Friday 17 July 2015

Invasion of the Tearling Book review and interview with author Erika Johansen

Title: The Invasion of the Tearling
Author: Erika Johansen
Release Date: July 16th 2015
Synopsis: With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.
But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out

Review: One of the lyrics in the Imagine Dragons song Warriors (which will also have more context later) is: "We are here now, don't turn away. We are the warriors that built this town" and as I was reading this book, I kept thinking back to this song, and its beats, and the way that it felt like a battle cry accompanying on this journey of invasion. And it was invasion on numerous levels which was a nice little subtext to the title.

Kelsea has ascended to the throne (that's not a spoiler more a fact :p) and is faced with the pressing threat of a Mort invasion. This book for me was more of a builder, taking a lot of the fight from book one and placing it in a context, exploring Kelsea's new life in such a time of battle, so that there was more of a slower pace, I found I was taking my time read the book rather than rushing through, but also wanting to rush through to see where things would go.

Kelsea as a character I had to regularly remember she's only 19. This affects how you can read her, because she has this strength in her that builds, but also seen through the perspective of others she is this young woman and is treated as such by those around here, and that was a really interesting balance for me. Especially when seen through the yes of the Mort queen.

When you have books of larger lengths one of the things that make it for me is the building of the 'smaller' characters (I saw smaller but not less important by any means)who I often find add that spark to the proceedings that you hope they will suddenly pop up and this builds engagement in the novel for me. Characters like Father Tyler, Asia and the Mace who all held completely different places here for me. Mace was this strength, like your rock, Asis this firecracker (because you ned one in every book) and Father Tyler, the more sympathetic soul, one of those guys who you really want to just go postal!

I've seen other comments about this book and one thing I saw was talking about the cliche of having a corrupt church. As a plot device, yes it has been used a lot, but if everything was all hunky dory then novels would be a lot blander, and it's not like this isn't based on some truths, because no 'body' wither religious or governmental is ever uncorrupt. This adds depths and layers to both the characters and the plots, to take it and appreciate it...though obvs don't appreciate what happens because sometimes you really do want to slap people, so we were all with Kelsea in that.

We are also taking to the Pre-Crossing!! I loved that this was set in the future, yet when this new world started everything had to be taken back to basis and built up, giving us this medieval vibe with Kings and Queens. It's really interesting to see how we now would react and survive if everything was taken away from us and we were reduced to such basics. And Lily...I loved this second perspective (though it was a little weird jumping from two different times, each with different vibes and atmospheres) brutal as it was, and she brought such strength to a character you really fought with her.

I love the cover of this book, it's strong, powerful and suggestive, and i'm curious as to what will happen next in the final instalment of the trilogy. This was a good book for investment, take it on a plane and get really absorbed in, take it to the park for a day, take it wherever you need and be taken to new worlds.

Interview with Author of Invasion of the Tearling Erika Johansen

 Can you give us a quick overview (no spoilers :p) of where we find ourselves in book two?

The Tearling faces invasion by Mortmesne, and Kelsea is stuck between a rock and a hard place. She does not have the army to repel the invasion, but she also doesn’t have a way out.

The book takes on multiple perspectives and timelines, can you tell us a little about your writing process?

I don’t really have a writing process. I get up early every morning, sit down in front of the computer, and hope for good ideas that day. It’s very much a fly-by-night operation.

The Pre-crossing, introduced here, is set in a more modern world than we find ourselves in, but we also have the more medieval inspired world, how did you go about shaping those worlds? Did you always intend to start merging the timelines? 

Yes.  It was either that or giving the reader a massive chunk of exposition about 
the past, which makes me cringe. My characters generally shape the worlds 
around them.

Who is your favorite character to write?

Father Tyler.

Do you ever find your characters take on their own journeys guiding your pen?


There are some big issues entwined here...identity, politics, religion, power, which at times lead up to some brutal scenes (especially with Lily); what did you want to show with these?

How these things really happen. I’m not a big fan of literature that softens up brutality to make the plot more palatable to the audience. If you’re going to write about the uglier side of humanity, then you need to write about it. I don’t particularly enjoy reading – or writing – about brutality, but I find explicit scenes, honestly told, far less offensive than I do a contrived PG version.

If you could pick a song to be the soundtrack of the book, which would it be? (I’m quite feeling Imagine Dragons Warriors)

“Dirty Epic” by Underworld

What books in the genre have you been inspired by?

Frank Herbert’s Dune; Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon; Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon; Terry Brooks’ Heritage of Shannara series


If you could walk into any other book which book would it be and why?

Little Women, so I could talk Jo March out of marrying a guy twice her age.


Post a Comment

Imagination Designs