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 by Kiersten White is actually a sequel, and was sent to me by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. I don’t often review sequels, as you generally have to have read the first book to understand the review for the second book. But I’m going to go ahead and try anyways. Now what you need to know about my opinion of the first book was that it was a 3.5 out of 5 stars for me, I didn’t love Lada (the main character) but I did like Randu (the other main character), I wasn’t overly impressed by the romance (but it wasn’t horrible), and the plot was pretty good. With that out of the way let’s dive right in.
Let’s start with characters. I enjoyed Lada a lot more in this book than I did in the first book. I definitely felt like she was more complex and well-rounded in this one, which made a big difference for me. Lada is the type of female character that kicks ass 100% of the time. She doesn’t back down from what she wants, she doesn’t back down from a fight, and she’s not afraid of anything. She isn’t your typical female YA heroine, and she definitely challenges the stereotype. One of the main things that I disliked about her in the first book was that she seemed very one dimensional, and needlessly cruel. However in this book we get to see farther into her character, and she becomes more real. Randu became even more loveable in this book. Seriously, I thought I couldn’t love him anymore than I already did but I was wrong. His storyline in this book was heartbreaking at times, and his character development was phenomenal.
There were two major plotlines that intersected throughout the novel, one for Lada and one for Randu as they were separated for the majority of the book. Radnu’s storyline was amazing, and heartbreaking. Randu’s plotline focuses on some hard choices, and is handled wonderfully. As for Lada’s storyline, it was interesting and well written. It didn’t hold my attention as much as Randu’s, but that isn’t surprising considering how much I love Randu. I can definitely see why these books have been compared to Game of Thrones, they are rich and dark and full of twists and turns. And I have to say, although I don’t want to give anything away, that the ending absolutely killed me.
Overall I definitely enjoyed this sequel more than the first book, which isn’t something that happens very often! This one was a 4/5 star read for me.