Series: And I Darken #2
Written by: Kiersten White
Published: June 27, 2017 by Delacorte (Random House)
Synopsis: 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.
I had wanted to read this book last year when it first came out but I didn't get around to it for some reason. I had liked And I Darken and was intrigued to see where to series would be going so when I saw that the audiobook was available to borrow from the library I thought this would be the perfect Pride Month read.
And I really liked this book. One of the things that I didn't love about And I Darken was the plot development. But the plot in this book was seriously on point. There was a ton of action and adventure, which you know I love, and it really built to a thrilling and exciting conclusion that had me excited and engaged. But what I think I liked most about it is that even though there were two characters with two distinct storylines, they felt connected. There was a lot of symmetry to the stories which I really appreciated. It felt like a cohesive story in that way. Plus I really like that it didn't drag things out longer than it needed to be. There was a clear ending in this book and I am still super excited to read what happens next.
I also really like the characters in this book. Both Lada and Radu are more of adults now so they are more secure in themselves and what they want which was really nice to see, but they both also have these great vulnerabilities. Kiersten White does a great job in creating characters that walk a fine line in being strong and resilient while also being vulnerable. It makes them really likable and complex. This is a good read for Pride Month because in this book we really see Radu struggle with his sexuality and his love for Mehmed who he's pretty sure doesn't love him back. Anyone who has ever felt unrequited love has to feel for Radu and the not always great decisions he makes here. I will say, I was particularly happy with Lada's characterizations in this book. When comparing her to Vlad the Impaler I thought she could be a lot more brutal and vicious in the first book, but her she was definitely more tough. I am psyched to see where her story goes because I have a feeling we are going to see a super badass Lada in the final book.
The other thing that impressed me with White's writing is the historical aspect. You can tell that she did her research into these historical figures. Obviously, this is a work of fiction as she changed the gender of one of the main characters, but so many of the other elements of the story are there. It made me completely fascinated with the real figures of Vlad Tepes, Sultan Mehmed, and Radu cel Frumos. Throughout the book I was googling them to find out what actually happened now I really want to learn more. She also really let the city of Constantinople (present day Istanbul) come to life. I've read a few books that took place there and it always seems like an amazing a vibrant place, especially during this historical time period.
This was a really fantastic historical read with great characters and a thrilling plot. And I am really glad that I listened to the audiobook. Fiona Hardingham did a great job with it and brought the characters to life. I think when I read the next book I think I will listen to the audio.
I give Now I Rise by Kierten White 9.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read Now I Rise? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!