After beginning their career writing young adult fiction, Kacen Callender published a debut adult novel, 2019’s Queen of the Conquered, that thrust the genre into a place seldom explored in fantasy: a Carribean-inspired world, where slavery is the main economic driver. Queen of the Conquered follows a Black woman named Sigourney Rose, a former noble who has been gifted with a peculiar “kraft” to read minds and potentially bend them to her will. After colonizing marauders massacre her family, Sigourney strikes out on a quest for revenge in a rapidly shifting political environment where distinguishing between allies and enemies grows ever more difficult. Callender, who was born in the aftermath of a hurricane in the U.S. Virgin Islands, delivers an intensely compelling story in a world that is both familiar and yet jarringly distorted, with laser focus on often-overlooked experiences and injustices. —Peter Allen Clark

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