I have recently talked about The Wolf of Oren-Yaro on my blog because I read it last month for Wikathon. K.S. Villoso’s epic fantasy book stood out to me because of its clever world-building and intriguing plot. Now I’m proud to be a part of the blog tour for its sequel! Thank you so much to Caffeine Book Tours for choosing me to be a part of this blog tour alongside a lot of amazing Filipino and international content creators. Joining this tour strengthened my resolve to #DethroneTheDragonlord. I mean, Rayyel is not all bad but he’s still an asshole so he can choke ❤
Anyway, I’m not here just to attack Rayyel. For my tour stop, I will be giving you five reasons why you should read The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso! Buckle up and find out why I loved this book. Here’s hoping that my ramblings will encourage you to read it as well. You will not regret it.
The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso
Release date: September 24, 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
The Bitch Queen returns in The Ikessar Falcon, the action-packed sequel to K. S. Villoso’s acclaimed fantasy debut, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro.
Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worse as she stumbles upon a plot deeper and more sinister than she could have ever imagined, one that will displace her king and see her son dead. The road home beckons, strewn with a tangled web of deceit and unimaginable horrors – creatures from the dark, mad dragons and men with hearts hungry for power.
To save her land, Talyien must confront the myth others have built around her: Warlord Yeshin’s daughter, symbol of peace, warrior and queen and everything she could never be.
The price for failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.
Content/trigger warnings:sex, gore, death, graphic violence, mentions of rape, threats of abuse and molestation, thoughts of suicide, mentions of cheating in the past, slut shaming
Thank you to Orbit Books and Caffeine Book Tours for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Quotes used in this review are from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change.
1. It offers a new perspective to the struggles of a queen
I have never read another book that gives so much depth to the life of a female ruler aside from this. In The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, we got to see Queen Talyien’s difficult struggles as she was swept away from one dire situation to another while grappling with her authority as a queen. This sequel gives a more in-depth look to Talyien’s life and feelings which I appreciate so much.
You see, this series not only shows Talyien’s struggle of being a queen. She’s more than just her title. She’s a daughter haunted by her father’s bloody legacy. She’s a wife yearning for the love of a husband who abandoned her. She’s a woman fighting to keep her chin up despite all the insults and rumors thrown at her. Most of all, Talyien is a mother who only wants to be with her child and make him happy. She’s willing to burn the world to make that happen.
My son was neither wolf nor falcon; he was sunlight, the kind that couldn’t exist in darkness. I had to protect him, I had to be by his side.
In The Ikessar Falcon, Talyien faces more obstacles but she’s willing to fight to the death just to reach his son in time and save him. She also gets to confront her feelings and her past in this book. Because this is written in first person, my reading experience felt even more raw and intimate. There’s a lot of well-written character development here as well.
I just…FEEL SO MUCH FOR TALYIEN, OKAY? While reading this book, my heart screamed a lot of times because I just want her to rest and be happy with her son. I wanted to reach in and hug her. I wanted to pick up a sword as well and fight all her enemies. She deserves better. MY QUEEN NEEDS A BREAK 😭
Not even a queen can live with the reassurance that her life will be of value. If my father had been alive, he would have never understood how his precious daughter is nothing but the sum of her mistakes.
2. It makes both your heart and your brain race
By the time I finished this book, my brain and heart were exhausted. The stakes are higher in The Ikessar Falcon. My brain kept turning its gears while reading because I kept thinking, “are these new characters going to betray the queen? what’s going to happen next? should i stab them myself?”
After reading book one, it’s no surprise that I have trust issues with all the characters. Excluding Khine, of course. He’s the only one who deserves rights. Rayyel can choke on his own spit (i keep saying this because he deserves it) ❤️
And yes, there are a lot of precious Talyien/Khine moments in this book that made my heart soar. There are also moments that broke me but I will not elaborate any further. You need to read the book to find out. Here’s a Tali/Khine tease though:
Khine grabbed hold of my bloodied hand and placed it over his heart. I didn’t pull away immediately. I stared at it, aware only of his heartbeat underneath my fingers and the warmth coming from his own. I felt like I wanted to hack my arm off so I could leave my hand there while the rest of me drifted away.
The political subplot also made me think a lot. The Ikessar Falcon touches more on Jin-Sayeng politics and it was very interesting to read about the tumultuous relationship of the Warlords and the Dragonlords. I’m amazed by the detail, history, and structure of the politics in this world.
Outside of all these structures, our clans, our regions, we exist as people, don’t we? Forget these wolves, these falcons, civets, anchors, oxen…whatever images and words we use to give ourselves worth. Who we are, who we care for, that’s enough, isn’t it? Even if it doesn’t serve the nation?
3. You’re finally going to learn more about the mysterious magic system
K.S. Villoso is a true genius at world-building. Aside from the politics, the magic system was also given more detail in this book. In The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, the subject of mages and agan was only briefly discussed. In this sequel, you will find out about how agan really works, its origin, and the effect it has on people. I really enjoyed reading about this as well because I love discovering new systems of magic and solving the puzzle of its intricacies.
4. There are DRAGONS
This definitely deserves its own bullet point because DRAGONS. Villoso’s dragons are mad and brutal but I like how she discusses their myth and how important it is to the series as a whole. The dragons definitely get more page time in this book and the action in their scenes is legendary.
Something about the ease with which it moved filled me with envy. I wanted to be that dragon. I wanted to fly without a care in the world and not be my own awkward self, fumbling through life and my responsibilities and the expectations handed down to me by people who never once asked if I could live up to them.
The Ikessar Falcon truly is rife with action that will make your heart race. Aside from the dragons, Queen Tali and her crew encountered assassins, mages, and a healthy dose of betrayals that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Quite honestly, the only person I trusted in this book (aside from Queen Tali of course) was Khine.
5. There are a lot of Filipino references!!!
Every time K.S. Villoso mentions a Filipino reference, my heart overflows. I have said this before on some of my other reviews but it really means a lot to see my own culture portrayed so proudly on page. I appreciate the subtlety of the references and how they’re excellently woven into the story. I love how Queen Tali possesses a lot of Filipino traits. A lot of Oren-Yaro familial values are also very Filipino. Oren-Yaro politics even reminds me of the Philippine government (enter corrupt and squabbling leaders of the PH!!). Most of all, there’s a lot of Filipino food mentions. When Queen Tali eats food with her hands, I gain three more years in this life. There’s even a lechon appearance in this book! We love to see it 😌
We shed our exhaustion from the day’s journey with the feast. The roast pork was seasoned with salt, lemongrass, and garlic. Eaten with a dab of rice and eggplant, and it all but melted in my mouth in a sea of fat and crackling.
Thank you once again to Caffeine Book Tours for including me on this tour! This review doesn’t really encompass the greatness of this book so I hope that you’re going to read it and see for yourself just how good it is.
The Ikessar Falcon is an action-packed, emotional sequel to The Wolf of Oren-Yaro that gives more depth to our beloved bitch queen Talyien. It’s an epic fantasy that confronts the ugly truths of love and the role it plays in ruling a nation. I highly recommend this book (and this series) to bookdragons who are looking for adult fantasy reads that will make you feel things.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
Schedule: Week 1 (INTL)
Schedule: Week 2 (PH)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.