‘A Wolf of Oren-Yaro Is Not Tamed’ and Talyien is a wolf, a lone wolf now, but a wolf whose teeth are still bared and manner still untamed.
The Dragon Of Jin-Sayeng, by K.S. Villoso is the explosive, phenomenal and powerful finale to the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen and it was perfect.
Synopsis: Queen Talyien is home but home is not a comfort. Hated by the Warlords, still torn away from her son, and with war on the horizon, can Talyien hold Jin Sayeng together? As more dangers and secrets threaten her and her nation, Talyen must fight to stop the madness of magic and Prince’s alike – and in the midst of the chaos, Yeshin’s secrets haunt her. But how powerful can a dead man’s secrets be? In this phenomenal finale, can Talyien save her nation, and herself?
CW/TW: mentions of rape/off page rape, animal abuse/animal death/torture/abuse/emotional+psychological torture/manipulation/death/mention of abortion/child death/ableism/others may be present.
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng, by K.S Villoso is the phenomenal finale to the Chronicles of the Bitch Queen trilogy and was the perfect ending to an astounding series.
SPOILER WARNING: This review may contain spoilers for Book 1 and Book 2 in the Bitch Queen series. It will, however, be a spoiler free review for this book/Book 3/The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng.
So BookNerds, I have been absolutely loving this series so far with it’s twisty plot and messy characters but this final installment blew me out of the water! K.S Villoso once again proves she is a strong voice in the fantasy genre with this captivating, complex and compelling finale that perfectly brings all the threads together and weaves a web of sacrifice, deceit and war.
Villoso again impresses with her gorgeous and striking prose that hits hard and deep. The entire series is beautifully written, it is a raw and powerful story infused with emotion but book 3 is the most potent of them all. The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng truly feels like a raw depiction of Talyien’s heart and story, the prose feels personal and emotional – it is a conclusion to an epic story of fights for the throne and for family but it is so much more than that. It is a Tali’s conclusion. It is her ending, her realisation of who she is, of her heart, of what she is beyond what she was made to be. It is her recognition that she is a wolf, but perhaps it doesn’t mean what she first thought. From start to finish, the prose holds this emotional and raw power which is only heightened by the rich, beautiful and brutal descriptions of the world, people, wars and monsters.
I honestly cannot praise the prose enough, from vivid scenes to strong characters with undeniable presence, Villoso hits the mark at each turn. The book is written in the first person narrative which was truly the perfect choice – it leaves a strong impression and gives us a story from one view which is layered and complex. Talyen’s character is the perfect type to have in conjunction with the first person narrative, she is flawed and messy but strong and determined – she is a realistic character that brings authenticity to the narrative and makes it easy to connect with. Moreover, the narrative and prose make this the perfect finale, perfectly creating memorable scene and characters as well as deeply resonating with the reader on all levels.
Villoso also does something interesting with the prose/narrative that I absolutely loved that ties into the idea of who writes history. The unfortunate concept of history being written by the ‘victors’ is one we all know well, the writer has power to make heroes and villains or to erase you from history entirely. Talyien’s story is told to us by her, and the subtle changes in prose and narrative, the choice to paint her flaws and mistakes, makes this book such a powerful read because at the end you ask yourself what does winning mean?
Ok so I’ve babbled a bit on how much I loved the writing in the final book (and series as a whole) but now let’s talk about the story/plot! Book 2 ends with lot’s of possibilities and problems; monsters, dragons, magic, Yuebeck, Rayyel and paternity, her father’s past – Talyien literally has problems coming at her from ever possible angle. It’s as though a game of chess is being played and Tali’s suppose to be the Queen, but her moves are limited and she seems more of a pawn. The whole of book 3 weaves together a very intricate plot that is far more connected than it originally appears, with our long dead Warlord seemingly at the center.
I loved every element of the plot in this book, everything tied up perfectly. I loved how the influences and plans of the past came together to weave each element into a rich and explosive web. From the magic, monsters and dragons, to Yuebeck and Yeshin’s plans, it all worked together to give us an epic finale that played out devastatingly and perfectly. I especially loved how we got to see more of how the magic worked and interacted with the dragons and the history behind it all. The plot had the perfect balance of heart-break, horror, shock and surprise – there were so many twists and turns that made perfect sense but kept you on your toes and upheld an element of tension and surprise throughout. This was a truly unpredictable finale with an excellent conclusion.
I adored how Villoso had actual monsters and dragons as a threat that kept you terrified and horrified and yet in the face of these monsters she still created human villains that were every bit as, if not more so, horrifying. Every character has flaws in this book, and many of them are morally grey or villainous, but even the outright villains like Yuebeck are multi dimensional and well built to the point where as soon as I read his name I was already filled with rage. I hate him so much – and this book really plays on that so well. Yeshin is the character who, despite being dead, is mentioned a lot and (though I hate him too) his character was also fascinating – especially seeing just how strong his influences were and still are on Tali. This book masterfully depicts the effects of parent’s on their children whether they are present or not and Tali’s story is so incredible because of the real conflict she goes through in relation to her father. We get a lot of reveals in this book and it kept me tearing through the pages.
Sidenote: this book will break your hearts. I do not forgive some certain scenes that ripped my heart in two.
Honestly, I just loved the whole plot, every element, layer, choice came together to create an epic action filled story full of emotion and shock. We get to see so much more of each of the characters which was so fantastic (I may have wanted to slap Rai SO many times in this book for so many reasons though). Every character was so memorable and dynamic, I am still in love with Tali and Khine and will forever be so. The characters are so authentic and real that you can’t help but fall into the pages of the book with them.
The ending was, in my opinion, perfect. Did it hurt? Absolutely. But I really loved how Villoso decided to end the series, the final scene is just perfect and everything about the ending was excellent. This is how you wrap up a series, surprise your readers and embed your story in their hearts.
This was an incredibly hard review to write because it is the final book with so many possible spoilers so I’ll end by saying this. This book was a powerful, emotional and memorable conclusion to an already epic series and it ties everything up perfectly. This is a series I highly recommend and I loved this conclusion in every single way.
If you love epic fantasy, character driven stories, monsters and dragons, flawed messy characters, and emotional stories then this series is for you.
*I received an eARC via #Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – thank you!*