I received this book for free from NetGalley/Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Now I Rise by by Kiersten White
Release date: June 27th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
Last year I found the first book in the series, And I Darken, to be extremely intriguing. I loved the idea of Vlad the Impaler being reimagined as a woman. The story was unique, dark and oh so violent. I enjoyed And I Darken but had issues with its pacing and some of the characters. However, the ending, well it did its job and left me wanting more. I didn’t think twice when this book was posted on NetGalley. I requested it right away.
Usually, the sequel isn’t as good as the first book. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but it is at least for me. But Now I Rise definitely broke this trend and floored me! It built on all of the amazing things featured in its predecessor…it was just AMAZING! Seriously, if you had any doubts about the first book you need to read this one! It’s perfectly dark, brutal and historically believable. Ahhh…I loved it!
While the main characters in the first book were well rounded and developed, the side characters felt like plot devices. They would show up for a few pages, cause some trouble and disappear. Here that is totally not the case! In fact, the side characters really got to shine and they new ones are perfect! You just never know what they will do and it kept even the slower parts moving along.
Talking about characters, I actually grew to love Radu. I know, I know. In the first book I found him whiney and slightly irritating but here he’s just so precious! He actually stands up and fights for the people he loves. His character development was so well done. I groaned and most definitely grumbled with some of the decisions he made but not everyone is perfect. *shrugs* Lada wasn’t as in your face as she was in the first book. Here she’s already a blood thirsty soldier. She’s cruel, dark and somehow sympathetic. I don’t know…she’s not a “nice” or “good” character at all. She wouldn’t think twice about slicing your throat but I just want her to succeed so badly. Does that even make any sense?
Basically, Now I Rise is one of those rare sequels that are better than their predecessor. If you were on the fence with And I Darken you need to give this book a try. It takes all of the best parts of the first book and further creates an intriguing world of war, politics and betrayal. I can’t believe that I’ll have to wait another year for the third book!
About the Author
Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; and Illusions of Fate. She also coauthored In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further away times.
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