Hi everyone and welcome to my stop for “The Ikessar Falcon” blog tour! A huge thank you to Shealea at Caffeine Book Tours for this opportunity. Ever since I shifted to reading more diverse books and supporting diverse authors last year, I’ve also focused on reading and supporting more Filipino authors. As a Filipino American, I want to do my part in helping more Filipino voices and stories be heard and one of the ways I thought I could do that was by finally reading an adult fantasy series written by a Filipino Canadian author that I keep seeing online and heard receive a lot of high praise. I’ll have my review for the first book up soon, but today I will be sharing my thoughts on its sequel.
Title: The Ikessar Falcon
Series: Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #2
Author: K.S. Villoso
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pub. Date: Sept. 22, 2020
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Format Read: ARC
The spiral to madness begins with a single push.
Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worst 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 impossible horrors that unearth the nation’s true troubles – 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 of failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.
I received an ARC from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours to participate in this blog tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Trigger/Content Warnings: violence, death, violent threats
This series has seriously blown me away; I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’d never read an adult fantasy novel prior to starting this series but I’m thoroughly enjoying myself reading the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen. Despite my frustrations with her in the first book, I’ve come to really admire Tali. She’s a really interesting character because she’s so incredibly flawed and her actions as queen frequently contradict who she is as a woman, which didn’t make sense and bothered me at first, but now I can’t help but admire her for it. I love how she can be fierce and ruthless but is also a bit of a softie inside. I really enjoyed Tali’s character arc in the second book because it focuses more on her journey to figuring out and deciding who she wants to be, whereas in the first book was more about her flaws and downfall.
K.S. Villoso’s writing is so entertaining and compelling. She has a way of describing setting and writing Tali’s voice so vividly that I hardly ever have any trouble picturing what’s going on in the plot. Oh and speaking of the plot, wow. I won’t go too into detail because this is a book you need to read and experience for yourself, but there is a little bit of everything for everyone in this series: political intrigue, thrilling battles, touching and heartwarming moments, hilarious scenes, and dragons! Villoso also does an amazing job at writing flawed and messy characters, and complicated relationships – I found my mind spinning at times placing the puzzle pieces together, but I had such a fun time doing it. I also need to mention the incredible world-building that is in this book. I’d never read a fantasy book that incorporates so much Filipino culture into its pages and I’m finding that that’s a total shame. Not only is it so validating and thrilling to recognize bits of my own culture within the pages of a fantasy story, but its also made me even more motivated to learn more about Filipino culture. I’ve lived in the US since I was a young child so I was never taught any Philippines history, so I’m sure there’s a lot more references and hints of Filipino culture that I’m not noticing, but that only makes me want to learn.
My only main criticism for this book is the pacing of some parts were too slow. I appreciate breaks from all the action and near-death experiences Tali goes through, but there were parts where I wish she’d get out of her head already and move along. I had the same issue with the first book, too. Ooh, also I wouldn’t have minded more romance but that’s more of a personal preference of the romantic in me, haha.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this continuation of the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen and I’d go as far to say that I like the second book more than the first. I highly recommend this series if you’re looking for a character-driven adult fantasy that has a fierce heroine, incredible world-building, complicated relationships and characters, and that will leave you craving for the next installment at the end!
All quotes used are from an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) and are subject to change in final publication.
We cling to what is broken when we have no choice. Even love that tastes like poison, that presses like a blade on your throat, is better than gaping emptiness.
Ignorance can be the sweetest sin.
Somewhere in my memories, I remembered my father telling me that life wasn’t fair; that for everything you were ever given, somebody paid a price.
But it is difficult to grasp the weight of our own actions, to make sense of the ripples our every decision makes. It is why we hurt and continue to get hurt; how we can plunge a knife int o someone, wash the blood off, and pretend it didn’t happen.
Some are born with the power to turn the tide even before they realize what they are doing. Others…aren’t. Some of us have to fight to make a difference from the moment we are born.
Here are my bookstagram photos for the Instagram portion of this blog tour. 🙂
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.
Join us as the blog tour continues by checking out the schedule here! Also, follow along and join the discussion with the hashtag #DethroneTheDragonlord
Have you read, or at least heard of the Chronices of the Bitch Queen by K.S. Villoso before? Are you planning to read it now? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time!