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Queen of the Conquered (Islands of Blood and Storm Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 329 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Book 1 of 2 in Islands of Blood and Storm
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From the Publisher
"Callender's heart-wrenching work is a story that refuses easy answers, trope saviors, or all-is-well endings. Lofty as it seems, if you imagine Hamlet and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Soldiers fused in a narrative that finds its soul from the pain of our cruelest histories, you'll have captured a piece of the powerful fantasy Callender has wrought in Queen of the Conquered."―Evan Winter, author of The Rage of Dragons
"Queen is not a pretty story, but it's told in gorgeous strokes of color and emotion, rendering even the most disturbing scenes of horror and loss with haunting insight....It's a fine balancing act, and the book's absorbing setting, captivating lead, and relevant themes of race and class complement each other with alternating delicacy and savagery. At turns philosophical and feral, Queen of the Conquered represents the scope and spectacle of the fantasy genre with a vengeance.―NPR Books
"Kacen Callender depicts colonialism, rage and the terrible price of power with haunting, unflinching eloquence. Queen of the Conquered is a heart-stopping masterpiece."―Tasha Suri, author of Empire of Sand
"A fascinating exploration of how power corrupts and drives a person toward self-betrayal."―Kirkus (starred review)
"Dynamic characters and rich, spellbinding action come to life in this epic story... It's a thrilling supernatural adventure."―Woman's World
"An ambitious, courageous, and unflinching novel that uncovers the rotten core of our colonial heritage and yet also celebrates the fierce resistance and heroic endurance of the most abused and exploited."―Kate Elliott, author of Black Wolves
"Callender's first adult novel draws race relations, conquest, magic, and politics into an imaginative, layered story that will keep readers twisting until the end. The author's personal experience growing up in St. Thomas lends to the rich setting and postcolonial themes."―Library Journal (starred review)
"An utterly compelling look at slavery, power, and complicity. Uncomfortable, heart rending, and utterly necessary."―Aliette de Bodard, Nebula Award-winning author
"From the very first paragraph, Callender's adult debut stuns. A complex and furious examination of colonialism, Queen of the Conquered is a storm of a novel as epic as Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. I've been looking for this book half my life."―Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Beasts Made Wild --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B07P7GCGBC
- Publisher : Orbit (November 12, 2019)
- Publication date : November 12, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 4856 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 329 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #67,747 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Our heroine, Sigourney, is a biracial woman who, against all odds, is the lady of her own plantation. Her mother was a freed slave that her white father fell in love with (he freed her and then married her). But the other colonizers took umbrage with this, and had Sigourney's whole family murdered. She survived where none of the others did and rose from the ashes to claim her birthright. But this isn't your typical chosen one vs. the oppressors story-- it's much darker and more complex than that. Sigourney likes her power, and wants to inherit the whole island once the ruling king dies. She's willing to use her people as pawns to make this happen, even though she tells herself that she'll free them when she becomes queen. But, she can't help but wonder, where will the money come from with no slaves to work the land? What will happen to the economy? In her heart of hearts, she knows the answer to these questions, as well as the darkness clouding her heart.
Sigourney also has the kraft and she's incredibly powerful-- she can reach into people's bodies and control them like puppets and she can also read minds. These powers are indispensable, as she is loathed on both sides. Her people hate her for being a traitor and the other kongelig hate her because she represents a mockery to her way of life. Watching Sigourney navigate the viper's nest of court intrigue with the other plantation nobles in her endless quest for power, while trying to figure out a dark mystery that lies in the center of the island and becomes increasingly more perilous as blood spills and ghosts rise from the grave, the reader can't help but root for Sigourney-- even if they know deep down that they shouldn't. She's a truly morally grey heroine, whose decisions are frightening because they make us question the actions we might take when faced with similar decisions.
I LOVED this book. It seems like a lot of people didn't like it because it takes forever to get moving, but I honestly love slow world-building if I love the world. Pacing-wise, this book actually reminded me a lot of another book I read recently, called VITA NOSTRA. The plots are nothing similar, but both books are like sinking into a hot bath that suddenly becomes boiling-- you don't realize just how deadly the narrative is until you're already in hot water. QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED could have been shorter, yes, but I honestly loved all the time we got to spend in Sigourney's head. It made me really feel for her character in a way that's a lot harder in shorter books. Even though I didn't like her, I could understand and sympathize with her, which is the hallmark of great writing.
Anyone who wants to learn about how colonialism works and the toxic effects it has on a land and people should read this book. It was incredibly represented and despite being a fantasy novel, raised a lot of real-world problems like privilege, abuse of power, institutional racism, consent, love, and the fine line between good and evil. I honestly can't wait to read KING OF THE RISING. I think it's going to really take the world by storm (get it, because the series is called Islands of Blood & Storm?). Anyway, bad puns aside, do yourself a favor and read this book. It's amazing.
4.5 out of 5 stars
The ruling class, known as the Konelig, is a deadly group of white men and women with gifts as powerful as Signourney’s ability to read minds who would gladly kill Sigourney to claim her lands and title.
Faced with the threat of death from both her slaves & the Konelig, Sigourney knows that her life depends on increasing her power.
The King is due to retire and pass his crown during a gathering called a storm season. So Sigourney makes a plan to become the next Regent. The only problems: slave revolts are on the rise, and the Kongelig tend to die mysteriously over a storm season.
To do the impossible, Sigourney will have to find allies and stay alive and prove that a Black woman should be the next ruler.
The story provides several exciting twists once Sigourney reaches the King’s estate that will keep readers turning pages.
The setting is lovely, and the language beautiful.
Powers appear to be genetic rather than magically based or bestowed by gods.
A good read.
What was really gripping was that the narrator is essentially a telepath who can read minds and memories so the narrative slips into the perspective of the other characters giving context and exposition but still from her side, with her biases and fears. Really neat and not like anything I have read before.
While I sympathized with Sigourney Rose's history, I found her unlikable, partly because of actions she takes, partly because she distances herself from the unhappiness of those around her. Indeed, I came close to abandoning the book about a sixth of the way through, when a sympathetic secondary character died. It is a mark of the author's skill that I kept going anyhow, drawn, despite my discomfort, by the complex portrayal of oppression. Sigourney Rose is a character both oppressed and oppressing, unlikable and yet credible in her complicity, sympathetic because she too has suffered.
I was less immersed than I usually am by novels. This may be because the prose is in present tense, which often (though not invariably) distracts me. Or it may be because of my discomfort with Sigourney Rose. Or it may be because extended sections show her reading other people's thoughts/memories, and those sections often felt expository to me, rather than resonant and felt.
I note, for those who like to read complete stories, that this book is the first part of a duology, and that it ends while a great deal remains up in the air.
This is a powerful, provocative book that deals in important issues. I liked it. I admire its ambition and theme. But I didn't enjoy it.
About my reviews: I try to review every book I read, including those that I don't end up enjoying. The reviews are not scholarly, but just indicate my reaction as a reader, reading being my addiction. I am miserly with 5-star reviews; 4 stars means I liked a book very much; 3 stars means I liked it; 2 stars means I didn't like it (though often the 2-star books are very popular with other readers and/or are by authors whose other work I've loved).
Top reviews from other countries
Take a vivid description of slavery (past and present) with constant reminders of the numerous rapes, violent deaths and cruelty that occurs in this unfair environment, add in powers belonging to both masters and slaves (krafts), combine with rivalry and deadly plots to get a throne , sprinkle with a dark skin heroine with slaver priviledges, then cook in the flames of vengeance and you will get a taste of the plot of Queen of the Conquered.
Up to 80 % of the book, I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it: my favorite character died with an arrow piercing his throat, my girl turned out to be a despicable and selfish rapist... And then, the biggest twist of all happened.
Maybe I'll read book 2