The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, K. S. Villoso – Book Review

Hello Humans! After a bit of a focus on YA, I’m sliding back into some adult fantasy with the help of the delightful Moon who was kind enough to gift me a copy of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro which had been on my ‘I really must read that at some point’ list for…well…quite some time.

Goodreads Summary:

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. 

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I went into this book with very few expectations, I knew Justine (I Should Read That) had read this but other than that I was going on cover image and title alone. In some ways I think that was a good thing, it meant that I could just figure the book out for myself. In another sense it might have been a good idea to look into this book a little more just so I could get my head around it.

I feel as though I’ve talked about this a lot recently, but this year I’ve really began to hone in on what makes a book work for me and, more importantly, why I consistently find myself not retaining any of the plot of books. In part, of course, that’s a product of the way I read, I tend to take in a lot more on a re-read, but I think it’s also because what I tend to remember are things that are…concrete. Worldbuilding, character archetypes, tropes, magic systems – that kind of thing. In books like The Wolf of Oren Yaro where it’s important to keep track of alliances, big political scope and quite a lot of characters I really struggle. That’s not a criticism of the book but might help people like me who find similar reads a bit of a struggle.

I liked Talyien a lot. I mean am I ever not going to love a woman who people call The Bitch Queen? What I thought was very cool was that this story went against the status quo. I feel like the expectation for a story like this is to write a very naive young girl going off to find her brand new husband the moment he heads off. In this case Talyien, while she isn’t an old woman and she does still have some naivete, has a maturity to her that you don’t normally find. She’s already a mother, and she knows what she wants to fight for. You get to see her grow throughout the story and the first person narrative definitely helps with that. You get to experience a lot of her…personal growth and the way she processes different information. And on top of all that she can also quite easily kill people with her sword – be still my beating heart.

I thought her husband was the worst but I guess that’s kind of the point…

This is most certainly a book I will need to re-read to get a real feel for the plot – again not because it is badly written just because of the way I process information – but the way that the story plays out is very good. I liked that sometimes you get the whole ‘travelling’ section of the story and other times where it isn’t as important it feels more like a montage of events. I thought that the flashbacks were very well done, integrated with the plot in a way that didn’t feel gratuitous but still managed to impart just the right information at the right time.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to fantasy fans who are looking for a book that features a journey – there’s an awful lot of travelling and going to new places in this book. It’s got epic fights and a lot of sneaking and subterfuge as well. While it is almost certainly a book readers like me will need to pick up more than once – I’m still excited to read it again!

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received this book as a gift from a friend. All opinions are my own.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is out now!

Find on Goodreads | Amazon (Affiliate)

What say you? Will you be reading this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

J

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