Almost the end of the year, and I resolved to read this one before the new year arrived. What do you mean making resolutions before the new year isn’t how it works? >.> I DO WHAT I WANT! *bitch queen*
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. 🙂
Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Talyien aren dar Orenar’s life unfolded like a storybook. The shining jewel and legacy of the War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart, her marriage to the Ikessar heir, Rayyel, spoke of peaceful days to come.
But all storybooks must end. Rayyel suddenly left the night before they were to be crowned, leaving the land as divided as before.
Years later, in the midst of the warlords’ rising tensions, Talyien receives a message from Rayyel, urging her to meet with him in the Empire of Ziri-nar-Orxiaro. An assassination attempt interrupts Talyien’s quest for reconciliation, sending the queen struggling in a strange and dangerous land. With betrayals in every twist and turn, she is forced to enlist the help of a con-artist to survive and save her husband from the clutches of those who would seek to use him for their gain…if he would let her.
The reality of ruling is complex, made even more so when you have a nation like mine, with empty coffers and people who hated each other behind polite words and empty smiles.
This book follows the exploits of Talyien, the Queen of Jin-Sayeng, which is a rather small nation with several factions who all seem to hate each other. The warlords of two rival factions decided to marry their kids to each other and set them to rule together to end hostilities. So, Talyien of Oren-yaro married Rayyel of Ikessar, and just as the coronation was set to go ahead… he left her to rule alone.
Five years later, he’s called her to a meeting to discuss who should rule which parts of the lands in a neutral city across the sea. When she gets there, an assassination attempt sends the meeting into turmoil and she finds herself alone and lost in the city. She meets a con-artist, who seems to want to help her, and is usually there whenever she finds herself in trouble. When she gets word that Rayyel is being held hostage, she vows to free him, and our adventure begins.
This one started out a little slowly for me, and I didn’t find myself really immersed in the story until I’d been reading it for a little while. But then, dear gods this one was hard to put down. I had to know what would happen to Tali next, who else could possibly betray her… and hope for things. Oh, sweet, sweet things….
Tali is a great character. You expect her to be… harsher than she is. She’s known for decapitating people who displease her, after all, and she really is called the bitch queen. She can be harsh, yes, but it’s one of many layers that make up her character. Khine is also a really fantastic character, who I latched onto and hoped and hoped wouldn’t give me a reason to regret that as the story progressed. This is my first foray into the works of K.S. Villoso, but I am told that one must be wary of pretty much everyone. I went into this one guarding my feels. I had full-feels-shields-up. Feels-yellow-alert. Other star-trek-referencing-feels-protection-directives.
This is quite a well written book, which was very hard to put down. The world and the cities that Tali visits were well described and easy for me to visualize. There’s this sort of corrupt city full of gambling dens and brothels and skeevy rich men, and then another city, very downtrodden behind the scenes and ruled by someone very easy to hate. One thing I noticed is that food is really well described in this book, and more than anything else, that made me hungry. 🍜 You have no idea who to trust in this book. As I said, I guarded my feelings well, but still put out tendrils of trust in some people, but goddamn this was a harrowing story of ups and downs and twists and turns.
All told, I really liked it. I look forward to more in the series! Also, I really need to know WTF happens. Christ.