Blog Tour · English Review/Post

The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng – Review with favourite quotes

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen my 5am tweet were I realized that this series is my all time favourite. Ever! I don’t think I’ve ever had one book or series that I could confidently say was my favourite. It’s always been a list of books, but this tops them all!

So a massive thank you to Shealea @ CaffeineTours for including me in the blog tour for the last book in the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen series and thank you to K.S. Villoso and Orbit for an early copy of the paperback! *
*Twitter links, other links are below

Header (Dragon of Jin-Sayeng)

Before we get into the details, synopsis and my thoughts a little tip. I’ve had the chance to ask Kay herself what we need to have handy while reading the book and the advice is as follows: tissues, chocolate and a shoulder to cry on. You’ve been warned!

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Title: The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng
Series: The Chronicles of the Bitch Queen

Author: K.S. Villoso

Published: May 6th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: Adult

Length: 640 pages

Cover artist: Simon Goinard

Diversity: authors of color (filipino author), poc representation (filipino characters)

Content Warnings
  • Ableistic language (not direct, relayed from Yeshin)
  • Death
  • Cutting of Limbs
  • Violence Against Children
  • Threatening Child
  • Described Blood
  • Animal Cruelty
  • Misogyny
  • Rape (off screen)
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Lifechanging Injury
  • Execution
  • Torture
  • Mutilation of Corpses
  • Gore
  • Probably decapitation (it’s Tali after all)

Synopsis red

The stunning finale to the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen trilogy where the queen of a divided land must unite her people against the enemies who threaten to tear her country apart. K. S. Villoso is a “powerful new voice in fantasy.” (Kameron Hurley)

Queen Talyien is finally home, but dangers she never imagined await her in the shadowed halls of her father’s castle.

War is on the horizon. Her son has been stolen from her, her warlords despise her, and across the sea, a cursed prince threatens her nation with invasion in order to win her hand.

Worse yet, her father’s ancient secrets are dangerous enough to bring Jin Sayeng to ruin. Dark magic tears rifts in the sky, preparing to rain down madness, chaos, and the possibility of setting her nation aflame.

Bearing the brunt of the past and uncertain about her future, Talyien will need to decide between fleeing her shadows or embracing them before the whole world becomes an inferno.

My Thoughts red

Is anyone surprised by me loving this book? I’m devasted the series is over.

BUT there is one big problem with The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng …
… and that is, that it’s incredibly hard or rather impossible to write a review that does this phenomenal book any justice. I’ll try my very best though.

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I’ve seldom read a series that is this consistent throughout. There is never a dull moment (although poor Tali could probably do with a little reprieve from time to time). We start right after the events of The Ikessar Falcon, with Tali finally coming home only to be made prisoner. She is right in the middle of some schemes that started way before she was born and she has to find a way to become herself, not only Queen Talyien and not only Yeshin’s daughter. And still fighting for her nation and her son.

“You’re just human, Tali […] Queen or not, you have to forgive yourself for it”

-K.S. Villoso – The Dragon on Jin-Sayeng

Yeshin is so present in this book, despite being long dead. He is in Tali’s head, he is in the choices everyone around her makes, he is everywhere, he is inescapable. One reason why I love the Bitch Queen Chronicles so much is that this series asks questions. Can we take our future into our own hands when everything seems to be already set in stone? Do we follow the path our parents set out in front of us? What do we have to endure for the greater good? Tali especially struggles with this not only for her own but also for her son Thanh. She wishes that he is free of all her shackles, that he can be only a boy, not an heir, that he can marry for love not for politics. But she seems to be the only one who sees the boy in Thanh instead of a future Dragonlord.

[…] a part of me always knew that the truth could be as complex as a shaft of light through a cut gem. Turn it, view it from another angle, and it shifts. Sometimes it is telling, a burst of clarity on a dark streak, brightness to chase away shadows. Sometimes it is blinding.

-K.S. Villoso – The Dragon on Jin-Sayeng

Every action Tali takes has consequences, everything she does seems to hurt the people she loves or the people that love her. And she can’t escape. Her feeling of being trapped, literally (by her own people) or figuratively, is so vivid, you can feel it in your bones while reading. Your heart, no your whole body aches for Tali.

I’ve said this in my reviews for the previous two books already but it deserves mention again. What pushed K.S. Villoso’s writing and her stories to the top are her characters! They aren’t good or evil. They just are so real and flawed. And I especially love how introspective the series is. We truly get to see into Queen Talyien, see her thoughts, her doubts and her hopes. It only makes everything cut so much deeper.

Another character who is just incredibly intriguing is Khine. And I adore how he is with Tali. He understands her, when to give her room and doesn’t let her push him away. As he lets her do what she thinks she has to, he does what he has to as well. I loved how he changed so much throughout the series, and yet, somehow stayed the same.

Tali and Khnie both have to make some truly horrible decisions, take terrible actions and face themselves and the consequences. I loved seeing all this through Tali’s eyes. We see who she hurts with her actions, the poor and marginalised, but we also see how much she bleeds for her country and what she is willing to do to save it. The exploration of this throughout the trilogy, but especially in this final installment is perfectly done.

“She didn’t do it to be remembered.
She did it to be forgotten.”

-K.S. Villoso – The Dragon on Jin-Sayeng

It’s 100% a character-driven story but don’t fear, there is enough action. Villoso does a fanatstic job of combining the introspection with the action. It’s absolutely seamless and gives the story so much more depth. There is always another twist coming, another betrayal, another enemy, another struggle. But there is no drama for drama’s sake … you get the sense that everything happened organically this way, it couldn’t have happened differently with these characters in this country.

I am a big fan of politics in fantasy books and it was so interesting to finally get to know even more about Jin-Sayeng after traveling throughout most of the other two books. The big cast of characters is so well done and I never was confused as to who is who like it sometimes happens in epic fantasy. They all bring the story together and make this story so real. The world is so vivid, the descriptions so well done that I could see and feel the world around me while reading. It never gets boring as there is always more to explore. Everything just comes together perfectly.

“I can close my eyes and pretend I don’t sit on a throne of skulls, but I cannot change the truth of what I am and what brought me to this world.”

-K.S. Villoso – The Dragon on Jin-Sayeng

The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng is truly a masterful finale to a phenomenal trilogy. With intriguing, flawed characters that have to make difficult choices in a world that seems to work against them. Queen Talyien has to carve a path different from what her father already set in motion long before her birth and fight against friends and enemies to help her son, her nation and herself.

This trilogy incorporates so many important themes such as family, different kinds of loyalty, friendship, love and motherhood and the consequences our choices have. In a world on the brink of chaos (or already in the midst of it). It’s about power and how those in power shape the world around them. It’s about monsters, and humans and the monstrosities humans can do. And it’s about intent and impact.

I truly cannot describe to you all how much I love this finale, this series. It means the world to me and words just can’t describe how good it is! I’m heartbroken that this series is now over and I’m still reeling from all the chaos and I’m not sure I will recover or if this book has ruined me forever.

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“There are no right or wrong answers. We make choices and then we simply … live with the cost.”

-K.S. Villoso – The Dragon on Jin-Sayeng

Author Bio redAuthor photo (K.S. Villoso)
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.

Website // Goodreads // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter

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Please check out the rest of the amazing bloggers involved in the blog tour over the next two weeks! You can find the full schedule here!

Love, El red

2 thoughts on “The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng – Review with favourite quotes

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