We got the first book in the series, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, back in February and the sequel will be out in a month! Can you imagine how rare a treat that is for fantasy readers? The story of the first book is still clear in my mind as I read The Ikessar Falcon and I’m thrilled to back in this world again! If you haven’t picked up this series yet, this is one special reason why you should consider reading it. Read on to find 5 more reasons to spend your precious coin on this series and this book in particular.
Reason #1: Skilfully crafted characters
At the end of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, we solve the mystery of what happened between Rayyel and Talyien and the characters are now dealing with the repercussions of that revelation. We see Tali’s internal monologue as she reflects on her choices in the past. This shows how much she has grown from the first book and how those events have changed her perspective.
The layers of every character are peeled back some more in the sequel and new sides of some familiar characters are revealed. Villoso also spends time in fleshing out her antagonists and showing the reader how every single character is flawed in different ways. In real life, there are no clear good and bad guys and I personally love stories that reflect that.
K. S. Villoso is known to write character-driven epic fantasy books and this is another example of her skill. More than the plot, I’m invested in the characters and how they cope with everything that’s thrown at them. If you also enjoy such stories, this series should definitely be on your TBR.
Reason #2: High-stakes plot
While the previous book also had a fast-paced plot, the stakes are higher in the sequel and there is never a dull moment. I’ve come across several series where the second book suffers from middle book syndrome but not this one. I love books that have me on the edge of my seat unable to put the book down and this fits the bill perfectly.
The way the first book ended will have you begging for the second book immediately and it picks up right where the previous one leaves off. Things get going from the second chapter itself. The plot works seamlessly with the themes and character arcs in the story.
The scope also has been expanded in this book where Tali’s empire and position are at stake. There is no reprieve as the plot forces the characters out of their comfort zones, often painfully. As with most adult fantasies, it is brutal and relentless, so definitely be prepared for an intense ride.
Reason #3: Expansive world-building
Give me any book that has a travel or quest aspect and I’m a happy reader. As Queen Talyien makes her perilous journey back to Jin-Sayeng, we get to see more of the world that was hinted at in the first book closely. This was not only a logical choice for the plot but also a clever way to show off the world to the reader.
Villoso unveils a rich world that we had never seen before to the readers in this book. A multitude of places and cultures are explored with subtle differences in their customs and ways. Throughout the journey, Talyien understands the people she’s supposed to be leading better.
There’s a healthy mention of food, just like the first book, so that’s an added bonus. We also get to see some magical creatures and more of the mysterious magic system we were introduced to in The Wolf of Oren-Yaro. I think the author has done a fantastic job of giving us more of everything in this sequel.
Reason #4: Political intrigue
The first book teases a larger plot to come in the sequel and this book delivers on that promises. We are plunged into a dark and dangerous world from the very beginning. Tali has to fight not only physically but is forced to consolidate her political power as she journeys home.
Any good story with royals and power struggles involves scheming and betrayal, which adds to the tension and stakes. As we grasp more of each character’s motivations, we also uncover where their loyalties lie and what they are capable of. Tali is once again put through the wringer to defend herself and everything she loves.
This book also gives us glimpses of the past through flashbacks from Tali’s point of view, which provide more context to the events of the present timeline. Her father, Lord Yeshin, was a powerful and ruthless man and we slowly discover the legacy he has left behind for her to fill. Villoso strikes the perfect balance between informing us more about characters, furthering the plot and expanding the world without dropping the pace.
Reason #5: Feminist themes
With a character like Queen Talyien who is a ruler, a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend, this series has very obvious feminist themes. She is the epitome of the strong female character who is fierce in her actions and possesses remarkable inner strength. However, it does a very good job of showing the various facets and intersections of feminism throughout the story.
We see how the patriarchy cripples her power and influence while favouring her husband, Rayyel. The reader gets to share Tali’s frustrations as she tries to mould herself into the daughter her father always wanted but is thwarted by her gentler nature. She tries very hard to be what others expect of her and through rejecting that, we see her gain confidence and grow comfortable in showing what she’s truly like.
A side character we get to see more of in the sequel is the captain of her guard, Nor. There are more action sequences with both Tali and Nor, which is a delight to read. If you love your fantasy with a side of feminism, this series has it in spades.
The Ikessar Falcon Blog Tour Information
About the Book
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.
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.
Have you read The Wolf of Oren Yaro? Do you enjoy character-driven stories? Do you have any more adult fantasy recommendations by authors of colour for me? Let me know in the comments section down below. Hope you are having a magical week, readers from Earth!