As the title suggests, I’m are here for my stop for the INTL #HAILTHEBITCHQUEEN BLOG TOUR, hosted by the amazing Caffeine Book Tours. Make sure to check out their Twitter and this thread to follow along with the tour! I’m sorry that this goes up a little late, but life has been a bit chaotic lately.
Thanks so much for including me in this Blog Tour and for the e-ARC of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro to Shealea (LINK) and K.S. Villoso and the publisher Orbit. This doesn’t affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Title: The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
Author: K.S. Villoso
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication date: 18 February 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
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.
This book is absolutely phenomenal! I fell in love after reading the first sentence and I loved every sentence after that.
It feels like Talyien is telling you the story which creates a really comfortable yet exciting atmosphere. It’s been a while since I could get to utterly lost in a story and forget the world around me and I love this book even more because of it!
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is a character-driven epic fantasy with a rich and lush world. K.S. Villosos attention to detail was amazing and made it incredibly easy to imagine the streets, markets, the food and the people. I’m a huge fan of world-building and I definitely got all I could wish for.
The way the different cultures, their people and the animosity between them, founded in their history with each other, the small customs in which they differ from each other and that make Talyien stand out … Incredible!
Queen Talyien is such a cool main character and it’s so intriguing to follow her through her journey, to know her thoughts and doubts. Her character development was on point. I loved the way we slowly get to know more and more about what happened 5 years ago. And speaking of 5 years ago … I found it so refreshing that we start at a point were no other books I’ve read would start. Talyien isn’t a little girl anymore. She is an adult, is married and has a 7-year-old son. And she is a Queen.
The way we get flashbacks or simple quotes that reveal how her father was, the way he raised her and how that has influenced her was ingenious.
As well as the little scenes of how she met Rayyel, how their relationship progressed. It shows us how lonely she is and if you haven’t felt for her before, you definitely will after reading those scenes.
I love her determination about doing what she needs to, her understanding of what it means to be Queen, especially in Jin-Sayeng, a fractured country after the brutal war her father caused. She is aware of what her role is, how other people judge her. She has so many layers! And full of contradictions: naive and knowledgeable, fierce and vulnerable, insecure and full of pride, trusting and suspicious. And I love how she slowly learns more about life, about life without the privileges she had growing up as a Princess but also the freedom that can come with being someone else.
I want to say so much more about her but I don’t want to spoil you!
The other characters are just as distinct and most of them aren’t likeable at all! Khine though is a darling and I love him. But even more, I love Talyien’s answers to his questions. Their interactions are pure gold! I marked so many of them!
I’m not gonna say anything about Rayyel because I think it’S best you discover everything about him on your own!
This is a character-driven story but the plot is still fast-paced and very intriguing. There were some twists and turns I didn’t expect and it was amazing following Talyien on her journey.
The world in The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is heavily inspired by Filipino culture and I loved that aspect. There were a lot of small things included that bring this setting to life, like the custom to eat with one’s hand, the names of the food and much more.
But she also expertly wove in things as clan warfare or issues like classism and bigotry.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is a mesmerizing story of an ambitious Queen that has to stand tall despite all that stands against her. She is fierce, graceful, resourceful and ruthless. Watch her rise with the challenges. #HailtheBitchQueen
These are some of my fav quotes (I wanted to post so many more but a lot of them are spoilers so you have to live without their excellency until you read the book ^^
Most of the quotes I used already give a better picture of who Talyien is. Enjoy!
“It was such a bald-faced move; put me in a situation, where I could not do anything but create trouble. Throw the wolf into a sea of sick deer — whatever will she do?
“Unfaltering, dutiful, and loyal to a fault–these tenets are why the rest of Jin-Sayeng have labelled out people wolves of Oren-Yaro, a term that started as an insult. […] But far from taking offence, we decided to adopt the title, bestowing the name wolf of Oren-Yaro on all who fall under the shadow of our province. As a people, we embrace these tenets, regardless of clan, regardless of caste, setting us apart from the rest of Jin-Sayeng. It has created a unity never before seen in these lands. We know it. The others know it. It is why the Oren-Yaro are as feared as they are revered; the strength of our resolution has toppled realms.’
“I think I understand you,” I said. I also thought I wanted to hit him in the face, but not everybody appreciated knowing that.”
“Pork bone stew sounds excellent,” I said. “Rayyel could use a spine.”
“And he loved books. So, so much. You ever wanted to jab someone in the eye with a finger just because he would rather read than pay attention to you?” I saw [his] eyes dance towards the bookshelf, with his own little collection of books. “The bastard,” he said after a moment.
“I’ve never known a life outside of politics.”
“Besides, what would killing him do? I could be stuck in the room with a decaying body, which wouldn’t improve the situation any.”
“He grinned. “One can’t be too careful these days. I’ve been knifed by women before”.
I nodded, as if this was a perfectly normal conversation. “Were you, perhaps, being inappropriate?”
“Gods, no! There’s just some very violent people in these parts.”
“You did not fail your husband. He was the one who erred.”
“It doesn’t change who I am and what I have to do.”
“No. I suppose not.”
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.