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.
Invasion of the Tearling continues the trend of having really great things mixed with really terrible things. Another content warning: this one gets quite a bit more explicit about Kelsea’s relationship with [redacted] as well as, ahem, herself, and so is still not younger-person-friendly in my mind. It also involves several references to sexual harassment and self harm so if that’s a trigger for you, then please don’t even bother reading it.
As for the actual plot, it was great to learn more about how this civilisation came to be, although I think how the information was introduced was quite clumsy (Kelsea starts dreaming of pre-Crossing Earth, and not always while she’s asleep). That said, with the amount of information/detail needed to make sense of what’s happening, I really don’t have a clue how else it could have been done. It’s just that having the “dreams” suddenly start seemed more like a convenient plot device than a natural part of the story.
And speaking of convenient plot devices, Kelsea’s necklace has a much more prominent part to play in this book and … it’s a bit awful. Not only does this necklace solve every problem faced, but Kelsea automagically knows how to use it. Super handy when the “bad dudes” outmatch you in every way, right?
I could keep going for hours (especially when it comes to how the Red Queen is portrayed and how Kelsea changes as she matures sexually), but I’d run the risk of spoilers, so I won’t. Basically, if you didn’t hate the first book (or if you’re just plain curious about the world building), it’s worth picking this one up, but be aware that the bad bits get worse.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.