How do I even review the end of the Bitch Queen series? A series that has captivated me entirely. The story of a woman, a mother, a lover, a Queen. All the ways history and stories twist our words, tell the stories that serve them, and obscure the truth. Keep reading this book review to hear my full thoughts and see some hand lettering!
Queen Talyien is finally home, but dangers she never imagined await her in the shadowed halls of her father’s castle.
War is on the horizon. Her son has been stolen from her, her warlords despise her, and across the sea, a cursed prince threatens her nation with invasion in order to win her hand.
Worse yet, her father’s ancient secrets are dangerous enough to bring Jin Sayeng to ruin. Dark magic tears rifts in the sky, preparing to rain down madness, chaos, and the possibility of setting her nation aflame.
Bearing the brunt of the past and uncertain about her future, Talyien will need to decide between fleeing her shadows or embracing them before the whole world becomes an inferno.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: rape, murder, gore
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng was always going to be a five star read for me. We all knew this. I have so thoroughly enjoyed the Bitch Queen series and this finale is the perfect ending. This series is devoted to examining difficult choices, wondering what kind of ruler we would be, and to Tali’s journey to figure out who she wants to be. Where does the line between daughter, queen, mother, woman fall? I immediately fell back in love with The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng.
Expectations & Molds
In these long cons, these movements and power plays begun before our first steps, do we inherit this legacy? The mistakes, the sins, the bargains of our parents? Just exactly when do we stop being the sum of the expectations of our parents? Could it be possible we can never escape? The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng balances action and introspection. The ways women are held up to unfair standards. Seen as pawns and what alliances they can broker. So how can Tali fight for a future that does not discard her, mention her in footnotes, and in relation to others?
Are the ones we love merely sources of weakness? The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng is about the disillusionment with the people we love, honor, and look up to. The lies they tell to our faces, the plans they make without our knowledge, and efforts to shield us from the truth. Some people in our lives shape us. Mold us. But how do we break free? We think we have the power, but it’s being dangled on a thread by the puppet master holding the curtain back. Villoso asks us whether our lives are bigger than ourselves. If they’re worth a kingdom, a country, a war. And what we would do to fight for our agency.
The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng is about all these people stuck between mercenaries, war lords, and bids for power. About witnessing those caught in the cross hairs while feasts are held behind gated walls. What I loved about The Dragon of Jin-Sayeng is the way it forces the characters to come to terms with the past, our mistakes and expectations, all the ugly truths revealed. How will history paint Tali? Because there exists shades of truths, gilded lies, and uneven truths.
About the Author
What is a finale that broke your heart?
K.S. Villoso was born in a dank hospital on an afternoon in Albay, Philippines, and things have generally been okay since then. After spending most of her childhood in a slum area in Taguig (where she dodged death-defying traffic, ate questionable food, and fell into open-pit sewers more often than one ought to), she and her family immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, where they spent the better part of two decades trying to chase the North American Dream. She is now living amidst the forest and mountains with her family, children, and dogs in Anmore, BC.