Book Review: Now I Rise (Kiersten White)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Corgi Children’s

Pages: 480

Release Date: July 6th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Review:

I loved And I Darken but something stopped me giving it 5 stars. I have no such qualms about this sequel though. Whatever unknown thing was missing from the first, the second had it by the bucket load and I loved it.

Your favourite opposite siblings are back, struggling through life, love and war. Lada will do whatever she needs to secure the Wallachian throne, and she doesn’t care who or what she has to destroy to achieve her goals. Meanwhile, Radu will do whatever he can to secure Mehmed’s heart, even if it means leaving his side.

While in the first book I was more interested in Lada’s story, this time I couldn’t wait to get back to Radu’s chapters. His internal battle with his feelings for Mehmed was fascinating and I felt for him so much. Even as he began to realise how toxic the relationship was, he couldn’t help his feelings. I wanted to tear him away from Mehmed and knock some sense into him but we’ve all been there.

Radu’s conflicting feelings over Constantinople were heartbreaking too. It’s one thing to be part of a war and think of a group of people as the enemy, but how do you maintain these feelings when you’re living among them and realise they’re just people too. I love stories that show how war tears you apart and this one showed the atrocities committed on both sides perfectly. After all he’s seen and the choices he’s made, I can’t wait to see where his story goes next.

I still loved Lada’s journey, even if Radu’s was the one that I looked forward to. She’s as headstrong and cruel as ever and is tearing up the land and anyone who gets in her way, along with her loyal band of men. I love her insistence on being prince and doing things her own way, to make things better for her people. Also, kudos for the mention of periods, always great to see something like that in YA!

This book builds on the solid foundations of the first book and takes the characters you love on an incredible journey. The character growth is amazing and I challenge you not to love these siblings!

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