Queen of the Tearling is a good dystopian, YA fantasy story. I’m choosing the word good intentionally. This isn’t a book with amazing writing, nor is it a book with characters I adore. But it’s solidly written with an interesting story. And another entry in the “why I don’t read YA” list.

I chose this book to fulfill a reading challenge prompt where either the book or the author’s last name should start with Q. I was hoping for a fun romp in fantasy. What I got felt more like a slog, as even the smallest thing would distract me from reading.

At the story’s start, Kelsea is nineteen and must leave the cabin where her foster parents have raised her. Sounds like what a lot of nineteen year olds are doing, but Kelsea is leaving because she’s now of age to be Queen. The book follows the first few months of her reign, where she’s adjusting to her new life and making her policies known.

I found it hard to connect with Kelsea emotionally throughout the story, because the writing is just so prosaic. On the other hand, I genuinely appreciated how she took her life’s changes in stride where so many other YA heroines get whiney.

In terms of the story itself, it seemed mostly formulaic to me. The bad guys are obvious and I actually found myself wishing they were more dramatically awful. But it’s YA, which generally isn’t as gruesome as adult fantasy fiction. Unless you count YA books that have kids killing kids, but I digress.

I found myself wishing for the back story about how William Tear left America in what seems like present times, sailed to Europe and started the Tear in what seems like it must be England. How did all that come about? And why did they go back to a quasi-medieval society?

I actually own both this ebook and the second one in the series, although I most likely bought them on sale. No matter how much I admire her politics and attitude, I don’t know that I care enough about Kelsea to read more of her story. But hey, this was the last book in my alphabetical challenge, so hooray!