The Ikessar Falcon (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #2) by KS Villoso

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Fantastic setting, great characters.  Dragons

IkessarThe Ikessar Falcon is a book that I was eager to read.  As it happens I picked this one up when I was having a little bit of a reading low and although I probably read 40% I decided to stop and return to it at a later date.  That is probably one of my better decisions because I started this book again from the beginning, I part read and part listened to it and in fairly short order I was immersed in the world and caught up with the drama surrounding the characters.

Where in the first book Queen Talyien left her home to try and make reparations with her estranged husband and found herself at the centre of a very tangled web, this second book follows her struggles as she tries to return to the son she left behind, desperate to keep him safe.  Now obviously, I’ve over simplified that – a lot – but, if we leave all the titles, the back stabbing and the politics behind this is about a woman desperately trying to return to her child to save him from imminent threat – and the fact that many people are about to stand in her way and try to make the journey impossible.

Two stand out elements to this book.

Firstly the characters are all strongly written.  There is such a depth of emotion with this book. we see Tali revisiting events from her childhood that really demonstrate the relationship she had with her father.  We also gain insight into her relationship with Rayyel and look at events from both perspectives.  It’s fascinating watching Tali struggle with who she is and what she’s done in the past that has led to her current path.  She veers from guilt over her previous actions, to desire to change her life to resorting to who everyone expects her to be when conflict arises.  She is without doubt a fascinating, frustrating and compelling character.  I admit that I went at times from feeling exhilarated by her lack of caution as she flings herself recklessly into dangerous situations to despair as she revisits old ‘mistakes’.

Secondly, the world building.  Tali encounters a lot of obstructions along the way.  This isn’t an easy journey, rife with people who want to use Tali for their own advancement, I was fascinated by the blood magic, in awe of the imagination and of course wowed by the dragons – which I’m not going to spoil here – but they come with some amazing surprises of their own.  Also, I suggest you keep snacks on hand when reading this one – lots of lush descriptions of delicious sounding food.

This is a well written, deep and emotional read.  It has plenty to entertain and yet doesn’t balk at taking a good strong look at the characters and digging below the surface level to explore who they really are.

In terms of criticisms, I don’t really have much to be honest.  I mean, this is a long book – but it doesn’t feel long because there is plenty to keep you entertained.  I think my biggest issue relates more to Tali and the fact that she reacts impulsively and doesn’t always make the wisest choices – but then she’s human, she makes mistakes.

Overall, this is an excellent second in series that leaves me very eager to pick up the third book (although I would like to wait for the audio so I can both read and listen again – I definitely recommend both versions)

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Wolf of Oren-yaro (Annals of the Bitch Queen #1) by K.S. Villoso

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Wolf of Oren-yaro (Annals of the Bitch Queen #1) by K.S. Villoso.  What can I say – I want this book!  That is all.

The wolf ofA queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves, which nearly tore her nation apart. But her arranged marriage with the son of a rival clan should herald peaceful days to come.

However, her fiancé’s sudden departure before their reign begins puts a quick end to those dreams, and the kingdom is fractured beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, one that will send her across the sea. What’s meant to be an effort at reconciling the past becomes an assassination attempt. Stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with no idea whom she can trust, Talyien will have to embrace her namesake.

A wolf of Oren-yaro is not tamed.

Publication date: February 2020