“But perfection is onlyl for the gods. We have to keep going even if all we have left are pieces of what we thought we were.”
Author: K.S. Villoso
Category: High Fantasy
Publication Date: June 19th, 2018
Series: Annals of the Bitch Queen #2
A review copy was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
With every book she writes, Villoso’s stories just keep getting better and better.
To recap the story so far just a little bit, the Annals of the Bitch Queen is about Queen Taliyen of Jin-Sayeng whose husband abandoned her the night before their coronation and since has struggled to maintain order in a very fractured nation. The first book in the series, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, was focused on Taliyen trying to find and reconnect with her husband, Rayyel, not only because she still cares for him but also because their union was supposed to represent unity in Jin-Sayeng.
The Ikessar Falcon picks up a few months after the events of that first book and both the scope and strength of the storytelling has grown exponentially in this second volume.
In Oren-Yaro it sometimes felt like Talyien was the ultimate damsel in distress and just sort of drifted from one crisis to the next, this book sees Talyien trying desperately to break away from that, trying to stand on her own strength to protect her son and herself.
For her entire life she thought of her self as “Warlord Yeshin’s daughter” and now she is is realizing that that isn’t quite who she is. It is a part of her but not the whole and she isn’t quite sure what makes up the rest. I greatly enjoyed watching her begin to transform from a lady that happens to have a crown on her head (metaphorically speaking) to true queen. I don’t think she is quite there yet but the transformation and discovery of her own inner strength is well under way.
Also in this book, relationships that were introduced in the first one really began to solidify here. I did start to notice that it seemed sometimes like every single male in this story wanted to marry or run away with Tali. Which kind of made me roll my eyes a little bit but I felt better about it when it got the point where even Tali was like “oh no, not again” because at least there was some self-awareness that it was getting a bit crowded in there.
As for the story, it grew so much that I never saw it coming. It went from a smaller scope story about a woman who just wants her husband back to this full scale high fantasy story where everything is crashing down around her, a story about finding your inner self while also trying desperately to stop a nation from either devolving into civil war or being taken over by a foreign power. And there were some references to The Agartes Epilogues that made me a teensy bit giddy to see because I got that reference!
And then those last couple chapters had me all…
…for multiple reasons. One to do with the one thing that Talyien has been struggling for for the entirety of this book and another in reference to my feelings for Rayyel that I think I ranted about in my review for the first book.
Speaking of, one of the characters that got a lot more attention in this book was Rayyel. And I just want to say that while I understand him a little better, I still want to punch him more than any other character in this series. Agos might be a close second now. Khine though… ♥ But I don’t actually see that ending well in the last book so I am fully prepared to have my heart broken.
Seriously, if you haven’t started with Villoso’s work yet, go get started on The Wolf of Oren-Yaro and this one. Then once you need another fix of this world, you’ve got The Agartes Epilogues while we wait for The Xiaran Mongrel to come out!