Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender
Reviewed by Sam!
What I drank prior: ok so Ginny came out from her room and was like “are we getting drunk?” And who was I to say no? I’ve had about a bottle of wine, maybe more.
An 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 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.
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.
Drunk Overview: it’s real hard to describe this story but imma try. Si gourmet (Sober Edit: LOL her name is Sigourney, that’s the best autocorrect ever) is the last living descendant of the only black free family of the Caribbean and no one knows. Folks are so pissed she’s got power cause she’s black though she only wants power to avenge her family and to free the damn slaves. Oh and most of the white folks have power but S can read minds and the white folk don’t like that. This is basically her story to smother the white man. And I am here for it.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: this was not an easy story to read but I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want slavery to be sugar coated I wanted to feel uncomfortable and this story delivered.
Characters: I want to be super clear….I am white. So so fucking white. My FAMILY is not white passing. We are from South America. Though while my family deals with hardships every day I do not so I literally can’t understand what people of color go through. I will say that Sigourney is ducking compelling. She knows what she wants and what she’s after and no one will stand in her way. It’s not normal to see a main character so intent on killing others than this. She wants to kill all aristocracy and it is JUSTIFIED. before I move on I want that clear. She wants to kill all white folk and it is JUSTIFIED.
Secondly I love that she is morally gray but only until it huts her morals. That’s the beauty of morally grey and I need more of it in my life and please give me more content I t his vein. Segourney is such a well thought out character with strengths and flaws and I love her.
Plot: this story was pretty slow. So May political machinations while also trying to vary plot made it disjointed but I loved the characters enough not to care about how their lives went. There were definite “oh fuck but actually yeah that makes sense” moments”
Writing Style: the first person present was weird but I actually loved it? LOCED IT.
World Building: NEED MKRE NOW
What to pair it with: a hurricane. What a strong rum drink. So Sweet but so fucked up but you can’t get enough. Exactly like the rebellion stories we love that include the anti racist themes were taught to ignore. I know it’s hard to talk about but this book is important. It is one of many non-white stories of colonialism that rebel against the white man and I love it. If I’m honest, I hate white folk. All of them. We have literally no idea what it’s like and stories like these only marginally help. I’m stoked to see it come into existence. It’s so refreshing.
I am hella white. My family is not. I see what my life has afforded me and it is not fair. Anyone who says it is is wrong.
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,