This book is the perfect bridge from a great series opener to what I can only assume will be a dramatic, fulfilling conclusion to the Tearling story. It expands on the brief glimpses of intrigue from book one into a whole new realm of magic and possibility. The scope broadens to include much more history of the Tearling and many new characters, all of which consistently point back to Kelsea.
Point of View
This book is written in third person from a variety of points of view, predominantly Kelsea’s.
This book is set in the fictional kingdoms of Tear and Mortmesne, which mankind escaped to several hundred years ago in the Crossing (an exodus from America and possibly Europe).
– Kelsea Glynn/Raleigh – the nineteen year old Queen of the Tearling
– Lazarus (aka The Mace) – the man Kelsea chooses as her captain of the guard
– The Fetch – the handsome, mysterious criminal who seems to have much knowledge and power
– Pen – the man assigned as Kelsea’s personal bodyguard whom she trusts very much
– Father Tyler – the meek, bookish priest Kelsea chooses as her obligatory faith advisor
– The Red Queen – the evil queen of Mortmesne, the neighboring kingdom
– Arlen Thorne – the evil man who carried out the monthly shipments of Tear citizens to the Mort
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in The Invasion of the Tearling?
Commander Hall’s battalion catapults rattlesnakes into the Mort encampment. The enemy soldiers scatter.
Ewen, the prison guard, accepts three new prisoners…Jeval, an unnamed man, and an albino lady who scares him.
Kelsea holds a meeting to decide how to proceed militarily. She is inclined to protect the people. General Bermond is inclined to protect the land. Kelsea insists on her plan.
Kelsea slips inside the head of Lily Mayhew, a woman living in pre-Crossing America in the 21st century. Men are domineering in this society, Lily’s husband Greg included. Lily empowers herself by sneaking birth control and looping the video feed to get free time unobserved by Greg.
When Kelsea awakes, she remembers Lily’s thoughts and knows pre-Crossing facts elusive to the Tearling. She has been walking around without seeing or hearing anyone for three hours. Kelsea’s body begins changing.
Kelsea holds audience and learns about miners mysteriously disappearing, Colonel Hall’s temporary victory, and the nobles’ annoyance with refugees crossing their land. Kelsea will take their land by eminent domain if they hamper refugee travel.
The Mort commanders are exhausted from keeping unrest curtailed. The Queen wonders if the dark thing has spread his hunting ground because she invaded the Tearling against his wishes.
Ducarte arrives late with Genot in tow. Genot had deserted his men. The Queen kills him as an example. She asks Ducarte to be her new commander. He bargains with her and finally agrees. A slave girl is a spy placed by Lazarus and hears this exchange.
Glee, Andalie’s youngest daughter, is a seer like her mother. She is in a trance and tells Kelsea she sees her riding toward death. Andalie tells Kelsea her mother was the Red Queen’s famous seer. She didn’t want Andalie near the Queen, so she found a couple to adopt her. They sold her when they get in tremendous debt to a man who uses her gift for money. She escapes with a neighbor boy. He promises her a better life in the Tear. He lied. She is pregnant and stuck with him because women can’t find real work in the Tear. He treats his family very poorly.
Andalie and Glee see the same future for Kelsea…”A hand holds your two jewels, but the hand is somehow empty at the same time. A beguiling man whose face conceals a monstrosity. A playing card: the queen of spades. A chasm beneath your feet.”
The holy father has assembled the priests to castorate Seth, a priest with homosexual tendencies. Lazarus observes from the shadows.
Kelsea searches Carlin’s books for any sign of Lily in history. Her appearance continues to change. She wonders about her sapphires, which have been inactive since they conjured the storm.
A beautiful man appears. He will help her defeat the Mort in exchange for freeing him. Kelsea asks if he’s offered the Red Queen the same thing. She tells him ‘no.’ He leaves.
Pen asks about Kelsea’s changing looks. Since he calls her pretty, Kelsea makes a pass at him. Pen refuses. They end up embarrassed.
Kelsea’s afraid her temperament might be changing, too. The holy father comes to dinner. They don’t agree and tensions are high. He mentions Kelsea’s failure to marry and wonders if she is homosexual. Kelsea decrees the church and palace are no longer exempt from taxes. If they can lodge part of the Tear refugees in the Arvath, she will forgive taxes on this property.
A magician is the entertainment. Kelsea is amazed. The holy father is not. For the final trick, he turns water to wine. Kelsea is delighted. The holy father is angry. Tyler tries to get in the middle of it. The holy father pushes him down, breaking his leg. Kelsea slaps the holy father’s face.
A woman climbs over the wall in Lily’s backyard. She’s been shot. This lady, Dorian, set off explosions on an American naval base as part of the separatist movement. She chose this home because Jonathan, Lily’s bodyguard, is part of the movement. Lily hides the woman in the nursery. Greg arrives home agitated and beats and rapes her. He leaves on a work trip.
A mysterious man (William Tear) appears in Lily’s home to check on Dorian. Lily wants to care for Dorian as penance for accidentally revealing her sister’s separatist thoughts when they were teens. The man tells her of the better world.
Kelsea wants to make a deal with Cadarese ambassador to augment the Tear army, fortify the walls around New London, and stop them from sending horses to Mortmesne. The Cadarese leader is willing to make a deal with the Tearling if Kelsea will marry him. Kelsea refuses.
Thorne enters the Keep dungeon and attacks Ewen. Ewen throws the keys to the one prisoner he trusts…Javel. Javel unlocks his cell and attacks Thorne.
Pen has fallen in love with Kelsea. Lazarus will keep this secret but will watch him closely.
Tyler is teaching Lazarus to read. He’s a quick learner. The holy father knocks on the door. Lazarus disappears. He wants Tyler to lace the Queen’s drink with poison. He’ll burn Tyler’s books if he doesn’t comply. He shows Tyler a large collection of books. If he completes his task, the he will become the first Arvath librarian.
Lazarus and Tyler escort Kelsea through the Keep tunnels to a portrait gallery. She sees portraits of all Tear rulers since the Crossing, plus a few extra. The most notable are William Tear, the beautiful man who appeared in her room recently, and a sad looking little girl hidden in the painting of Queen Amanda.
Kelsea pardons Javel. She sends him with her guards most fluent in Mort to rescue his wife. Kelsea wants to know whether rescuing the slaves is possible.
Kelsea fades into a vision of Lily. Greg tells her about his IVF idea. Lily and a friend discuss another friend’s disappearance and her latest pregnancy.
Kelsea comes to and hears a skirmish in the hall. Kibb, one of her guards, has appendicitis. The doctor can’t do anything. Kelsea takes Kibb’s hand and wishes he could be saved. She feels pain in her abdomen and goes into a trance-like state. When she wakes up, Kibb is healed. The Mace says to keep this a secret.
The Mort invade. Kelsea wishes the cruel, beautiful man would appear. Then he is there by the fire. If she sets him free, he’ll tell her if the Red Queen’s vulnerability so she can try to defeat her. He sees someone behind her, snarls, and disappears. It’s the Fetch. He looks more serious than before. He tells Kelsea this man, Rowland Finn, is dangerous. The Fetch fell into a trap of Row’s long ago. He’s still alive as punishment. He won’t tell Kelsea how long he’s been alive. Kelsea wants to know his real name. He won’t tell her.
The Fetch mentions her change in appearance. He says it’s a wish granted from her necklaces and asks what else she’s been able to do. She describes her visions of the pre-Crossing. He asks if there is a girl with long red hair and is disappointed when she says ‘no.’ Kelsea tries to think of a way to show the Fetch she’s an adult now. She’s frustrated and tells him to not show up unannounced again. He says he’ll do as he pleases. She throws something at him. He leaves. Pen finds her sobbing. She wants to sleep with him to ease her sorrow. He eventually gives in.
Kelsea prepares the city for the Mort invasion. She has slept with Pen several more times and asks Andalie to find contraception for her.
Kelsea visits Thorne. She will execute him soon but wants to learn about him. He and Lazarus have history. Lazarus doesn’t want a word of it breathed. Thorne asks that Brenna, his albino lady, be protected when he’s gone. In return, he tells Kelsea the Red Queen wants her sapphires more than Kelsea can possibly imagine. She wants to know why Brenna is so important. He’ll only exchange his life for that information. Kelsea refuses.
The Red Queen is testing snake venom on slaves to formulate poison. She receives word the Mort troops have broken through the border. Her servant is dead or injured on the floor. The evil creature is there and calls her by name…Evelyn Raleigh. She grasps him using her magic and begins to squeeze. He says she’ll never achieve her goal of immortality. He sees her downfall orchestrated by the man in grey and the Tear Queen. She yells at her guards to put the whole fire out. But first the creature kills her closest guard, Beryll. She decides to travel to the Tearling.
Kelsea continues to cut herself for stress relief. She wears long-sleeved dresses to keep her bad habit hidden. Pen sees them.
It is the day of Thorne’s execution. The crowd is going crazy. Two other criminals are hung first. A queen of spades card lands near Kelsea. She kills Thorne in a more brutal manner, bowing to the will of the crowd. They are excited. She feeds off their energy. Kelsea can sense Lazarus’ disapproval. She feels angry and ashamed.
Late one night, Tyler goes up to the holy father’s rooms. He says he put the poison in Kelsea’s tea. The holy father is ecstatic but won’t return Tyler’s books until he’s sure. Tyler hits him from behind with his Bible and knocks him out. One of his women gives Tyler the long-lost Tear crown. Tyler wants to escape for good and take Seth with him. They hear pursuers but escape through Tyler’s secret passageway.
Most of the Tear population is now around the wall. The Army is scattered outside the city. Past the tents of the Tear army is the vast settlement of Mort soldiers.
When Kelsea looks in the mirror, she sees Lily looking back. Kelsea feels like they are sharing a life somehow.
Lazarus says the Mort will be at the city walls in one week. Kelsea orders the refugees be brought inside the city wall. Lazarus says Kelsea has become brutal and begs her to take her jewels off. He says the changes they’re making in Kelsea are not worth the good they’ve done. Kelsea refuses.
Kelsea gets word from the Cadarese king that he will not provide aid and has withdrawn his marriage offer. Kelsea wants to make sure all refugees able to fight have a weapon. The magician arrives asking for asylum. He says the holy father placed a bounty on his head and on Tyler’s. Kelsea sends Lazarus to look for Tyler.
Bermond and Hall are on the front lines and are both exhausted. They see a red tent in the Mort encampment and know who is there. They engage in battle with nearby Mort troops. Hall feels like everything is moving in slow motion. General Bermond dies. Hall takes over.
Dorian is gone. Lily watches the news for and discovers a couple curious occurrences…a theft of many horses and a 20 minute power outage in New England. One of Greg’s college buddies, Arnie, the head security lieutenant, comes over for dinner. He is twitchy and won’t drink. Greg knows something is up. He gets Arnie to tell him the government has found where the Blue Horizon is and plans to attack tomorrow.
Lily hits Greg over the head with a picture frame. He hits the counter as he’s falling to the floor and is out cold. Lily changes clothes, downloads maps, and leaves to warn Tear about the government’s plan. She gets past security and drives herself to the warehouse. The guards don’t want to let her in. She finally makes it inside, where Dorian, Jonathan, and William Tear are. William and Jonathan act like they’re going to harm her to appease the other group but secretly treat her kindly. They let Lily exit the building with them, but then they have Jonathan drive her home. While she was with Tear’s men, she hears the date September 1st. On her way home, she begins to fall asleep and hears the name Kelsea. Pen is shaking Kelsea awake in her world.
Hall visits Kelsea and questions some of her decisions. She makes him general of her army. The Red Queen sends a messenger offering a deal. Kelsea’s anger splits the man in half, knocks down those around him, and heads through the Mort army. It suddenly hits a wall. Many are dead. Kelsea gets a severe headache.
Kelsea asks Arliss to draft a regency document to make Lazarus regent should she die. She will leave early the next morning to barter for her people’s freedom. Arliss tells her Lazarus was a famous child fighter that Arliss took many bets on. He never lost a fight. When he was rescued from that horrible life, he didn’t want it speak of it again.
Kelsea slips back into the dream of Lily. Lily returns home to Greg, a fight ensues, and Jonathan kills Greg. Security arrives and handcuffs Lily. She is sent to prison to be tortured for information about the Blue Horizon. Lazarus is there when Kelsea comes to. She asks if he’s her father. He says ‘no,’ but he wishes he was. She tells him she knows about his childhood and asks his real name. It’s Christian.
Kelsea asks him, Pen, and two other guards to accompany her to the bridge for her parley attempt. He says Pen is a poor choice because he’s in love with her. Kelsea doesn’t know what to think. She slips into a vision of Lily. Lily is being tortured. She is eventually rescued by Jonathan, Dorian, and William Tear. She feels explosions and wonders if it’s September 1st. Jonathan is shot. They all make it into a getaway car. Tear removes Lily’s shoulder tag. The power is out permanently on the east coast.
Kelsea awakes and calls for Lazarus. She disappeared during part of her vision. Lazarus chooses the three to go with him the next morning. Pen is not included and is furious.
Kelsea summons Row Finn. He wants her forgiveness for a wrong committed long ago against her family. In exchange, he tells her the sapphires allow her to travel through time. If she can go back and kill the Red Queen before she obtained immortality, then she can be defeated. Kelsea asks who her father is. Row won’t tell her. She sees pity in his eyes over this. He has her look in the mirror to see that she’s more a Tear than a Raleigh. Besides her mother’s green eyes, she sees Lily. She makes the deal.
Kelsea likes the regency agreement except for the resumption of power clause. She’s afraid it will steal power from Lazarus. Andalie told Arliss it needed to be in there. Too many copies have been made to change it now. Kelsea begins signing them.
Lazarus tells Kelsea Pen is fighting to go with them. Kelsea relents. The entourage journeys to the wall. Hall opens the gate. Kelsea magically freezes everyone so she can go alone. They’re furious but can do nothing about it. She walks over the bridge. Part of it disappears behind her so no one can follow her. When the Mort troops reform after she walks through their midst, the Tear are unfrozen.
Kelsea fights being overtaken by Lily to focus on the Red Queen. Just before she reaches her tent, Kelsea focuses on her vision for a moment to discover Lily is now on a ship. Kelsea has missed part of the story but is glad Lily is safely sailing away.
The Red Queen is shocked to see Kelsea’s confidence and face. She’s glad Kelsea isn’t pregnant like the woman in her picture whom Kelsea resembles. She’s glad to see the two necklaces. She can see Finn has worked on Kelsea in some way. She knows she can’t grab the necklaces and wants to get some answers.
Kelsea recognizes the Red Queen as the bastard Raleigh child from the picture in the gallery. The Red Queen slaps Kelsea when she says this. She is seized with invisible hands and flung onto her bed. Kelsea asks why she hates her family so much. The Red Queen can’t recapture her composure. She can feel Kelsea going through her memories and pausing on the worst moments. They traded her away while Queen Elaine got everything. The Red Queen starts scratching and Kelsea tells her she does it, too. The Red Queen is shocked and stops.
Ducarte bursts in but is stopped by Kelsea. The Red Queen feels powerless. Kelsea asks her name. She won’t say. Kelsea searches her mind again and discovers it is Evelyn Raleigh.
Lazarus, Pen, Ellston, and Aisa re-enter the Keep. Andalie confirms Kelsea’s still alive. Arliss brings Lazarus the regency papers. Lazarus is furious. The Fetch and his men appear. No one knows how they got in. He says Kelsea is valuable and the Red Queen won’t kill her. Lazarus says they must go there immediately. The Fetch and his men will help.
Kelsea sees that Evelyn was always alone in her childhood memories. With Row Finn’s help, she rose from obscurity to create her own greatness using this past hurt. Kelsea sees she wants to make her own destiny and be immortal that way, not necessarily to live forever. Kelsea ponders how to use this information to defeat her.
Kelsea sees a memory of Evelyn looking in a mirror and thinking she’ll never be beautiful. She doesn’t want Kelsea to see this memory. Kelsea understands the Red Queen and knows these insecurities are still there. Kelsea realizes that uncorrected problems from the past help shape the future. She realizes she can’t kill the Red Queen. Kelsea feels like the dark impulses are still inside her but will never control her again.
How did The Invasion of the Tearling end?
Kelsea tells the Red Queen she’ll give her the sapphires in exchange for autonomy for the Tear for five years. Ducarte is furious the army won’t get its plunder. They negotiate and settle on three years. The necklaces don’t fight Kelsea when she removes them. She’s sad she’ll never see the end of Lily’s story but is happy with their deal. The sapphires won’t work for the Red Queen. She is outraged. The Mort take Kelsea prisoner.
Lily is on the boat holding Jonathan. He’s stitched up but not doing well. Security is trailing them. Tear says they only need five minutes. One of Tear’s ships is struck by a torpedoes.
Lily sees a hole on the horizon. It’s night around her, but daytime leaks out of the hole. They pass through to the better world. Lily moves to tell Jonathan. He has died. Fifteen ships made it through. The edges of the hole are collapsing. The last ships might not make it. William glows blue before collapsing on the deck.
Lily sees Tear again two days later. He says he’s fine. But he looks sickly. He needs her help and takes her to his room. It’s lined with bookshelves and books. Dorian is there with Jonathan’s body. They carry him to the deck, say a few words, and push him over the railing.
Lily asks Tear if what happened is magic. He says it seems like the most natural thing in the world to him, but maybe it is a kind of magic. He drops a sapphire in her hand. It has been in his family since before the Dark Ages. Tear asks if she’s healing. It’s a hard question. She doesn’t answer.
Tear says the new world will be difficult. They’ll have to work hard without modern conveniences. It will be primitive but without the faults of the old world. He chose civic-minded people to help him build it. Lily wonders if she is this way. Tear says he knows she is. He saw her long ago in his sapphire. The sapphire glows. She sees herself in it, a different, stronger version. She is late in a pregnancy. She radiates contentment. Tear says the baby will be a boy.
Tear points out one of the distant ships. He describes a woman on that boat, someone who Dorian idolizes and who has been with Tear since she was fourteen. It’s Lily’s long-lost sister. Lily thinks about her future son. She already knows his name will be Jonathan.
There you go! That’s what happened in The Invasion of the Tearling, the second book in this series.
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