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Agony's Shelf: 'The Invasion of the Tearling'

Updated on June 27, 2017

The Red Queen of Mortmesne, a brutal ruler who has long kept her neighboring countries under her thumb, has been crossed by the new, young Queen of Tearling and intends to make an example of her. Mortmesne has invaded Tearling before with devastating results; now it is merely a matter of time before she exacts her revenge.

Queen Kelsea has little on her side to recommend Tearling in this war. A handful of fiercely devoted Queen's Guards; two sapphire pendants she thought were magic but now seem to be sapphires only; and grim determination. But something is changing within her, something deep in her mind that is drawing her into a story and a world she does not know, the story of a battered woman named Lily which seems to somehow parallel the disaster unfolding in Tearling.

As the Red Queen's invasion pushes her army back and Kelsea changes more and more- not just her mind, but now even her body as well- she begins to learn there are more forces at work here than just her own dubious powers. Dark things from the past are making themselves known, and the war being fought in two times will affect both futures forever.

Dear Reader,

this sequel to 'The Queen of the Tearling' was greatly anticipated after the unexpected success of its predecessor but has sadly succeeded in unraveling many of the qualities I found endearing in the first volume. Kelsea's inexperience with the world around her endeared as well as conjured another layer of suspense around each of her actions as she attempted to run a kingdom. She made mistakes, and even though she was Doing The Right Thing she still brought true, inescapable, and extremely severe consequences down on herself and her people. Or so you thought.

Your Aunty will spoil nothing for you by revealing that those consequences are, for the most part, evaded in the end because this book is clearly written to that purpose. At no point can the reader sincerely believe something catastrophic is about to happen, even though Kelsea is practically losing her mind in the middle of a war as she is sucked into the events of another place and time. Time travel? Yes, that is now also an aspect of this story. It is a medieval fantasy post-apocalyptic time travel novel. Surprisingly the author makes it work, and should receive great credit for doing so. The parallel story Kelsea experiences is easily as engaging as her own and adds a very original element to a plot in danger of becoming unoriginal the longer it goes on. Even Kelsea's physical appearance changes, going from plain, overweight main character to startlingly beautiful, lithe young woman, and it's no mere result of exercise and good diet but of magic. Yes. Magic shape-shifts her against her conscious will so that she can be pretty. We can only hope to be given a legitimate reason why in the next book.

'Invasion' is still an entertaining read recommended for persons sixteen and older, but certainly not much younger. There is a little bad language and plenty of allusions to sex and sexual perversions, though again no truly graphic content. Other dark subjects brushed upon are rape, narcotics addiction, pedophilia, torture, child soldiers, and more. The author also indulges in some political commentary, not as cleverly disguised as in the last book, and some preaching comes up now and again. It does not distract too much but the sequel will be the real judgment as to whether or not it pays off.

Your Truly Devoted,

Aunt Agony

If you have read 'The Invasion of the Tearling' what rating would you give?

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