Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler - and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.
On her 19th birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon - from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic - to prevent her from wearing the crown.
Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.
But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun - a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend...if she can survive.
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Slow beginning, excellent payoff
It's up there. It definitely starts out slow--I have seen super mixed reviews about this book, and in most cases people cite the slow beginning as a negative. Don't stop there! It picks up once she arrives in Tearling.
Kellgren's performance is excellent. At first her accent was too much for me, but by the end of the book, I wanted to listen to more of her narration. Her voices bring the characters to life. I was pretty impressed with her range.
- Eric Nielsen