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

A mass murderer's daughter, abandoned wife, and Queen of a divided land: the perfect catalyst for war. Now she must stop the ruin she helped create, but how do you fight what you are fated to fail? 

"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's life unfolded like a storybook. The shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart, her marriage to Rayyel, the son of her father's rival, spoke of peaceful days to come. 

But all storybooks must end. Rayyel's sudden departure before their reign began created fractures that left the land as divided as ever.

4 of 5 stars

The Wolf of Oren-yaro is an engaging read in a fully realized, complex world of varied Asian-inspired cultures and nations. In the story, some tribes are less "civilized" because they think magic is evil.

Talyien is queen of such a nation, and she has to travel outside her homeland in an attempt to meet with her estranged husband. Their wedding united two warring countries, and they were supposed to rule together. But five years ago, her husband abruptly left, and she's ruled their court in solitude since.

Afraid her advisors would not let her go, Talyien takes a small group of guards and leaves to find her husband, Rayyel, and bring him home. Far from Oren-yaro, in a foreign land she does not know, her plan gets thwarted when assassins intercede.

Now lost and alone, she has to endure many unqueenly hardships to seek allies and survive the schemes of her unknown enemies.

Will she find Rayyel? What would she say to him after all this time and distance? Can Talyien accept whatever part she played in his leaving?

Much is left unresolved at the end of the book, which I can only assume will continue to be explored through the series. This is an immersive story, told in 1st person through Talyien's POV. Nothing is clear cut for Talyien, and the feelings and decisions she must face grow continually more complicated. On top of the intricate politics, the story has true heart and a raw emotional journey.

You can find it here on Amazon or here on Goodreads.

TBRindr — An Indie Author and Review Matching Resource!



TBRindr. What does this collection of letters mean? It's a set of databases for indie authors and reviewers who are accepting indie books!

It's been a great asset to the self-published fantasy community, but its founder has retired from blogging. So to keep it open and available, I've agreed to take over its day-to-day management. The database sheets exist exactly as they were, so anyone who is currently signed up does not need to sign up again. Any participants who have suggestions for improvements, please comment or message me.

The Concept

A huge obstacle indie authors have to conquer is getting a decent amount of reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. The number of reviews a book has impacts its visibility, especially on Amazon. The self-published fantasy scene is thriving and vibrant, and the best way to encourage these talented authors is to have an accessible review service geared toward them.

Ideally, reviewers and authors will go through each others info thoroughly and look for high matches, with multiple preferences checked off for each of the books being recommended or requested.


FOR REVIEWERS

After you sign up, browse the database of books and contact authors to request review copies. It doesn’t matter if you have your own blog with a ton of followers or have no blog and just post an Amazon review. To Amazon, a review is a review and it helps a book's visibility. You get free books, indie authors get reviews!

If at any point you don’t want to do this anymore, or are busy and need to catch up, all you need to do is message me on RedditTwitterGoodreads, or Facebook and I’ll either take down your info or place you on ‘hold’ status.

Reviewers Sign Up

Reviewers Extra Info Form

Database of Authors/Books available for review

Prizes

At the end of the year, we'll be giving prizes for the highest number of reviews completed, and a few random prizes for participating. So, reviewers, be sure to email me links to your reviews and use #TBRindr as much as possible!




FOR INDIE AUTHORS

Self-published and small press SFF authors are welcome to join. Once you sign-up, reviewers can find and request your book. However, this is a two-way street! We recommend you browse the database of reviewers and contact those who might be interested in your book. As you can see, there are preferences for a number of sub-genres, so you can find the right readers for your story.

Although the idea is to get reviews, I will not be hounding people for reviews. We'll be working on the honor system here. That said, if a few authors alert me to someone who looks like they are just in this to get free books without putting out any reviews, I’ll put that reader’s info on hold status until some reviews come out.

Also, please do not send review requests for anyone who has a ‘hold’ status, even if they sound like the perfect match for your book. Hounding the reviewers will get them to quit, and this whole thing won’t work anymore.

As a general tip for authors, when you send a request, personalize it and make sure you've gone through the reviewer's preferences thoroughly.

Authors Sign Up Your Books
(for full explanation of the Bingo squares, here is the r/fantasy 2019 Bingo Challenge post)

Authors Extra Info Form

Database of Reviewers & Reviews






Review: Lucifer's Star by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus

Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he'd been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland. 

LUCIFER'S STAR is the first novel of the Lucifer's Star series, a dark science fiction space opera set in a world of aliens, war, politics, and slavery.

4 of 5 stars

Cassius Mass was a starfighter pilot from a planet ruled by space nobility. Despite his wealth and war medals, his side lost the war and he lost everything he thought he cared about.

The story begins about five years later. Cassius has been drinking away his pain and sleeping around with the crew on a ship filled with mercenaries who are also hiding from their pasts. It's the perfect place for him to wallow in sarcasm and memory suppressants, until he finds out there's much more to his crew than it seemed.

Cassius clearly used to be a bad guy, living in denial about some of the vile practices his ruling class had dealings in, and he certainly displays a "flexible" morality. In this story, though, he's finding reasons to reform as he learns to care about the experiences and struggles others have had to face. He's honorable enough to root for and devious enough to be likable.

The writing style is light-hearted and entertaining, but lacks a level of polish I've seen in the author's more recent work. Still, it definitely includes Phipps's signature blend of intrigue, sass, and fantastical effects.

I loved the plot, plenty of unexpected turns that challenged the characters and left me wondering how it would all play out. The relationships Cassius has with various crew members and other characters had a wonderful realism to them.

If you're looking for sci-fi that's fun and unpredictable, with great dialogue and action scenes, definitely check this one out!

You can find it here on Amazon or here on Goodreads.