Before I get to the book, I have a confession to make. I’ve gotten a bit behind in my Young Adult reading. I say this with shame because I was once able to converse extensively on the latest series and award winning titles. Now I can’t even name the current Newberry Award winner, let alone say that I’ve read it and some of the nominees.
When I was teaching, my students were always ready with suggestions of their favorite books, and the school librarians were endlessly helpful. When I talk to people currently in schools, I ask what they recommend and then I add it to my Goodreads. I recently got to visit a school in New Orleans with some amazing bookshelves. I hesitated only a few moments, slightly embarrassed, before I started recording titles.
I wish I could remember where I found the recommendation for the Tearling series, because I owe someone my thanks. I decided to read it in an effort to get up-to-speed on some contemporary YA titles. The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is the last in the trilogy. I read the first two books in the series, The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling, just before I started this blog and I was glad to find the last title as an ebook from the library.
I went into the series without knowing much about it. I would recommend the same approach to anyone else planning to read it. I will keep my summary pretty basic: Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn is raised in seclusion, out of the way of potential dangers of an unstable government. On her 19th birthday, she is claimed by the Queen’s Guard to take the throne. Few expect her to survive long enough to have much of a reign. Her trials begin before she even gets to the keep and intensify as she discovers disturbing things about kingdom. Readers going into the first book without knowing much more than this get to discover several mysterious pieces of the plot that I really don’t want to spoil. I enjoy the unexpected.
I won’t spoil the ending either, but I do have cautions for potential readers. This book, like the others, lost me several hours of sleep because I had trouble putting it down. While this is a good thing, it got me to an end that was. . . I must say. . . somewhat unsatisfying. Many things that seemed to be leading to something important in the plot didn’t lead anywhere and left unanswered questions. Overall, I still very much enjoyed the book and the series as a whole.
Now, for those who have already read the book or like spoilers, I have a more detailed review of the end of the series with more specifics about those unanswered questions.
Beware: Spoilers Ahead!!!
The Fate of the Tearling starts with Kelsea in the custody of the Red Queen and Mace sitting in as ruler of the Tear. Things are not going well. While in custody, Kelsea begins reliving the memories of a girl, Katie, born after The Crossing. In these memories, we start to see the origins of The Fetch and The Orphan. Many questions are answered, but many are also raised that are never resolved.
Here is what we still don’t know:
I expected to learn more technical information about The Crossing. Where are they? Are we talking a different planet? Different dimension? Different time?
And what’s the deal with the sapphires? We find out William Tear’s sapphire was passed down through generations, but we still don’t know the origin. Tear came from a place that seems like our world, but the sapphires are found in this post-Crossing world.
We get background about the vampire/zombie children, but they also don’t make a ton of sense. There is a missing piece to this as well. There are also hints about Mace’s past that are never developed. There is so much more I want to know!
I have read that Johansen is not done with the world of the Tearling, even though this is the end of this trilogy. I’m hoping that means there are explanations in the future.