Book Review: The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by KS Villoso

Rating:  ★★★1/2

The Wolf of Oren-yaro follows the story of Queen Talyien of the Jin-Sayeng, the first woman to ever sit the Dragonthrone.  Her marriage to the rival clan’s heir, Rayyel, was supposed to unite the fractured lands, ruled by warring Dragonlords.  However, Rayyel leaves the night before their coronation, and she is crowned alone.  Five years later, Rayyel has finally requested a meeting with his wife, and Talyien is all too eager to reconcile, even if she might be walking into a trap.

If I’m being honest- this story is not quite what I was hoping for.  There is action and adventure, there is political intrigue, but mostly, this is a story about a failed marriage, and a woman who would go to seemingly any length to make it work.  I was often frustrated with the amount of inner monologue dedicated to the husband when Tali also had a son at home to think about.  I was frustrated at the selfishness of her, at the infuriating decisions she makes.

Despite the fact that I am also a single mother, I found Talyien very hard to relate to.  I know every family situation is different, and Talyien’s choices are valid, but felt very dated.  Almost every scene that brought up Rayyel I was thinking to myself- “Why hasn’t she kicked him to the curb yet?!”  I wanted her to want to be more independent then she seemed, and at the end, during the final climactic scene, I was pretty disappointed with her feelings on the matter.  Her husband is definitely not the sort of man I’d waste breath on, that’s for sure.

My issues with Tali aside- it doesn’t take long for the action to start, and the action scenes strike the perfect balance of excitement without overextending themselves.  Tali finds herself in all kinds of interesting situations, and if you aren’t looking too closely at the logic of the plot, I think the right reader could have a lot of fun with this book.  There were some scenes I found myself laughing along with, and it kept the pages turning.

The writing was mostly good.  There were a few places where it felt amateurish and the dialogue a little stiff- but for the most part I have few complaints.  The pacing could use a little work.  The book seemed like it fell into a pattern at some point- we’d get some action, then a flashback scene, and then a few chapters of Tali’s thoughts on the whole thing.  I wasn’t always sure the flashback scenes were needed, although they did occasionally give some nice backstory.

I’m not really sure this book or series is right for me, but plenty of readers are already enjoying it, so take my review with a grain of salt.  The Wolf of Oren-yaro released on February 18, 2020 and can be found on GoodReads or ordered on Amazon.  Thank you to Orbit Books who provided an eGalley in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

21 thoughts on “Book Review: The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso

  1. I had the chance of an ARC for this and something made me say no. Couldn’t say what at the time. Maybe I was psychic and picked up on the large part of the story given over to the marriage and those inner monologues. That would have been a killer for me as, much like you said, wouldn’t have been what I hoped for from the book.

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      • Based on the synopsis, I would think this book was about a silly woman waiting at home for a man to call, so to speak. I don’t get a sense of where action or tension would come from, just based on this “he walked out” narrative. I definitely trust your review, though. I don’t have any children, and being a single parent isn’t something I can fathom, so thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂

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      • LOL. And if she had been stuck at her castle that’s pretty much what she would have been doing. But she goes to meet him in a foreign city and then loses her guards. So that’s where the action comes from. It’s very episodic in that way.

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  2. I love the cover and sound of this story! Well…except for the slightly dated values it seems to have on failed marriages. The action sounds great and DRAGONS. Fab review Sarah, you’ve reviewed this so well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • If this sounds appealing to you- you might give it a try! I think the author was trying to say something about the strength of women- how we are willing to “suffer in silence” for the sake of others- which I do think is true regardless of the times. But I wish Tali had felt differently about her husband or made that clearer earlier in the book. To me- being willing to brave it alone is also admirable. So I just disagreed on that point.

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  3. Frustrated with the inner monologue about her husband, her selfishness, and her infuriating decisions. Oh, I get you there. This was one of those books where I like a lot of it, really struggled not to want to strangle or slap Talyien. For such a strong, determined woman, she makes a lot of incomprehensible decisions. Those last chapters have me curious about the next book, though, so I’ll give that a chance. Some of my favorite sagas took a 2nd book to win me over.

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    • I’m SO GLAD I’m not alone on this one. And I totally understand where you are coming from on the MC. I think I’ll wait for your review of book two before I decide one way or another. I can see this particular book being one that gets better in the sequel.

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  4. From what I understand from reviews this looks like a case of a book being marketed badly, because this cover and synopsis make it sound… a lot more epic fantasy than it actually is? I want to try this at some point but it’s not a priority.
    Great review!

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    • Thanks! I forget what all the requirements are for epic fantasy- I don’t mean to make it sound like it’s not- it’s just the main focal point and final climax all revolve around this marriage. I hope whenever you get to it you love it!

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    • I think I understand what the author was going for- but I think she waited too long to drive the point home. It was literally in one of the last lines of the book that I finally understood, but by then it was just too little too late for me. It is nice to know this time around I’m not alone!

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  5. Oh, I read a lot of very positive reviews about this one, but each boiled down to the failed marriage angle and the heroism of an abandoned wife, which honestly doesn’t sound like should be the main focal point of an epic fantasy book 😉 Well, maybe except Black Company books, but then there we have a truly hellish marriage 😀
    Anyway, great review – I won’t be reading this one anytime soon! 😉

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  6. I’ve been on the fence about requesting this book for a while now, and the mixed reviews I’ve read so far did nothing but increase my uncertainty. Now that I’ve read your review, especially the part about her lack of independence – or, worse, the dreaded inner monologues 😱 – I think that those warning bells were right… Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  7. Defintely want to read this one, I think all the relationship stuff would appeal to me because I love that type of story. That being said I think the pacing might be an issue for me. But we’ll see! Thanks for the review!

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  8. Pingback: Month in Review: February 2020 | Hamlets & Hyperspace

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