It’s been a while, recently life has caught up with me in different ways and I’ve found myself more hectic than usual which means I drop the ball on some things, like reading or updating this blog.
Hopefully by next week things calm down and I’ll go back to regular posting.
Today I have a very exciting review, I’ve been waiting to talk about this book since I received confirmation I was part of Caffeine Book Tours’ Blog Tour 🙂 I got the chance to receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours as part of my participation in their tour.
King of the Rising
by Kacen Callender
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Release Date: 1st Dec, 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
The second novel in the Islands of Blood and Storm series set in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression—perfect for fans of R.F. Kuang and Tasha Suri.
A revolution has swept through the islands of Hans Lollik and former slave Loren Jannik has been chosen to lead the survivors in a bid to free the islands forever. But the rebels are running out of food, weapons and options.
And as the Fjern inch closer to reclaiming Hans Lollik with every battle, Loren is faced with a choice that could shift the course of the revolution in their favor-or doom it to failure.
6 reasons to read this book
*high fantasy story
*Caribbean inspired archipelago
*slow paced book, political
*honest and brutal exploration of slavery and colonialism
*MC is a former enslaved person, former bodyguard to first book MC and now leader of this rebellion
*discusses racism, good intentions, empathetic main character, revolution, the complex world of colonialism, slavery, search for revenge and struggle for freedom
cw: racism, slavery, torture, sexual assault, violence, descriptions of death
First of all, I would like to say if you haven’t had a chance to read the first book of this duology, I am not sure what you are waiting for. This book (and this duology) blew my mind, they were just the high fantasy books I’ve been wanting to read forever. This duology is vivid, brutal, graphic, emotional and I would say a perfect reflection on slavery and racism. That said, it is too easy to get caught up on all the characters and their plots.
King of the Rising is the second book in the Islands of Blood and Storm duology. It continues on the story from Queen of the Conquered but this time the point of view and thoughts of the book change. In book 1 we were presented with Sigourney’s story, her thoughts and motivations to become queen/ruler of the islands. In Book 2 we get to hear of her fate, how she went from that to being imprisoned but from Loren’s point of view, her former enslaved bodyguard/now captor/boy who the spirits wouldn’t let die.
Although it is a continuation of the first book, it follows a few months later when the revolution has already happened led by Loren, two months after the island fell. When we are not sure what will happen, will they find support for their revolution or will they end up captured and killed?
I loved the high stakes of this book, I especially loved that in comparison to other fantasy books the man and the women are not lovers, nor do they have to be. I loved the setting of this book (and the previous), it isn’t everyday I get to read and enjoy a book set inspired by the Caribbean, and it is so easy to see so many aspects of it. I loved the fantasy aspects of the book, the Kraft and the explanation of it, how some were deemed worthy of having it and others should be punished
My favourite thing about this series was how flawed both main characters were, Loren, the main character of this book is a strong, honest man, who at times is too empathetic and lets his feelings and emotions lead him to decisions. While Sigourney was too stuck in her ways and her quest for revenge. They both have distinct motivations and reasons. They’re both not easy to like but like I mentioned before you do get caught up in their plots. Both are not right or even wrong in their ways to go about things, but they make mistakes, and it always feel (like in real life) there’s always things they could’ve foreseen but life is not neat.
I keep wanting to write more about King of the Rising, and write more explicitly about some aspects of it, but if there is one book that shouldn’t be spoiled and everyone should get to read it and enjoy (or not) the ending is this book.
That said, the ending still left me speechless, I am not sure what I expected in the end, but while it left me listless for a while, I can understand why it ended the way it did (do you see how vague I am being so you can be curious and go read this duology? did it work?)
Overall, if you’re looking for a high fantasy, that doesn’t fall into any cliches of fantasy tales, that is not afraid of being brutal and honest and that is not afraid of subverting your expectations, this book might just be the perfect thing for you. Add to that a whole lot of Caribbean inspired fantasy, racism and colonialism discussions, a main character who is not perfect and you end up with the most intriguing storyline you will read in this whole year.
Kacen Callender was born two days after a hurricane and was first brought home to a house without its roof. After spending their first eighteen years on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen studied Japanese, Fine Arts, and Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received their MFA from the New School. Kacen is the author of the middle grade novel Hurricane Child and the young adult novel This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story.
It’s been really fun getting to talk about this book, I hope I have given you enough to want to check it out.
Thank you to Caffeine Book Tours and to the publishers for letting me enjoy this book before it is released.