Book of the Week: Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen

Since this newsletter is designed for booksellers, I won’t belabor the plot. Harper marketing has done such a spectacular job of getting the word out that those of us in bookselling would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about it. And it sure didn’t hurt that a major movie starring Emma Watson has already been announced.

But for those of you who haven’t yet read the book, there’s an especially nice hook to this one. Yes, it’s yet another fantasy epic and yet another “first in a trilogy.” I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I then say it’s a coming of age tale about a nineteen-year-old girl and her quest to take back her family’s kingdom. If you’re like me, you’re checking off the tropes and getting ready to yawn. But hold up: What looks like yet another medieval setting turns out to be the 24th century and we’re looking at a civilization that has evolved after fleeing the ravages of our technology-crazy world.

Now I’m interested…

Here’s the author herself on how she conceived the book:

One evening I had that rare sort of dream that you remember perfectly upon waking, that stays with you: a single image in my head of a group of people in boats, leaving a broken land and disappearing over the horizon toward an uncertain future.  I firmly believe that humanity’s problems have never changed deep down. They just wear new costumes. So I decided to write about an idealistic monarch trying to do good in that land I saw over the horizon: a lawless land still tormented by most of the problems of our current society. That was the basic idea of the Crossing: by the late 21st century, America would become such a terrible place to be poor that those who wanted a better world, even those with children, would be willing to pile themselves into boats and throw themselves onto the mercy of the ocean rather than remaining.”

For fans who want more on the back story, click here: The Queen of the Tearling Back Story.

I won’t belabor the reviews since a #1 Indie Next pick obviously signals some serious interest and support. I’ll just leave you with these snippets:

“Johansen makes an impressive debut with this ambitious fantasy adventure, which takes place several centuries from now following the collapse of civilization and mass migration to a newly discovered continent….an engaging page-turner.”
Publishers Weekly

“Kelsea’s mother made some terrible compromises with the Red Queen that allowed the people of the Tear to be treated like slaves. Kelsea isn’t like her mother. She’s been in hiding for 18 years preparing to be the next Queen…and she’s not going to take any crap.”
–Jessilyn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey MI

[Gotta like that one. 🙂 ]

The Queen of the Tearling (9780062290366) by Erika Johansen. $26.99 hardcover. 7/8/14 on sale.

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