Check out my review of the first book in this series, AND I DARKEN, here! And thank you to Random House for sending me a copy of NOW I RISE 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.
NOW I RISE was. a. blast! I had so much fun reading this one. As much as I liked the first book, And I Darken, I enjoyed Now I Rise much more.
I definitely felt like the pacing hit its stride in this book. I've found that oftentimes the first book in a series is filled to the brim with world building and story/character set-up. That's totally fine. I've come to expect it from new series and most of the time I appreciate it. But sequels are usually where my heart truly lies, and Now I Rise was no exception to this. It's full of action from the get go. Lada was her usual dragon of a self, and Radu(my precious Radu that I still want to stick in my pocket) finally got the action-y scenes he deserved.
(I still hate Mehmed though. Mehmed is the actual worst.)
Now I Rise did a great job of showing that there is no clear right or wrong in war. People on both sides think they're right, think they're fighting for what is in their opinion good. There are good people in every group, no side it wholly bad. Seeing both Lada and especially Radu struggle with these facts was mesmerizing. It really made their characters more relatable. Their own struggles with good and bad in themselves made them seem more human. They both made good decisions and they both made bad decisions that made me cringe. Their choices really drove the plot of this installment, and really pulled me into the story.
I can't wait for book three. Kiersten White has me fully invested in her characters, in this story, and I'm dying to know what happens next. The ending of Now I Rise was fantastic, and I have really high hopes for where this series is headed.
If you haven't already, I highly recommend checking out this series. Both books are available now, you can order from the links below!
And I Darken:
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Now I Rise:
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository