Review: The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso

35661274._sy475_I’ve been anticipating this one for a while, even despite having read it already. Rereading about Tali’s adventures as they’ve been published with Orbit has been a really fun ride.

Thanks to the author as well as Orbit for the review copy.

Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worse 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 unimaginable horrors – 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 for failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.

“You keep watch.”

Rai suddenly looked uncomfortable. “Perhaps it’s best if you do it.”

“By all the gods, Rai, you’ve had sword training. Stop shaming your ancestors and have a little confidence.”

The Ikessar Falcon is the continuing story of Talyien aren dar Orenar, the Queen of Jin-Sayeng. After the events of The Wolf of Oren-yaro, Tali is trapped across the sea in the Empire of Ziri-nar-Orxiaro, held there by an embargo placed by… well, someone who really doesn’t want her to leave. Tali is desperate to get back to Jin-Sayeng because her son’s life is in danger. So, she does everything that’s in her power to get home. And shenanigans are very much had.

Just as when I read it the first time, I enjoyed The Ikessar Falcon very much. Tali has really grown as a character and she continues to grow throughout the book. Characters that grew on me in book one are back, as are characters that I did not like so much. We see more of Tali’s estranged husband Rayyel in this one (as would be expected, considering he is the titular Ikessar Falcon). Khine and Agos are still around as well, being their most ridiculous selves. We see more action in this one, I found. Tali is fighting her enemies as well as new enemies closer to home, and the fighting has become a lot more physical than just words. Intrigue and political maneuvering are happening on both sides of the sea, and we go on a thrillride through it just as Tali does.

Then there are the dragons. Many dragons. Handle it, Tali.

This series is very character driven, and it has those characters you can’t help but love, and other characters that you can’t help but loathe. Most of all though, Villoso has crafted some of the most tense romantic tension between characters that I’ve ever read. It made this book very difficult to set aside to do things like eat, even despite the fact that I have read it before (that said, food is described in some detail in this book and it makes me hungry every time, lol). I knew… things… were going to happen. And yet, it was almost more feels-jostling the second time around, knowing what was to come.

“You’re horrible.”

“What are you saying? Everyone tells me I’m a perfectly lovely queen.”

“The most well-mannered, too.”

“Absolutely, and not at all a bitch.”

This was a hard book to put down, especially in the second half, because there is just so much stuff going on. This is very much a ‘okay, just oooone more chapter’ book for me, and suddenly 3am is staring me in the face. It just compels you to keep on reading no matter the time. This time around, the last quarter or so of this book was even more feels-jostling than I remember. I didn’t have my feels shields up as much as I should have and suddenly I was having feelings about characters that I didn’t even like. ಠ_ಠ

So all told, I think I loved this book even more the second time around. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s gone through some additional re-writes and editing since I read it the first time, or if it’s because I just needed a reread of this book in my life, but either way, my rating hasn’t changed. It’s still a full 5/5 stars!~

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