Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review: Now I Rise - Kiersten White

Now I Rise
Kiersten White
Series: The Conquerers, #2
Genre/Age: Alternate History, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
With the third book in this series a month out, I figured it was time I reviewed the second one. I deadass read this a year ago, but that's not gonna stop me from attempting to write a half-coherent review. 

If you read my review of And I Darken, you know I had some mixed feelings. In this book, the characters really find their voices and their footing and I found myself loving it much more than I'd allowed myself to enjoy the first book.

I absolutely loved the journeys Lada and Radu took, especially considering how Radu is supposed to be this good boy at heart but has to go on this ~calculating~ journey and Lada is the cruel queen but she's second guessing a lot of decisions. Also, even though Radu has never been my favorite character, everyone he met along the way was a SHINING STAR  — Nazira, Cyprian, everyone. And I found myself more sympathetic to his cause this time around; he felt a lot more three-dimensional and motivated in this book.

And y'all already know how much I stan for Lada. Queen of my heart. Does no wrong. Okay, does a lot wrong actually but it's okay because I love her and also she's a feral monster child.

I love the gorgeous complexity of the story, how there's just so much going on in every layer, available to unpack and analyze.

I love retellings but honestly never thought I would be a fan of a historical fiction type book but lately it's been more my thing and this second book came at exactly the right time in my life. I found myself swooning where I was meant to swoon, crying where I was meant to cry, loving who I was meant to love.

The writing in this book was a marked improvement from its predecessor, as well as the complexity of the plot, and I can say with certainty that this is a series I'll hold on to for a long time, and I cannot wait to see what White does next in the genre. I can't believe I went from feeling iffy about the books to loving them dearly like my own children.

I think for me, the real strength comes from the tale White weaves about the Ottomans and Wallachia and the fight for their land.

I want more books like this and more books whose worldbuilding centers around decades past, with talented authors like White taking the reigns.

How far will you rise?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I still need to read these. I’m so behind!

  2. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this sequel more than the first. I've only read the first so far and though I enjoyed it overall, I didn't love it. I'll have to pick this one up soon!

    1. I didn't really love the first either so it seems like we had similar feelings. Maybe you'll like this second book as much as I did!!

  3. I've heard such great things about this series, and I've been convinced to try it. The characters sound amazing! And ooh you have me excited about all the layers and complexities :-D Glad to hear this one was even better than the first!

    1. Let me know your thoughts if you pick it up!!

  4. I have had this one on my tbr for a while and really need to get it read. I had some mixed feelings about book one too, but she's an excellent writer, so I assumed it would only get better. Glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully you'll enjoy the third book too!

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

    1. I'm super excited for the third one; it comes out next month, right?

  5. I'm glad to hear this series improves from book 1 to book 2. I have And I Darken but set it aside after seeing some mixed reviews for it. Maybe I'll pick it back up this summer.

    1. Yeah, it's like an exponential increase, I would highly recommend powering through the first book to get to this one.