. I have no interest in a shitty villain. There's a difference between making your villain vulnerable enough for us to empathize with them and just making them look stupid.
Overall, I felt like this book went nowhere. The whole plot was that she stops the shipments of people to her enemies, someone betrays her and tries to ship them anyways and then she stops them. The end. We didn't even find out who her father is, (which I'm guessing it's the Mace). For this length of book, I expect much more to happen.