We are super excited to be on the tour of NOW I RISE by Kiersten White! Before we dive into our review of book 2 in the series, here are the details!
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?
Now I Rise is the second book in The Conqueror’s Saga and if you haven’t started this series you should definitely consider picking them up. Don’t let the size/length of them scare you off either – yes they are lengthy but the story is so good. If you haven’t read book one yet, you might want to hold off on reading my review. While I won’t spoil Now I Rise, I can’t promise the same for book one.
Book two picks up shortly after And I Darken wraps up and Lada is still driven to get the Wallachian throne back no matter what. She and her men are attacking anyone they cross paths with so they can survive and she quickly realizes what she is doing isn’t getting her what she wants. What she really needs is her brother, Radu, and his ability to be more diplomatic and connect with others around him. Unfortunately for her, she left him behind with Mehmed and he isn’t in any position to join her…even if he wanted to.
As I mentioned, Radu is with Mehmed but things aren’t the same for them. Radu still loves and Mehmed and Mehmed still loves Lada and I couldn’t help feeling bad for Radu. He kept letting Mehmed take advantage of him and I just wanted Radu to stand up for himself. Unfortunately for Radu, his feelings put him in a position where he ends up in Constantinople as a spy and it is expected that he do whatever he needs to in order to help Mehmed take control of the city. The struggle he has with this is that Radu has built friendships with the very people he has to betray.
Mehmed is super manipulative of both Radu and Lada and I didn’t like a lot of the choices he made. He was so determined to get what he wanted that he didn’t care who he hurt along the way. I’m still not sure how I feel about him knowing everything about what he knew and what he asked of everyone.
As characters, I don’t think any of them changed very much from book one to book two. If anything Lada showed the most growth and I would attribute that to the fact that if she hadn’t changed the way she was attempting to get the throne back, she may not have had any success. By recognizing the need to partner with someone who had a bit more diplomacy she wasn’t stuck in the same place she was when she left her brother and Mehmed behind..
This book gives you two different stories that eventually intersect. With Lada on her own mission, her story is very separate from that of Radu’s/Mehmed’s and I think her story interested me more. The rotating chapters from Lada’s story to Radu’s story slowed everything way down and I found myself struggling not to skim over some parts. What helped move things along were the secondary characters that White developed. They not only added to the story, but also helped me connect more to the main characters and learn more about them.
Overall I enjoyed this book but wish the pace had been a bit faster. The details were necessary but it was a struggle to stay fully interested in some of the slower parts. If you are looking for a story about a strong female warrior, definitely check out the entire series and if you have already read And I Darken, you will want to read Now I Rise so you can see what happens amongst the characters and whether they achieve the goals they have set for themselves.
Kiersten White is the NYT bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, Illusions of Fate, The Chaos of Stars, In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo, and the upcoming historical reimagining, And I Darken. She has one tall husband and three small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal. Visit her at www.kierstenwhite.com.
3 Winners will receive a finished copy of NOW I RISE, US Only.
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