Queen of the Conquered

Queen of the ConqueredAn Ambitious Young Woman With The Power To Control Minds Seeks Vengeance Against The Royals Who Murdered Her Family, In A Caribbean Inspired Fantasy World Embattled By Colonial Oppression Sigourney Rose Is The Only Surviving Daughter Of A Noble Lineage On The Islands Of Hans Lollik When She Was A Child, Her Family Was Murdered By The Islands Colonizers, Who Have Massacred And Enslaved Generations Of Her People And Now, Sigourney Is Ready To Exact Her RevengeWhen The Childless King Of The Islands Declares That He Will Choose His Successor From Amongst Eligible Noble Families, Sigourney Uses Her Ability To Read And Control Minds To Manipulate Her Way Onto The Royal Island And Into The Ranks Of The Ruling Colonizers But When She Arrives, Prepared To Fight For Control Of All The Islands, Sigourney Finds Herself The Target Of A Dangerous, Unknown Magic Someone Is Killing Off The Ruling Families To Clear A Path To The Throne As The Bodies Pile Up And All Eyes Regard Her With Suspicion, Sigourney Must Find Allies Among Her Prey And The Murderer Among Her Peers Lest She Become The Next Victim Queen Of The Conquered Reckons With The Many Layers Of Power And Privilege In A Lush Fantasy World Perfect For Readers Of V E Schwab, Kiersten White, And Marlon James Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterestHey, my friends It s 6 17 and it s on sale today for 1.99 Make like a rabbit and get hopping I m doing a project for Black History Month where I m trying to read as many books by black and biracial authors as possible Most of the ones I ve done so far have been realistic fiction, but QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED is fantasy I d read some of Kacen Callender s work before, but their style is much, much different here than it was in KING AND Instagram Twitter FacebookPinterestHey, my friends It s 6 17 and it s on sale today for 1.99 Make like a rabbit and get hopping I m doing a project for Black History Month where I m trying to read as many books by black and biracial authors as possible Most of the ones I ve done so far have been realistic fiction, but QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED is fantasy I d read some of Kacen Callender s work before, but their style is much, much different here than it was in KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES KING was a mild coming of age story about sexuality and identity written for the middle grade audience QUEEN ha is a brutal adult fantasy novel that serves as a direct parallel to the cruel and devastating colonialism of Afro Caribbean peoples by the Dutch Here, the islanders work as slaves in the tropical paradise that used to be their home Their colonizers are called the kongelig, and all of the major ruling families have plantations where they rule with the dual fists of physical punishment and magic You see, the kongelig prize something called the kraft Some of the islanders have it too, but fearing rebellion, any islander found with the power of kraft is put to death.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 andcomplex 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 increasinglyperilous 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 stormget 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 stars 4.5 stars TW slavery suicidal imagery and ideation mentions of rape lynching This book is a brutal exploration of slavery, privilege, and revenge Although slow to start which is what bumped it down a half star , this turned into political intrigue, mixed with the rage against colonialism, and a Clue like murder mystery set in Caribbean inspired island setting If you want your characters to be likable or have strict morals, you aren t going to find that here This wasn t like anything I ve 4.5 stars TW slavery suicidal imagery and ideation mentions of rape lynching This book is a brutal exploration of slavery, privilege, and revenge Although slow to start which is what bumped it down a half star , this turned into political intrigue, mixed with the rage against colonialism, and a Clue like murder mystery set in Caribbean inspired island setting If you want your characters to be likable or have strict morals, you aren t going to find that here This wasn t like anything I ve read before and I m looking forward to the sequel TLDR Here s the short version of this increadibly stupid dialogue Me I don t like racism I think people who are racists are stupid idiots I think the book has the following weak points, though Nevertheless, I will rate the book higher than I should for making a go at addressing the problem of racism.POC1 No How come you re saying that You insensitive tone deaf shit Me Whoa Well, I just have no idea how people can think racist stuff it s so obv TLDR Here s the short version of this increadibly stupid dialogue Me I don t like racism I think people who are racists are stupid idiots I think the book has the following weak points, though Nevertheless, I will rate the book higher than I should for making a go at addressing the problem of racism.POC1 No How come you re saying that You insensitive tone deaf shit Me Whoa Well, I just have no idea how people can think racist stuff it s so obviously dimwitted They should go and do something else instead of being dumb racists.POC2 You fucking racist bitch Me Now, wait a sec, how did you come up with that I don t give a fuck about racist stuff, I said as much and I m even from the bunch of countries where this shit isn t practiced POC3 There are no such countries in the world.Me eyeroll Slavic countries Russia, Poland, Ukraine.POC4 Russia s racist And had slavery And first slaves were Slavs Me That s not historically accurate POC5 Stop being defensive You, filthy racist and it goes on.What the fuck is wrong with these commenters And why do I have a feeling that it was a bunch of bots posting all that trash below What the hell Thought police gone glitching 2020 July upd While this initially was a 5 star review, on further concideration I decided to lower the overall grade.ON topic Reason I decided to dock this novel 1 star, so far, after getting lots of drastically uneducated people telling me that Russia is racist spoiler it isn t, has never been and has nothing to do with this fantasy world altogether and them proceeding to keep informing me about how they failed to see that my points were about how racism was portrayed in this fantasy novel spoler dull, very dull, I almost fell asleep and not about actual real life racism that was perpertrated historically.These reminded me that I gave this novel a higher grade than it was worth and that I should reconsider After all, this wasn t the stellar experience I usually want from a fantasy novel and initially I gave this novel 5 stars only due to this book taking on the very important problem of racist practices As this book failed at incorporating the problem of racism in it in a sensible way, I think now I will reflect this fantasy s failure to be a 5 star fantasy novel as well as one adressing an important problem properly I dock further stars for stupidity see below and I dock another star off this book for showing slaves becoming the new slavers I don t think that was a sensible approach to plotting and showing the horrors of racism OFF topic What makes me most disappointed in that people insisting that Russia s a long standing racist country , even fucking fail to appreciate that one of its Golden Age most loved poets had Ethiopian roots and nobody has ever cared about that Also, pray tell me, just how many Africans could have had this sort of career in any other country in 17th century BTW, both of them had Caucasian indentured servants aka almost slaves and, guess what Nobody cared about that So, maybe, in Russia, it wasn t the race that was important Maybe it was talent, education, nobility and connections This wasn t precisely a fair arrangement Still I wouldn t call that racism.I really dislike how some people can fail to appreciate the absense of racism Ignoramuses or ungrateful snots or both, some people are.EvenI dislike Nationalists, since people who hate Russia any other country on spot are basically that I m pretty sure that had I mentioned Lithuania instead of Russia, nobody would have started calling it racist Further considerations This novel has realized its potential to progressing towards a 2 star review due to nasty commenters who were way too agressive and, frankly, who have no understanding of what racism actually is I think, for them, reading such fantasy should be a no no Hope the next one in the series addresses these issues better I still think that racists are Sad people with pathetic little minds as I wrote in the initial part of my review but, BUT that s no thanks to the book or to, frankly, subpar commenters I also hope that other commenters will actually read the fucking book before addressing me Maybe they would just see for themselves that I was actually rating the book forward in the hope that the author writes another one, a better one, in this series PS I really love how people after reading my review start implying I m a racist Proves my idea that our contemporaries, sadly, can t really read Or maybe they can make words from letters but they have lost the ability to understand the gist of what they re reading eyeroll Too bad.Racism as the most salient topicRacism is insanely boring, at least as it was represented in here I almost didn t think I d have it in me to follow through all the skin colour themed debacles In real life, I imagine, it s even worse Does one wake up and start thinking racing things or do they have some business to do I ve got some questions to the people of the countries that practiced or maybe still do racism how the fuck can people, sane and seemingly adequate, find time and will and effort and energy to go about all the racist bullshit Were they bored Had they nothing better to do No other endeavours to apply themselves to Sad people with pathetic little minds People should really consider doing all kinds better things with their brains other than going through their lives thinking petty, stupid, pathetic and harmful thoughts such as racist thoughts There are so many other,wholesome and healthy and useful things that one could expend their mental energy on the beauty of this world, literature, history, human development, the secrets of the universe, etc etc etc And instead racists lock themselves behind the mental bars of hatred and subject everyone else to a horrible treatment Sounds like a lose lose for everyone the society, the people who are subjected to racism and ta da even to racists themselvesSo, while the book s dealing with the topic a lot worse than a 5 star book should, I m not docking any stars for that since the topic s worth it and it hasn t been mangled altogether like so many other books on this same topic.StupidityThe book everyone in it behaved in the most moronic way imaginable I m not even going to count all the instances I ll just relax and consider this to be a fun book about really stupid people.In all seriousness, there isn t a single character who did not behave in the most stupid ways I don t think I ve ever seen such a set of dolts both islanders and masters in a good book.In all seriousness, most of the Fejrn don t really want to be on the islands and most of the islanders don t want them to be there, none of the island actors communicate even though they actually could act as a unique front or something , it s pathetic how everyone wallows in the mess of their own creation But that s me and the plot being a bit at odds with each other Everyone is plotting against everyone else and perceives others only as tools and is ready to stab the next person in the back at the nearest opportunity The deceived are the deceivers at all times The whole is plenty disgusting to behold I think the idea must have been that whenever one inflicts something upon the world, the world responds in kind, with a taste of one s own medicine i.e Marieke vs Sigourney vs rebels vs Fejd vs everyone else Communication is crucial and it s incredibly backwards throughout the whole mess.AngstOne could eat all the angst with a spoon all the guilt trips, righteousness, constant mess that the characters insist on creating just to wallow in it all evenAs I m a sucker for angst, I think 2 will be a fair read If it comes forward.Q The ocean has always terrified me It isn t meant for the living The water, burning my eyes and nose and throat, can so easily fill my lungs the power of the tide can pull me beneath its waves Most frightening of all are the spirits c Q I feel that there s regret in his gut, regret he hopes I won t see, though he knows any emotion he has, any thought of his, belongs to me If I will it, I can hear his thoughts the way I might think to myself his emotions become my own It requires effort, yes energy, to make my mind become one with another s but after holding this kraft for so many years, it s a skill that comes with the ease of racing across the fields of Lund Helle, or holding my breath beneath the sea c Q He prayed to the gods of the masters, asking for forgiveness, even though the masters don t believe that taking the life of an islander is a sin, and so there would be nothing to forgive c Q For a moment, I feel death know what it is to die, just as I have felt a thousand times c Q Most would rather pray to the Fjern gods, hoping for freedom, than fight for their freedom in life In a way, I admire the dead rebels at my feet c Q Working This is easier than saying his parents are slaves c Q Focus only on yourself and your ambitions and soon you ll find that you care not what a single person thinks Not even your gods Q I miss my mother, and the years that I never got to have with her c Q If you aren t careful, the Jannik family might inherit your enemies The Lund family is strong enough that it doesn t matter which enemies you inherit You should be grateful Q If I d been told as a child that I deserve to own all I see, maybe I would believe it, too But it s because I haven t been told this, and they have, that I ll succeed over them this I know, because while they sit and wait to be handed this world, I ll work and I ll fight for my position I ll succeed, while they wait for me to fail c Q His life holds the strength of the generations of spirits who came before him All the islanders who line up behind him like an army, giving him the power to continue the fight that they could not c Q It s easy, when surrounded by people who question you, to begin questioning yourself c Q He exuded the confidence only a person who knows the world belongs to them can exude There s no need for self consciousness, or to second guess your actions, or the words that fall from your mouth, when you know there will be no consequence when you know that the world will still be yours c Q She has always wanted to learn as much as she could, reading her texts and studying her sciences, doing her experiments on herbs and blood but for Erik, his curiosity appeared in other ways His was a curiosity for life Curiosity for others for their bodies, for their lives He longed to know the stories of the people around him Longed to know their motivations, their desires c Q Gods, what he could do with this kraft of mine learn the secrets of all those around him, learn of their desires so that he can fulfill them Erik doesn t believe in forcing the loyalty of others He believes in inspiring such a love in followers that they would die for him c Q It s interesting to me that he can feel confident that he ll live, but is also resigned to die c Q Yes, of course Marieke was my slave, when I wouldn t grant her the coin my family owed her for her years of service, along with the coin owed her dead daughter and the girl s father How could she be anything but a slave, when she had nowhere to live, no food to eat, no opportunity She d had no choice but to stay with me, L ren believes, and this perhaps was the worst sort of slavery one that s mocking as it declares its freedom, punishing Marieke for making her imagine it s her own choice in staying c NOW AVAILABLE i showed up early to a book reading signing last week, and once i had settled comfortably into my seat, i took this book out of my bag and started reading the woman next to me noticed the cover and exclaimed that she had just finished it herself and loved it, enthusiastically praising its merits.this is that kind of book the people who love it are going to gush about it chatting up strangers, recommending it to friends, gift wrapping it for family members me, i m the jerk who NOW AVAILABLE i showed up early to a book reading signing last week, and once i had settled comfortably into my seat, i took this book out of my bag and started reading the woman next to me noticed the cover and exclaimed that she had just finished it herself and loved it, enthusiastically praising its merits.this is that kind of book the people who love it are going to gush about it chatting up strangers, recommending it to friends, gift wrapping it for family members me, i m the jerk who can t keep my mouth shut and just nod along when a very sweet lady a fellow book nerd is so passionate about a book that she assumes everyone loves it as much as she did, and i gotta go and deflate her squee bubble with my honest but mood killing, yeah, i m halfway through and i m still trying to get into it so, yeah it s that kind of book, but i m not that kind of reader before i dig in, i will say that the turn in this caught me completely off guard in the best possible way a perfectly fair play resolution to the mystery that i did not see coming, but was so satisfying a solution that i thought it was going to be one of those books with such a strong ending that it would redeem the so so feelings i d had up until that point but no the ending islike a baton pass or a hot potato, which wouldn t ordinarily bother me, if i d been enjoying the book, but in this case it made me feel like shouting WHY IS THIS MY RESPONSIBILITY still, for a third act chunk of it, i was so hooked there s so much almost here so much i almost like, and now that i ve finished it, i wish i could sit down with that nice lady from the reading and hash it all out with her instead, i ll just type words here by myself sniff.first things first i read an ARC of this, and it s an ARC that one hopes was going to have another editorial go round before publication it s got all sorts of distracting typos and misused words, and that s fine that s pretty much expected in an ARC, and my brain will overwrite the errors as it reads, but there re also some less cosmetic issues that bugged me inconsistencies and repetitions and stylistic awkwardness, and it s hard to know if this is fix it in post ARC roughness that ll be smoothed and tightened in the final book, or if i m just not keen on the author s storytelling choices the nutshell plot this is a fantasy slant on scandinavian colonialism in the caribbean, in a world where certain individuals are born with magical abilities known as kraft here, the collectively named islanders have been enslaved by the fjern, subjected to all the brutality and indignities of historical slavery, as well as the authorized execution of any islander found to have kraft, which is considered too dangerous a weapon for the oppressed to have only one of the many islands making up the nation of hans lollik is held by an islander one sigourney lund, who was born sigourney rose, daughter of a noble family who were all massacred when she was a little girl she escaped, but was presumed dead, and has been in hiding ever since, plotting to avenge her family, take the throne for her people, and then free her slaves along with all of the others she is also the only islander reluctantly permitted to have kraft, which in her manifests as the ability to read minds using her power to manipulate those around her, not above a little light murder, she manages to arrange her marriage to a fjerd whose family is one of the kongelig noble families and advisors to the king, who has summoned the kongelig to his island for the storm season, at the end of which he will choose his successor from their number this number of contenders gets smaller and smaller as the kongelig begin to die mysteriously during their time on the island, and, although she does not mind that her competition is being eliminated these pale skinned monsters responsible for her family s death sigourney begins to suspect all is not as it seems with the king, the kongelig, the whole situation the premise is excellent the outline of the story is great, if you were to bullet point it all out, but the difficulty for me as a reader is in the delivery the mode of storytelling i wholeheartedly applaud callender s decision to make sigourney an unsympathetic protagonist, which was entirely successful she is not well liked certainly not by the fjerd, who despise her on racial grounds, but also by her own people, who see her as a race traitor for not freeing her own slaves for both of these reasons, she also hates herself, which readers are told again and again throughout the novel her big plan is to take the throne, free her people, and be seen as some savior, but she s unwilling to free her own slaves until she achieves this goal because she reasons she needs them in order to get the throne in the first place to be seen as an equal to the fjern, whose respect she craves even as she despises them, thinking that playing the game by their rules is the only way to win she consoles herself with the fact that she doesn t beat or execute her slaves much , and she s really doing all of this for her people and they ll thank her for it later all of which is wildly self delusional, which her people recognize even if she can t the fjern will never consider her an equal because that s how racism works, her people will never forgive her for owning them, and she s really only out for her own power and status she s selfish and entitled and so fortunate to be free, she s no different than the kongelig believing that she knows what s best for the islanders and making decisions for them accordingly What have I done for this boy for any of the slaves of Hans Lollik to hate me the way that they do Shouldn t they be glad, to see one of their own free and among the kongelig, to potentially gain the power to release us all from the Fjern I ve sacrificed myself for this my freedom, my peace, potentially my life and rather than meeting me with thanks and love, I m met with such hatred.it s a bold move on the author s part, making the protagonist so very much part of the problem, so complicit in the power structures keeping her own people down, so superficially conflicted, morally, about bedding her slaves when she feels the need for physical attentions i prefer a complex, ethically challenged character to one who s squeaky clean and flat like beata larsen, the true love of sigourney s new husband , and i could have put up with sigourney s constant stream of shame and self loathing if she d demonstrated some of the ambition and ferocity that got her to this part of her journey, but once she gets to the island, once her goal is in sight, she just stalls she obeys the king s orders and submits to the other kongelig s demands, even when she doesn t agree with them, but when it comes to furthering her own agenda, she slows her roll, earning her an admonishment from her ally and confidante marieke, the only slave she s ever freedYou should have patience, yes but not to the point that you miss your opportunity for someone who wants to rule the world, she sure isn t enterprising she discovers things and then just sorta waits around to see what will happen next, like there aren t bodies dropping all around her and everyone hates her and she could be next she s inflexible sticking to her plan, unable or unwilling to act on new information adapt to new circumstances even when it becomes clear that she needs to adjust her approach for someone who can read minds, she sure can t read a room or understand people or most unforgivably tell a story.and here s where i finally address my biggest complaint with the book it s about time exclaims the one person still reading this review this book is written as one info dump after another, as sigourney reads people s minds and turns it into pages of exposition, which makes for such a dull and uninflected reading experience when there s dialogue, yay when there s action, bigger yay but pages of first person present tense regurgitation of what people are thinking and feeling, recounting their memories and motivations, is just so limiting it s a slog to get through least, it was for me anyway, there it is there s a lot in this book that i appreciated, and there were scenes that i liked, and a moment where i thought it could be love, but the writing style was difficult for me to get into, so as excellent as the excellent parts truly were, the first 3 4 of it was stylistically exhausting, and i could not recover, even though i so badly wanted to i m also curious whether the author s insistence that there re is a word will pass the gate where are we on this it s not something i ve seen before outside of phonetic dialogue, and they used it a lot and it stabbed me in the eye every time i am blaming the overuse of the word there re for this bloodblob that appeared in my eye last week when i was reading this book and i only just now, when complaining about this word, made the causal connection j accuse resumed pause for now fifty pages in and it s not grabbing me yet, or i m not getting it yet, but the writing style is uneven and the too many typos in the ARC are distracting and i have too much to read right now to handle a slow pacer, so imma zoom through some less demanding books and circle back, maybe continuing with a finished copy I WILL RETURN come to my blog I feel like this particular snake is making an appearance on all my highly anticipated SFF novels of 2019, and I m not mad about itMany thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. I feel like this particular snake is making an appearance on all my highly anticipated SFF novels of 2019, and I m not mad about itMany thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. Focus on yourself and your ambitions and soon you ll find that you care not what a single person thinks. The premise of this book is incredible It s set in an alt Euro colonised Caribbean island archipelago, where the white colonisers have enslaved the black islanders and the worst vilenesses of slavery go on The various islands are ruled by white families Our POV character is Sigourney, the mixed race inheritor of a white family who were murdered by the other top families and who is now scheming her way to becoming the next regent of the islands, in order to wreak revenge for her bereavement an The premise of this book is incredible It s set in an alt Euro colonised Caribbean island archipelago, where the white colonisers have enslaved the black islanders and the worst vilenesses of slavery go on The various islands are ruled by white families Our POV character is Sigourney, the mixed race inheritor of a white family who were murdered by the other top families and who is now scheming her way to becoming the next regent of the islands, in order to wreak revenge for her bereavement and gain power Not, you note, in order to free her people This is not YA, and Sigourney is a magnificent depiction of the oppressed becoming the oppressor She talks about wanting to free the islanders, wanting their love but she s still a slave owner, she sexually exploits slaves and has them whipped or killed when it suits her, and there is a superbly chilling moment when, asked if she will free her people when she s regent, she reflects that, after all, will the islands be economically viable without slave labour This is one of the best depictions of the corruption of colonialism I ve ever seen she s outraged at racist wrongs to herself but the sorry sordid truth is she doesn t want to change the system so much as she wants to be on top of it It reminds me powerfully of Wizard of the Crow in the way it shows the cascade of evils that flow from colonialism This aspect of the book is just so good Sigourney isn t evil or sociopathic she s not even abnormally selfish, and that s the most monstrous thing of all The author s note comments that everyone now assumes they d have been part of the resistance or the revolution or the Underground Railway, whereas, in fact, an awful lot of people and especially those who aren t being oppressed will stay complicit in oppression rather than risking their own privilege And when it s a choice between Sigourney s own wellbeing or that of a slavewell, she debates it internally, but she always makes the same choice The awful thing is, we re fairly sure she would have been a perfectly adequate human if she hadn t been born into a society of grotesque inequality and racial cruelty and violence, but she was, and we see how warped it makes her Let me state here that anyone going oh but the heroine was so unlikeable about this book has missed the point so hard they re going backwards There s a sort of mystery element to the book where the top families come together to be considered for the regency in a wild Game of Thrones thing as they set about murdering each other The revelation of the killer at the end is spectacular view spoiler in large part because the author totally blindsides the reader by making us complicit in the habits of thinking that also blindside the victims It s a genius twist, which is underdelivered in a really odd way by having it conveyed as a sort of synopsis hide spoiler The book is let down by some editing issues, mostly repetition The narrative tells us the same things repeatedly, giving us the motives or attributes of characters over and over again, sometimes within just a couple of pages This slows the book badly and really should have been dealt with by a line editor, especially with a book this long I think you could lose 10% by cutting the repetition I m cross it wasn t, because the book is original, powerful, engaging, and necessary They would rather burn the throne to the ground than let you sit on it Then I ll sit on its ashes This review is about Kacen Callender s 2019 fantasy Queen of the Conquered, their adult debut Spoilers follow, as well as trigger warnings for sexual violence The entirely of this review will be on the subject of slavery and colonialism as well So What s It About From Goodreads Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik When she was a chiThey would rather burn the throne to the ground than let you sit on it Then I ll sit on its ashes This review is about Kacen Callender s 2019 fantasy Queen of the Conquered, their adult debut Spoilers follow, as well as trigger warnings for sexual violence The entirely of this review will be on the subject of slavery and colonialism as well So What s It About From Goodreads Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers lest she become the next victim.What I Thought The F Word Queen of the Conquered is unabashedly hideous Perhaps it seems redundant to say this about a book entirely about racism, slavery and colonialism But I think this book s power lies specifically in the fact that time and again it delves unflinchingly and remorselessly into the worst that human beings are capable of, and time and again it comes back with troubling, thought provoking questions about complicity, privilege and the lies we tell ourselves about the harm we do in the world.On one level, this book is concerned with the psyche of white supremacy how it relates to greed and material gain, the way that it reifies itself through processes of dehumanization and brutality over centuries We see the human cost of these oppressive systems in their agonizing reality, and we see the way that colonialism justifies its abuses by insisting that it s actually all for the good of the colonized Some of the violence in this book is explicit and impossible to ignore, but Callender is just as interested in the subtleties of the racist ideology, showing that even the most enlightened and liberal people of a privileged group cannot entirely escape that ugly way that that privilege was earned or the insidious way that white supremacy weeds its way into the mind.On another level, this book is equally interested in the psyche of a very specific class of people those with some modicum of privilege and societal power who are nevertheless oppressed in other aspects of their identity This is where Callender explores something that I ve rarely seen explored in fiction the way that a person of a marginalized identity may become complicit in a system of oppression because they are privileged in other ways and stand to profit from the system of oppression because of that aspect of privilege Sigourney is black, yes, but she is a free woman who controls her own island and therefore reports to the kongelig and upholds the massive mechanism of slavery that keeps the colony running.She is an incredibly complicated character there are moments of clarity where she is full of self loathing for her complicity in her own people s oppression, but for every one of those there are everwhere she justifies her actions to herself, telling herself that she is using her privilege for a noble cause, telling herself that she could not achieve her goals of overthrowing the kongelig without playing by their rules But I don t think it s actually justice for her people that she is after, merely selfish vengeance at the cost of the people she currently enslaves She tells herself that the ends justify the means, but how can this be true if the means are slavery, murder and rape The twist at the end of this book is absolutely fantastic, and I d rather not spoil it for anyone Rather, all I ll say is that with the story moving in its current direction I couldn t beexcited to see what happens next oppression may divide the oppressed, and the ultimate revelation of how this may be weaponized was excellent.My main concerns about Queen of the Conquered involve the pacing issues created by the inclusion of Sigourney s kraft, which is psychic magic This ends up taking the form of infodumps about people s lives, and while the majority of the psychological profiles were interesting I have to admit that it could be frustrating for the plot to slow to a crawl every few pages while Sigourney explained every character s secrets and thoughts The reveal at the end was explained solely by Sigourney reading people s minds, which felt like an odd way to convey the most important part of the story In addition, I ended up getting a little impatient with the way that Callender repeated the same world building and exposition pointsthan once I sometimes appreciate this if the world is especially complex, but in this case I didn t think it was necessary.I also read a lot of reviews that complained about Sigourney as a protagonist, which I think boils down to how comfortable you are subjectively with morally grey and deluded protagonists She repeatedly makes terrible decisions and engages in despicable practices such as forcing her slaves to sleep with her, and she could be extremely hard to stomach at times I m able to sit with a protagonist I despise as long as the hatefulness is in service of an interesting point, which I think it is in this case But if you don t like reading about shitty peoplewell, stay away from this one.About the AuthorBorn and raised in St Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen Callender is the award winning author of the middle grade novels Hurricane Child and King and the Dragonflies, the young adult novels This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and Felix Ever After, and the adult novel Queen of the Conquered Kacen was previously an Associate Editor of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, where they acquired and edited novels including Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles, the New York Times bestseller Internment by Samira Ahmed, and the Stonewall Honor award winning novel Ivy Aberdeen s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake Your own people hate you You ve betrayed them Abandoned them, for coin and comfort, while they re enslaved and raped and tortured and murdered around you No one has any love for you, even if you pretend they do Even if you force them to You have no true allies or friends Those closest to you want you deadAnd at the end of the day, that is exactly what Sigourney Rose is You may be spending half, if not the entire novel, feeling sorry for herYour own people hate you You ve betrayed them Abandoned them, for coin and comfort, while they re enslaved and raped and tortured and murdered around you No one has any love for you, even if you pretend they do Even if you force them to You have no true allies or friends Those closest to you want you deadAnd at the end of the day, that is exactly what Sigourney Rose is You may be spending half, if not the entire novel, feeling sorry for her that her grand scheme of liberating her people is such a well kept secret that no body around her can see that she s only trying her best and sacrificing herself for her people, her slaves.She may have deluded herself into thinking she s a liberator, but truly the fuel that drives her climb to the top is a tumultuous balance between the power for vengeance, and power for power s sake Liberating her people is at best a potential side effect, and at worst a lie she tells herself to help her sleep better at nightYou re lying to yourself, Elskerinde Jannik Tell me, how do you envision these islands under your rule I think of the land, lush and green with fruit, my people walking free This is what my mother would ve wanted But even as the image crosses my mind, questions fill me How will our islands continue to compete in the world s economy if there are no slaves to work the land We will make ourselves vulnerable for another attack if I release all the guards of the islands as well The Fjern would send their armies to quell my rebellion, and we would be massacred. But because we re so deep in the present first narrative that is Sigourney Rose, it s easy for us to buy into her self justifications, unless we take a step back and start to see her for her actions, not her plans She is a slave owner She takes her slaves to bed She kills slaves as punishment for breaking certain oppressor rules She otherwise enforces the kongelig s laws and whether it s to blend in with the oppressors she plans to overthrow and play them at their own game, it already says a lot that this was the path to liberation that she chose.So even though you might not like Sigourney, and that may taint your feelings towards the rest of the book, it at least works in creating an unsympathetic but believable character It s also successful in its goal to show how easy it is for us to assume we would fall on the right side of history, but the world isn t as simple as that.I did enjoy this book To strip it off its parts, it all boils down to a murder mystery which is my thing on top of a deep, thought provoking character study also my thing , set in a carribean esque part of the fantasy world So yes, triple shot of my cuppa tea, but that s not to say it isn t without flaws.For one, if you re not into bouts of navel gazing, or for slow build ups with little action, this might not be the book for you A lot of Queen of the Conquered relies on drama and tension The mystery aspect isn t resolved until the very end, and in a manner which I personally found a bit of a let down Sigourney has the ability of mind control, which also means she can read minds This is how the mystery is resolved She reads it off the mind of a character, which was previously inaccessible to her.This inaccessibility is sometimes due to external factors characters having the ability to close off their own minds from her, either by strict practice or by their own form of Kraft butoften than not, it s by her own doing She avoids reading the minds of slaves, for example, because feeling the brunt of their hatred, their pain and suffering, makes her feel like shit pretty much.But towards the end of the novel, we suddenly learn that people are also able, if they wanted, to show Sigourney untruthful thoughts This felt as a bit of a contrivance for me, as all along it seemed by way of the narrative that Signourney has been able to simply dive into the thoughts of other people Even become someone else, as she puts it She is able to see their childhood, their fears, desires, motivations how is it possible that someone can project a misleading thought to her, if she has this uncanny ability to see even what you ate for breakfast That aside, the voice itself may be a bit dry and monotonous for some I personally didn t mind it, but I surely noticed it There are moments where Sigourney s mind reading abilities become a source of confusion, shifting the narrative from first person close to third person omniscient at the snap of a finger It was kind of pushing it for me Sometimes we would be looking into the thoughts of a certain Character A, but the narrative somehow flows into a biographical history of the completely different Character B, which Character A should not have known about.A lot of readers will probably already be thrown off by the narrative voice and the difficult terms and titles thrown at us as of Page Oneand no, there isn t a glossary of terms includedIt s petty and disgustingly anglo centric of me to say, but every time I read Kraft, I automatically think of the cheese Anyway Took me out of the sombre atmosphere quite a bit.Finally, the conclusion of Queen of the Conquered I mentioned the resolution to the mystery before, how I found its execution a bit of an anti climax Although it was served upon the silver platter of infodump, the twist itself was great Not one I saw coming, to be honest But it was a double edged sword.It made all the perfect sense in the world, and it drove the message s of the book even further home So in that regard, the answers and resolution thereafter was a perfect fit for the novel.On the other hand, it also introduced a third element an untold story, filled with characters and plots that were completely unbeknownst to us One filled withscheming and plotting, and perhaps a story, the story, that some type of readers would have found infinitelyinteresting At this point, I m just gonna add every book with this snake on the cover It s the exact same snake and all the books sound oh so good

!!> Ebook ➮ Queen of the Conquered ➯ Author Kacen Callender – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 400 pages
  • Queen of the Conquered
  • Kacen Callender
  • English
  • 14 January 2019
  • 0316454931