‘Invasion Of The Tearling’ By Erika Johansen

9780062290410Maybe not as good as the first book in the trilogy, but still very good. The world building is nicely realized and it’s both good and important that it’s a book with a female protagonist that was written by a female author. It shouldn’t be, but I hope we can all agree that full gender equality hasn’t been reached yet, so anything that breaks up the boys club is positive.

The other week, I was visiting my new grandniece (yes, I’m old; I can already feel the icy hand of death clutching at my still, but barely beating heart; I can only pray that when the reaper comes for me, he finds wearing nothing but a pair of ruby encrusted spurs and listening to Jefferson Airplane’s classic album, Surrealistic Pillow), and my nephew-in-law showed me one of the books the infant had been given. It was an ABCs of famous American women and ‘U’ was for Ursula K. Le Guin. I explained that she was a famous and great feminist writer, best (though not exclusively) known for writing very thoughtful fantasy and science fiction.

That has nothing to do with The Invasion of the Tearling, but feminism in the genre had been on mind and that’s why.

We are in a fantasy world, with an invasion and a young queen, but the most interesting part are visions/flashbacks to how people from ‘our’ world wound up in this fantasy landscape. There’s a messianic revolutionary named William Tear and a world of corporate control created by a former president – a far right ideologue. It’s tempting to read Donald Trump into him, but he’s actually more of a Reagan-era figure. More Christian right than meandering, narcissistic fascism. The revolutionary movement grew out of the Occupy movement and it does feel real enough, but the Calvinistic, ‘chosen ones’ nature of the people who will escape to the new world (better world, they call it) is disquieting. There’s a single mention that they are not actually moving in place, but in time (to the future? the past?).

Our heroine fends off the evil queen (actually, she gets a three year truce), but quite clearly releases some more horrible evil into the world, so there’s that. I’ll check the library to see if they have the third book available.

 

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