Books, Reviews

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro

Author: K.S. Villoso  Genre: Fantasy   Publisher: Orbit Books


A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

“I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me.”

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.

Trigger Warnings: Public punishment, xenophobia, violence, murder, assassination attempt, coerced sex work, rape, torture

**Special thanks to Orbit Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review**

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  • Characterization is on point and is honestly what captivated me the most from this story. With each character, I have very distinct opinions about them. Talyien, I love, could punch and admire beyond belief. Rai, I could throttle. Khine, I adore and hope we see more of him in the second book. From being completely repulsed by characters (seriously, I am still trying to wrap my mind around Yuebeck) to being completely smitten, Villoso does an amazing job with characterization.
  • The continued escalated tension. Each moment, when I thought Tali couldn’t get into a more challenging situation, it just continued to get worse and worse for her? And because I’m an apparent glutton for punishment, each time I was continually impressed, responding with an excited, “Yes, give me more,” even as my heart broke for Tali and continually begged, “Please, we can’t take anymore, she doesn’t deserve this.” It was a brilliant execution of tension and raising stakes.
  • The emphasis on food. This might seem like an odd one, but I couldn’t help notice the inclusion of so many different meals that not only made my own mouth water, but also just made the world come alive that much more, by showing such a wide variety of meals. I feel this is something I don’t see very often (and also called attention to it in my own head, when thinking of my own novels and how this element is lacking), so I just really appreciated this extra detail in terms of worldbuilding.

Let them speak ill of the bitch queen who brought ruin to the land with the same gilded tongue they praised the uncrowned king who was just as responsible.”


  • The beginning. Don’t get me wrong: that first line absolutely floored me and is one of my favorites. I’m not sure if it was just because I was coming off a romance-reading-binge or what, but it took me a little bit to get into this story and I can’t pinpoint exactly why. I think I would have liked to witness what was described firsthand, perhaps, before we jump into the recollection by Tali? Don’t get me wrong, however, this book is still killer and totally worth your time reading it.
  • Tali’s stubbornness in regards to Rayyel. This might not deserve to be listed as a dislike, especially since I can completely understand Tali’s motives, but it absolutely drove me up a wall how she is so fixated on fixing things with Rai, to to the point where she is giving everything. It’s this laser-beam type focus that became a bit exhausting towards the end, and made me want to shake her. Yet, at the same time, I can’t really blame her. Not truly. And I’ll support her until the end.
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So, no surprise that I absolutely loved this story! Many of my trusted friends and reviewers loved it, so I had high hopes going in and they did not disappoint! If you’re a fan of fantasy, you’ll want to read this. If you are fan of feeling pain thanks to what you’re reading, you’ll DEFINITELY want to read this.

I rate this book 4 gems out of 5!


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5 thoughts on “The Wolf of Oren-Yaro”

  1. This book is definitely going up on my Top Reads of 2020 list. The escalation, the tastiness of everything, the stubbornness, the “oh no how is she possibly going to weave herself out of this mess,” and UGH so good!!!!!

  2. I liked this one, I didn’t LOVE this one. I too, had a bit of trouble getting into it in the beginning, and there was a late addition character I couldn’t connect to, because his entire relationship with Tali was based on events we hadn’t been told yet. That said, I loved the last like 10% of the book, once we know what the heck happened and what’s going on between Tali and Rai, and I want to give the sequel a shot!

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