Book Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White
Now I Rise by Kiersten White
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, terrorising 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 fulfil their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
Now I Rise:
While there will be little to no spoilers from Now I Rise, there will from And I Darken.
I received an e-arc from Delacorte Press and a review copy from Penguin Teen Australia of Now I Rise in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
Last year, And I Darken was one of my favourite reads last year. So to say that I was excited to read Now I Rise would be an understatement. I love political and character driven historical novels and this series has worked just so well.
Now I Rise starts not too long after And I Darken. Lada has gone off with her men trying to fight and win back her empire. While Radu decided to stay back with Mehmed, hoping that he will finally notice him. That doesn’t last for long with Mehmed requires Radu’s skills and sends him to Constantinople. On one side Lada is fighting her way through towns and villages, gaining force and a name. While Radu is slipping his way into the world on Constantinople and finding his way to the top.
Things just got a whole lot harsher for Lada in Now I Rise. We know from the first book that things weren’t exactly looking up for her and things just seem to go from bad to worse. Though she doesn’t admit it both Mehmed and Radu broke her heart in book one – they didn’t choose her. And I think that this plays a lot into who she becomes in book two. We see her start becoming harsher, more brutal and more like Vlad the Impaler.
I really enjoyed seeing a female show brutality, it’s a rare thing in YA and that along makes me want to read more. But even though Lada is very hard to get along with at times. We start to see her change her ways. Lada starts to realise in the world that she lives in, to get back her empire – she needs allies. It’s the last thing that she wants to do, but with a little convincing from her men; she might just have to do.
Hold hands with the devil until you are both over the bridge. Or kill the devil and burn the bridge so no one can get to you.
Lada’s character arc throughout this series has already been so well done, but it hit new levels in Now I Rise. We start to see her take charge and unfortunately or even, fortunately, that means she is becoming more brutal.
I felt that reader got to know Radu a lot more in Now I Rise. He really took a stance in this novel – not physically per say. But his character stood out more and I loved it. While I didn’t agree with a lot of his discussion in And I Darken. I understood why he went that way. The reader is able to see Radu grow so much more in this one and really become someone.
In book one he was a snowflake, which had to be protected. And while he still might need to be protected, he starts becoming strong on his own – he doesn’t need Lada as much. He makes so pretty hard-hitting decisions in Now I Rise and holy it hurt.
Oh gosh, my heart broke for both Lada and Radu, and I am not sure that their siblings’ relationship can be fixed. We see in And I Darken that Radu doesn’t go with Lada and I think it hurts her more than she realises. And then he doesn’t go when she asks for help. I am intrigued to see where their relationship goes.
Mehmed, I don’t give a shit about him. He can go die. During book one, I was in the middle about him. I didn’t know where I stood. But, after everything that happens in Now I Rise, especially that one incident with Lada. No thank you. Goodbye.
The world will destroy her in the end. Too much spark leads to explosions. But your sister will destroy as much as she can before she goes out. She will go down in flames and blood.
I was so intrigued by the whole novel that I didn’t want it to stop. I was taken from the get go and wanted to know what was going to happen next. There were so many twists and turns. When I thought something was going to happen and it didn’t. That is what I love so much about this series. I have no idea what to expect.
There were just so many emotions reeling through me. Sometimes I was ready to battle, then I had tears streaming down my face. My heart was racing, my fingers were turning page after page.
Overall, I adored Now I Rise. While I know that some people are going to say that it was too long, or too boring. It just not for them. This series is all about character arcs and political agenda. It’s not essentially about war – but what leads up to it. The decisions, the connections, and the allies. It’s the strategy that comes before the battle.
Now I Rise explores the notion family and who you can really trust. It’s about forming allies and knowing that at any time, they can turn on it. It explores finding out who you, who you are not. Now I Rise is hard to read at times, it’s brutal, it’s fierce and it shows that women can be in charge and ruthless. It’s something that you will pick up and won’t want to put down.
Have you read Now I Rise? What did you think of it? Are you planning on reading it? Have you read And I Darken? Let’s Chat!