Title: Now I Rise
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House)
Ppublished: June 27, 2017
A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
She has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself.
After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada Dracul 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.
– My Review –
I waited for over a year to read this book, since I read an advanced copy of And I Darken back in April of 2016, and it was definitely worth the wait! Over the past year and a bit, I kept thinking about Lada, Mehmed, and Radu every then and again, and I was very happy to finally be able to read about them again. All of the characters developed very naturally from the start of And I Darken and the end of Now I Rise, which I think is great! Certain things went in a different direction than I’d expected it, but due to how real and natural it all felt, I found that I was content with it all by the end. This is not to say that I wouldn’t probably sell part of my soul to read the third book right now!
Lada still remains one of my favourite heroines. She is fierce and knows what she wants, and will will not stop until she attains said wanted thing. It’s an inspiration to see such an empowered female character kick some ass, especially in a time period where females were seen as nothing but cooks and breeders. I found that I liked Radu a lot more in this book than the previous one, and he did grow on me quite a bit. And as for Mehmed, well, I think that I’m as confused about him as both of the Dracul siblings are! And speaking of the Dracul siblings, I also really liked how their relationship progressed in this book! If you’ve read the book already, you’ll know what I mean. I won’t say any more, in order to avoid spoilers.
White’s writing also improved since And I Darken, and I still really like how she integrated history and fiction so seamlessly into her narrative. Whether real, or made up, White harnesses it all and bend it into the shape that she wants it to be. (Or what the story wants itself to be, because as a on-again-off-again writer, I know that a story can sometimes have a mind of its own.) There were a few turns of phrase, and character quotes that I now also wish I’d written down or stickynoted. But in either case, the plot progresses at a good speed. I would have preferred it all to move just a bit quicker, just because I was eager to see where the end of the book would take us, but considering everything that had to happen along the way, moving things along more quickly would have caused some confusion for readers. It would also have the book shorter, which for a lover of thick books, is a big “no no.”
In the case that you have not read my review for the first book, And I Darken, I will say again that this story is one that I hold close to my heart because I think it’s so awesome that a historical figure and locations from the region where I was born has made it into bestselling YA book series in North America! I am Transylvanian, and over there we view Vlad Dracul, or Vlad the Impaler as a hero. At least the basics of Vlad and his family is also known by the majority of the population there! These books have therefore been quite fun for me, and I’ve recommended them to any of my family who reads YA, and they’re always just as surprised and delighted when they find out what the series is about!
I recommend this book to those who have read And I Darken, and those who enjoy detailed historical YA, warfare, politics, and complex as well as realistic relationships! Those who are new to the series would have to read And I Darken before Now I Rise however, so as not to miss some important details! Plus, why wouldn’t you want more of Lada, Mehmed, and Radu?!
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THANK YOU FOR READING MY REVIEW! HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, DO YOU WANT TO, OR NOT? HOW COME? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!