Now I Rise
By: Kiersten White
I don’t know why I waited all summer to read the sequel to last years And I Darken as once I started I read through it in no time flat and it’s definitely in my top five of the year so far. One of those rare series where I’m genuinely excited for the next book.
Obviously if you haven’t read And I Darken there’s going to be spoilers…
The book is told through two points of view: Radu and my little murder baby Lada. (Lada is basically a gender bent Vlad the Impaler.) She’s still trying to win back her throne making alliances, yes, and trying to navigate some exceedingly questionable political territory. Radu meanwhile has been sent as a spy behind the walls of Constantinople- which his beloved Mehmed still wants desperately.
Radu and Mehmed are probably my only issue with this book. They aren’t even together for most of it but seriously he’s like the only consistent thought Radu has. The Constantinople stuff is interesting. White does a good job with the siege and getting inside both points of view. Radu is basically a good guy horrified by what’s happening he does try to find a way out.
But bloody hell, everything comes back to Mehmed with him. Is this wrong? Am I doing the right thing? Oh, Mehmed smiled at me. Did I have any other thoughts? No? Nope, he’s so pretty…
I mean it might be a realistic portrayal of basically what a love struck human will do. But even when Radu has a pretty good idea Mehmed is using and manipulating him he’s like, Eh, doesn’t matter. I love him. It makes it hard for me to actually like Radu. Because I’m pretty sure no matter what, no matter the reason, he’s always going to side with Mehmed.
For love or destiny and duty?
Maybe it’s me because on the other hand Lada is cutting a wide path, mostly bloody, through her part of the world. White’s writing is good here as well. It’s not that Lada doesn’t have doubts. It’s not that she doesn’t regret some of the things she does. (And she’s still a little to into Mehmed for my taste.) But in the end she solely believes not just that taking the throne is her destiny but that she’s doing it for the good of her people and that she can be and wants to be better for them.
And those last two pages! Ha! I think that’s one of my favorite book endings in a long time. Perfectly in character and does an amazing job of setting up for the concluding book next year. I can’t wait. I just hope White can stick the landing.
Recommend: Yes. I’m loving this series. I’ve heard it compared to Game of Thrones and Lada compared to Arya Stark. I think that’s true but I find much more so the books than the show to be honest. But it’s definitely worth the read. One of my favorite YA series in recent years.