Book Reviews, Book Tours

Book Tour: King of the Rising by Kacen Callender

King of the Rising
Kacen Callender

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: December 1, 2020


Liz here! We are so excited to be participating in our very first book tour! A special thank you to Caffeine Book Tours for inviting us to participate in the King of the Rising book tour, and a thank you to Orbit Books and NetGalley for providing a digital and physical ARC of the book.

Caffeine Book Tours is hosting a wonderful giveaway in which one winner will receive a finished copy of Queen of the Conquered AND King of the Rising from Orbit Books. Click here to see all the stops on the book tour and to enter the giveaway. And now, on to the book!

About the Book

This is book #2 in the Islands of Blood and Storm duology. Please note that there are spoilers for book #1, Queen of the Conquered, in this post!

King of the Rising is the searing conclusion to an unflinching and powerful Caribbean-inspired fantasy series about colonialism, resilience and defiance.

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. -Orbit Books

The Review

I thoroughly enjoyed Callender’s Queen of the Conquered. I was so excited to read the second book in this duology. King of the Rising did not disappoint. In fact, I liked it a little more than the first book!

King of the Rising is just as brutal and harsh as Queen of the Conquered, and the story is just as intriguing. Reader please note that this book contains racism, slavery, torture, assault, and descriptions of death. It is not a light read by any means, and the plot is a heavy one. If the above-mentioned content warnings are things that you are prepared to read about, then Callender has written a powerful, complex, and rewarding conclusion to their fantasy series.

King of the Rising picks up where the first book left off. Sigourney Rose has been taken prisoner and the enslaved people forced to live and work on Hans Lollick Helle and the surrounding islands have orchestrated an uprising and taken over. The kongelig are all dead, buried in the ground as a snub to their custom of being buried at sea. The rebellion is in full swing, but can it succeed?

I really love following Loren’s point of view in this book. He is such an interesting but elusive character in the first book, and I wanted to know so much more about him. It’s also interesting seeing Sigourney through another character’s eyes, since I personally feel like the reader did not come to know her too personally in the first book. Even though the first book is from her point of view, she remains impersonal, so I appreciate seeing her from the “outside” as it were. Both Sigourney and Loren are morally ambiguous characters, and I love when an author pulls it off (which they did) because it makes a story even more layered, nuanced, and complex.

I find Callender’s writing style to be a bit more lyrical this time around, which I personally enjoy as a reader. I think the writing in the first book is a bit straightforward and repetitive. That’s completely fine- just not my style. There are still some repetitive parts in this book, but the dialogue flows more smoothly. All in all, I really like this series and I love this book!

Recommended for…

Lovers of fantasy, tough themes, action, and people interested in reading more fantasy books by authors of color. If you loved their book Felix Ever After, check out this book as well!

About the Author

Born and raised in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen Callender is a bestselling and 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 and its forthcoming sequel King of the Rising.

They enjoy playing RPG video games in their free time.​

Kacen currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.


Far Flung Readers blog received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from Orbit Books and Caffeine Book Tours as part of our participation in the King of the Rising book tour. A big “thank you” to them! You can read more about our partnerships and affiliate participation here.

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