the wolf of oren-yaro – k. s. villoso | review

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso


Series: The Chronicles of Bitch Queen #1
Published February 18th 2020 by Orbit
Age Range: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Diversity: Filipino author; POC cast; Filipino-inspired

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

A 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.

“I murdered a man and made my husband leave 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 that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come.

But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.


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trigger and content warnings:
  • death, attempted murder, xenophobia, imprisonment, gore, mention and threats of rape, mention of suicide

as queen talyien is attempting to bring her husband back to jin-sayeng, after he had abandoned her three years ago, an assassination thwarted her plan. she faced multiple obstacles as a woman in a foreign land that isn’t familiar with her face. the plot thickened when new characters were introduced into the picture. the build-up to the climax was gradual and laid with great foundation. there was enough history between the characters and of the politics that nothing felt rushed.

the wolf of oren-yaro was a huge rollercoaster ride. the book is heavily inspired by filipino culture. k.s. villoso infuses her personal experience into this fantasy world and the characters. the author’s an incredibly skilful writer. even though the world-building was intense, k. s. villoso didn’t forgo character development. both the plot and character growth were well done. it kept me wanting more. i did find it hard to keep up with the timeline because of certain time jumps and when characters are travelling across vast lands to reach their destination. i have to say, that’s on me though, time jumps get lost on me often.

i still don’t know what to think of queen talyien. her flaws were clear as a cloudless day. talyien can be fierce and confident in one moment but her thinking and opinions can seem naive for someone who has been on the throne for five years. it feels as if she doesn’t know much about the political landscape in her own land. though she might be ruthlessly decapitating traitors and strongly upholds her “bitch queen” reputation, she’s actually soft-hearted. in the wolf of oren-yaro, we see her trying to become the ruler her father expects her to be, and failing epically.

You learn to swallow the fear long enough to get things done.

khine is my favorite. he’s a great person and an awesome brother. with him, talyein can be herself. not the queen, but the woman. i have my hopes up for the two of them to end up together, somehow someway. however, considering that they’re jumping straight into danger every single second, i have no idea what will happen next. i just liked how casual and comfortable they are with one another. for now, rayyel’s not worth the hassle. he seems a little spineless but the ending does explain some of his actions. i’m sure we’ll get to more in the ikessar falcon. yuebek’s a madman. PERIOD.

k.s. villoso has a compelling writing style. as the characters travel to different places, the author describes every province and city without huge information dumps. overall, the wolf of oren-yaro was pretty amazing. i got sucked into the world without any trouble. the portrayal of serious issues, such as xenophobia, racism, and classism, weren’t just told but the impacts of it were shown gradually. greatly looking forward to reading the ikessar falcon!

“Remind me,” I murmured, “why a single moment is enough to outweigh the rest. Why fickle tempers rule over steadfast hearts.”
“We listen only to what we want to hear,” Khine said.

4 thoughts on “the wolf of oren-yaro – k. s. villoso | review”

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