Title: The Ikessar Falcon
Author: K.S. Villoso
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication date: 24 September 2020
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.
There is no doubt that K.S. Villoso is a very talented storyteller. When I first dived into her book, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, I did not expect a book that was full of political intrigue, constant tension in the plot, and such well rounded characters. The Wolf of Oren-Yaro was one of my favorite reads of 2019. And so, being part of the Ikkesar Falcon’s blog tour hosted by Caffeine Tours is such a great honor once again. My heart-felt thanks to Shealea of Caffeine Tours for having me host once again! I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour, but this does not affect my opinions and review of the book.
We pick up the story from where Queen Talyien is stranded and abandoned in a city that is determined to hold her hostage. She must find a way to make it back to Jin-Sayeng to save her son from the father that threatens his life, and to seize control of her kingdom. On this risky journey, she has different realizations and eye-opening revelations about herself, her people, and her nation.
The second installment to the Bitch Queen Chronicles allows us a further look into the lush and vivid world that Villoso painted so well. If you’ve read The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, you know exactly what I mean but on The Ikkesar Falcon, we manage to see more of this world inspired by Southeast Asia. We are introduced to places in Jin-Sayeng that we haven’t seen, and as always, the author did such a fantastic job of a strong establishment of this world. Just like the Philippines, Jin-Sayeng has many districts or provinces which has different customs and practices from each other and I love seeing the distinctions and differences, even from the simple things such as celebrations, gatherings, and honoring guests. From customs such as sharing meals to describing how a place differs from each district in Jin-Sayeng, I marveled at this rich world from Villoso.
A highly character-driven novel, there were many things I liked and disliked this time around. If you know me well enough, I highly dislike and don’t tolerate cheating of any form or kind in books, movies, series, real life, etc. Non-negotiable. So, when we get more details of Rayyel and Tali’s relationship, I found myself feeling so sour about this book. And, I really hated how Tali was constantly deflecting or defending her choices, which just really made me angry a lot of the time. Despite that, we see different sides and character development for Talyien, that made me feel things, some I’m excited for, some I can’t condone. I also got my wish to learn more about Rayyel, it was interesting learning about him through Tali’s eyes, as well as Agos and Khine. Khine was absolutely lovely, I was really excited to get to know him better and see where his character is heading towards. With how things ended in the Ikkesar Falcon, I’m totally rooting for him for the third installment.
One thing that I really commend about Villoso is her penchant for writing high-tension scenes. This book was 600-pages of tension and unpredictability. If I was expecting something, I was completely caught off-guard and was served a different plate instead. The author is very talented when it comes unveiling twist after twist, and obstacle after obstacle. This is a heavy and exhausting book to read but very exhilarating and satisfying too. By the time I got near the end, something transpired that just made me drop my kindle and stare at it from where I was sitting and whisper under my breath how I’m never going to get over Talyien’s decisions in life.
As always, a big kudos to K.S. Villoso on a marvelous epic fantasy. The second installment to the Bitch Queen Chronicles is full of tension, unraveling histories, bad decisions upon bad decisions, and a big chunk of determination. The decision to rate this a 4-stars is because of my personal qualms about cheating and Talyien’s choices in life, otherwise I really loved everything else about the book. I’m looking forward to how Villoso will deliver Tayien’s story to an end. And if Khine doesn’t get the ending he deserves, I’m cutting a bitch.
Follow The Tour!
Thanks to Caffeine Tours for organizing The Ikkesar Falcon blog tour! Check out the launch post here! And to follow the rest of the tour, you can see the reviews from my fellow hosts below.
Schedule: Week 1 (INTL)
Schedule: Week 2 (PH)
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.