After The Wolf of Oren Yaro, everyone needed The Ikessar Falcon. Even though this amazing sequel is over 600 pages, I flew through The Ikessar Falcon. If I wasn’t impressed with Villoso’s plot and world building skills before, I am now! Keep reading this book review to see how Villoso has crafted this amazing sequel.
The spiral to madness begins with a single push.
Abandoned by her people, Queen Talyien’s quest takes a turn for the worst 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 impossible horrors that unearth the nation’s true troubles – 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 of failure is steep. Her friends are few. And a nation carved by a murderer can only be destined for war.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I finished The Ikessar Falcon days ago and I still don’t know how to write this book review. First off, we stan a book series that includes a mini-recap at the beginning. Considering the bombshells that went off in The Wolf of Oren Yaro, we all know we needed one. While I utterly fell in love with Tali in the first book, what I adored in the sequel was how much Villoso expanded on Tali’s world. I will always be in awe of how masterful Villoso is able to balance a growing world, political tensions, and betrayals. The Ikessar Falcon is one of the best fantasy sequels I’ve read in a while.
My Beloved Queen
What I loved was how familiar and different this sequel was. On one hand, I was so happy to be back not only with Tali, but with the other characters in this world. I fell back into this book, immersed in the politics, and the new adventures. But at the same time, The Ikessar Falcon feels different altogether as Tali is forced to examine her power as a ruler and her relationships. It’s a sequel that takes us even deeper not only into the betrayals and secrets, but also into Tali’s life. Her expectations, her longing, and her mindset.
In the first book, we knew how women in power were given a lose-lose situation. Where they couldn’t express their identity as a woman, without losing respect and power (from the society), while also being persecuted when illustrating their immense power and capability. The Ikessar Falcon feels almost self-reflexive, taking on both a journal quality, and a feeling of looking backwards. Villoso makes sure to spend time showcasing action scenes and political machinations, but also Tali’s character struggles and questions.
The Heavy Mantle of Power
Throughout The Ikessar Falcon, Tali witnesses the disconnect she has from what she knows. From her power as a ruler, and what her people need and want. Even from what the lives of her closest confidants are like. She is forced to bear witness to the ripples of her actions, the costs of her indecision. She begins to wonder who she is behind the mask of her power, beyond her title. If being a queen is a mask, then what lies behind it? We get so wrapped up in our histories, families, and obligations, we forget the soul that lives within us.
For what are we fighting at the end of the day? Throughout The Ikessar Falcon, Villoso slowly builds these themes and questions. When the elite are fighting over titles, who ends up paying the price? These questions are mirrored and echoed through pages, characters, and situations. The sacrifices we would make for love, unrequited, and scorned.
The Ikessar Falcon is a story of layered histories and mistakes on top of each other. One movement can alter the entire landscape of our relationships. Of the country we live in, the soil beneath our feet. Can we ever fix the mistakes we have made in our lives? The roles we play with each other, the hurt we pile on top? If you loved the tension, political and character wise, and you just love Tali like I do, then you have to check out this sequel.
About the Author
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.