Well this is going to be another positive review for NOW I RISE. In case you haven’t heard about this series, this is the second book in The Conqueror’s Saga. I had so much love for AND I DARKEN, so my hopes were high for the follow up. I was not at all disappointed.
“No one will be more brutal than me. No one will be more ruthless. And I will never stop fighting.”
Lada has gone home to Wallachia only to find that she cannot secure the throne. Her goal to become prince of Wallachia is all consuming. She and her men will stop at nothing to get what Lada deserves. Lada is accompanied by her childhood friend, Bogdan. She is also missing her brother Radu, and requests him to join her. Radu is sent on a mission by Mehmed to pretend to deflect and spy in the great city of Constantinople. Mehmed is obsessed with his goal to conquer the city and even puts Radu in danger to accomplish this. Radu must choose between helping his unrequited love, Mehmed, and helping the sister that has always been there for him.
This book made me want to read the history. I dislike historical non-fiction, but this book made me want to do some research. I actually did look up some of the main characters from this story and the whole story is now very familiar. It is so inspiring to see how this author has blended historical fact with fictional characters long forgotten to make us all interested in their fate.
I feel like this story moved faster than the first book because it covered a much smaller time span. That seems wrong, but the first book covered decades and this story takes place over a year or less. This story alternated between Lada and Radu’s POV. Radu is sympathedic to Lada but wants Mehmed to love him. Lada wants her country and feels Radu’s rightful place is with him. Things are finally getting put into place for both Mehmed and Lada to achieve their life long goals leaving Radu with the scraps.
I really loved the historical setting for this story. There is something to be said for writing historical fact into a fictional setting. The author describes this gritty time in all its uncomfortable glory. The clothes, the housing, the weather, it is all well laid out for the reader. I think the most interesting place we visited in this story, and there was so much traveling happening here, is Constantinople. The city is not at all what Mehmed and Radu think it will be, but somehow it is exactly what I imagined a 15th century city to be.
“He had imagined Constantinople, had wanted it for Mehmed. It had been simple and straightforward. But now he knew the true cost of things, the murky horrors of the distance between wanting something and getting it.”
Lada is ruthless in this story. Living in the 15th century she hates the way women are treated and she vows to change that for the women in her own country. She gets her hands dirty, she is under estimated, she is the warrior her country needs to lead them. Lada struggles with her sexuality. She doesn’t regret leaving Mehmed but she needs something to fill the void. Lada seems bloodthirsty but she is only the product of a bloody family line that takes what they know is theirs. Lada spends most of this story building alliances in preparation of one final stand to demand the crown she knows is hers.
“Wallachia needs you, and you deserve Wallachia. Let your loyalty be only where your heart is. Everything else can fall by the road and be trodden underfoot as we pass to our home. My fierce little girl. You can do anything.”
Radu leads his life with his heart. He is torn between the safety of Nazira, his wife who he has grown to love very much in a platonic way, and pleasing the sultan he desires. Radu is such a good man and he is just in his approach to life. He may not be the warrior Lada is, but he fights for what is right. His is sickened by the war created by Mehmed for a city that isn’t really great, but housing some new friends Radu knows are worthy of living. The most disturbing aspect of Radu is that he fights for a religion he feels home in that forbids his very nature. His trials are heartbreaking. Radu has grown so much from the last book becoming possibly my favorite character. I need to see Radu with the happy ending he deserves.
“He would die on the wall tonight, between his brothers and his enemies, because he could no longer distinguish between the two. They had finally come to the end. Whichever side won, neither would triumph.”
This is fast becoming one of the greatest series ever. The characters are unforgettable. I can’t wait for the conclusion to this saga and I am secretly dreading it. Even the ending of this book was bloody brilliant. If you haven’t read this, I suggest you go right now and pick this up. Once again for this series,if I gave 6 stars, this sequel would get it.
The Conqueror’s Saga
Now I Rise by Kiersten White
Published by Random House Children's Books on 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Medieval, Romance, Royalty
Also by this author: And I Darken
eBook provided by My Wallet (purchased)
The highly anticipated, mind-blowing sequel to Kiersten White's New York Times bestseller, AND I DARKEN--the series that reads like HBO's Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire.
Fans of Victoria Aveyard's THE RED QUEEN and Sabaa Tahir's A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT won't want to miss this riveting and gorgeously written novel--the second in the trilogy.
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.
★ "Gorgeous, rich, and rewarding."--Booklist, starred review
★ "Absolutely devastating in the best way."--Kirkus, starred review
Praise for And I Darken "A dark jewel of a story, one that gleams with fierce, cunning characters--absolutely riveting." --Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Passenger
"A dark, gritty, and seriously badass epic that will have you dying for more . . . required reading for every feminist fantasy fan." --BuzzFeed
"Evocative . . . this book takes no prisoners." --NPR