Categories
Fiction Historical Fiction Young Adult

Book Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Happy new year! I had always meant to read The Conqueror Saga one after the other, but life happens, and now I have finally finished Now I Rise!  You can see my review for book one, And I Darken, HERE

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Now I Rise
  • Series: The Conqueror Saga, #2
  • Author: Kiersten White
  • Publisher & Release: Delacorte Press, June 2017
  • Length: 476 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes!

Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:

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?

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.

The Story: The story itself is equally if not more interesting and engaging than book one.  There is absolutely no down time between the siblings and the skirmishes prior to the siege, Lada’ s bloody path, and all the political maneuvering (aka murdering) heheh.

‘Let them come,’ she said. ‘I will drink their blood and dance on their corpses’

The Characters:  Lada is razing cities, striking fear and seeking allies to take back Wallachia.  She gains some unlikely allies including John Hunyadi (an interesting historical figure), and a slimy politician that unbeknownst to Lada, thinks he can control her once she’s in power 😂 funny, right?  Lada is an unholy terror and I love her.  She is also very human in this book, once running out of the woods in her undergarments as she was trying to warn her men and forgot to get dressed 😂 another funny point was when they had to go on a treasure hunt to see if her castle actually even had a Treasury.  White is trying to make Lada more relatable, lonelier, more vulnerable, which contrasts so sharply with her brutal, impaling, murdery side.  The character arc is amazing in this book.

Perhaps she will find a balance”

“No. She will go down in flames and blood”

Radu is as whiny as ever, serving as a spy in Constantinople as Mehmed’s forces are getting ready to engage in the famous siege.  Now there’s not one, but two men that he has to constantly whine about and decide which one to betray.  When Radu isn’t being a terrible, cutthroat spy, he’s whining.  Radu once again gets the star docked from the book, even if he is a decent spy.

Hunyadi might have been my favorite side character for his fatherly advice to Lada and that whole wonderful beautiful alliance.  Constantine and Radu’s party in Constantinople really do a good job showing two sides of a conflict, how both are human and led by great, but terrible men.

Hold hands with the devil until you are both over the bridge

The Setting: the new setting is Constantinople, which is perfectly portrayed as a dying city.  In the one biblical/paranormal sequence of the book, there is a flood, followed by the light of God physically leaving the church and then bloody crescent moon when it should have been full.  Gave me the chills.  White does a great job with the moral and religious concerns of both sides, I mean who are the infidels in this case?  The wall and the siege and the desperation just felt so real, as did Lada’s trek through the borderlands seeing what the Boyars did to her country

It was always jarring to hear the Ottomans referred to as the infidels, because that was what they called the Christians

One quick note on the audiobook: at one point I wanted to keep reading and found the audiobook on Libby – it sounds like it’s read by a native speaker, which threw me off only because her pronunciations were so different than what I had been reading in my head that it threw me off.  I did listen long enough to get a better sense for the dialect but honestly didn’t love her as a narrator.

Put his body on a stake in the Square as proof that I keep my promises

Takeaway: The scope of these books is unbelievable and just so well done.  I love both dark and alternate history and the combination is first rate.  So much conflict, amazing characters, and all out war just makes these books unputdownable.  Book three, Bright We Burn, is definitely being read soon.

Categories
General Posts, Non Reviews

At least 2020 was a good year in books!

The healthcare world might be in a state of total trainwreck, but I managed to have a pretty great reading year in 2020!  I managed to read 150 books at 54,834 pages!  Roughly four thousand more pages than in 2019, and I think I credit the difference to audiobooks while driving so much for work this summer.

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I have always been a reader but 2020 was my second full year of reviewing and blogging.  At first, reviewer trends almost turned me off to the entire business, but I managed to find a core of sane reviewers and bloggers to surround myself with that lead me in a better, more focused direction in 2020.  That very small, very loud group of kids that do nothing except scream about content from their high horses….? No thanks.

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I found my best ratings this year in adult fantasy books, plus some older YA ones.  Newer YA, with the exception of The Silvered Serpents, and I had a huge falling out this year due to writing and publishing trends.  I feel like quality is out the window in exchange for repetitiveness, sexual expression, and political agenda, which I will die on the hill saying doesn’t belong in YA.  

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As far as certain books – I definitely (despite my YA falling out) enjoyed at least half of The Raven Boys books, but Will Patton as the audio narrator had a huge impact on that.  Will Patton literally changed books for me this year because he is such an amazing narrator.  I reread the Harry Potter books with my BF which was pretty special and highly enjoyable.  I also listened to The Golden Compass books again and really, really enjoyed the full cast audio’s phenomenal performance.  

Some other highlights were Jeff Wheeler’s conclusion to The Grave Kingdom series (Christian fantasy), Tears of Alphega by WN Cleckler, and Dragon Blood by Mary Beesley of the same genre.  Other great fantasies this year were Tuyo by Rachel Neidermayer and Ritual of Bone by Lee Conley. One of my last reads of the year, Open Heart by Gregory D Williams was probably my non-fantasy favorite of the year.Screenshot_20201231-133315

Reading some older thrillers was also a thrill – I started rereading my all time favorite Prey series by John Sandford, some early James Patterson, Narnia, and of all things reading the Star Trek: TNG books from the beginning.

The Love Your Shelf Challenge was a huge help in reading older books.  So was the Bookish First monthly Bingo, certain buddy reads, and my stubborn resistance to people trying to tell me what new books to read.

In 2020 I learned that the more that people scream at me to read certain content, the absolute less likely I am to read it.  Just stop, we all have preferences. 

It was also great to have the new blog designed and brought to life!  My own spooktober holiday bingo was a huge success.  Other great fun things were some buddy reads and group reads!

It is hard to talk about 2020 without mentioning my home library finally coming to fruition after four years of dreaming!

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Oh 2021, what will you bring? I signed on with a couple of amazing book tour companies and work with some amazing publishers that have my January fairly well booked, but then I want to go back and read my anticipated release books that I meant to read in 2020 😭

Chiefly those are: Igniting Darkness by Robin Lafevers, and Call of the Bone ships by RJ Barker. I have still yet to read Darkdawn, and need to finish up The Conqueror Saga finally. Maybe February will be my Valentine month with these books ❤

All the best and all the power if you are still reading this post, did you meet your 2020 reading goals!!?

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟