ARC Review: Now I Rise

Now I Rise


Title: Now I Rise

Author: Kiersten White

Series: The Conquerors Saga, #2

Publisher: Corgi Childrens

Release Date: July 6th 2017

Rating:

Five Stars

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, terrorising 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 fulfil their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won…and souls will be lost.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“What, then, was left to her? She had no allies. She had no throne. She had no Mehmed, no Radu. She had only these sharp men and sharp knives and sharp dreams, and no way to make use of any of them.”

After leaving Mehmed and Radu behind and making her way to reclaim her throne, with only her loyal Janissaries at her back, Lada has finally made it home to Wallachia. However the challenge she faces is not one she was prepared for. Lada needs the support of the boyars before she can go against the prince but none of the boyars are prepared to back a woman, and time and time again Lada is forced back to her men with nothing to show for their long journey to Wallachia.

So instead Lada turns to brute force, terrorising the land, but when that leaves her no closer to her desired goal she is forced to take a close look at the allies she has, and the allies she could form to help her take the throne herself. Lada meets Hunyadi on the road and Mehmed is still willing to offer her support, but can Lada trust the man who orchestrated her father and brother’s deaths, and can she really go running back to Mehmed whenever she needs help.

“He knew Mehmed would build something truly amazing. He knew that Constantinople needed to fall for Mehmed to hold on to his empire. He knew that Mehmed was the greatest sultan his people had ever known. But, like his love for Mehmed, it was no longer simple.
Radu had seen what it took to be great, and he never again wanted to be part of something bigger than himself.”

Meanwhile in his quest to take Constantinople Mehmed has sent Radu into the city as a spy, to try and root out any weaknesses he can, gain a place at the emperor’s side and report back to Mehmed with anything he discovers. However as Radu and Nazira make it into the city they discover Constantinople is nothing like what they were told. The streets are not paved with gold, and what’s more the more time they spend with the people, inserting themselves into their lives in order to support Mehmed’s siege against the city, the more conflicted they start to feel about what it is they’re doing.

One of the things I wasn’t too keen on in the first book was the lack of action in places, And I Darken seemed to set up the world and the characters more than it did the plot, but that wasn’t an issue in Now I Rise. This book was so much more brutal in places, showing us the darker sides of Lada’s and Mehmed’s desires and the war they are each fighting. In the first book we only heard about Mehmed’s desire for Constantinople and Lada’s desire for Wallachia, in this book we see them start moving things in the place to take what it is they want.

…The Characters

“No one will be more brutal than me. No one will be more ruthless. And I will never stop fighting.”

Lada is determined to claim the Wallachian throne, and determined that nothing will stand in her way either. However she soon starts to realise how little power she actually has in a world where men rule everything. She is automatically looked down on as a woman, although there are times when she uses that disdain and disinterest to her advantage. Lada is a powerful fighter but she is not a strategist, and that seems to be her downfall when negotiating with the boyars.

As much as she wants the throne Lada is not fighting for the power alone. She wants to make Wallachia a better place, to be a better ruler than her father was and than the current Prince is. Her ideals and, despite her brutality, her sense of duty are what inspire people to fight for her, not just the Janissaries but the Wallachian’s she meets along the way.

“He respected them, and he hated them, and he knew the world would be lesser for their deaths.”

Radu doesn’t want to leave Mehmed’s side, not as he plans to march on Constantinople, but Mehmed needs someone on the inside and that someone can only be Radu. Radu is willing to do anything to ensure his place at Mehmed’s side, but he is not equipped for sabotage behind the walls of Constantinople. Mehmed left very little instruction and the more Radu sees of life in the Constantinople, the more he gets to know the people who took him in, the more his feelings become conflicted.

The two Dracul siblings aren’t together in this book but they are never far from the others thoughts. While Lada struggles to negotiate with the boyars and with Hunyadi she really needs her brothers way with people and works, and as Radu struggles to find a way to sabotage the Constantinople he really needs Lada’s quick-thinking-action and brutality. It seems like the two of them work best together but their loyalties now lie in two different places; Lada’s with Wallachia and Radu’s with Mehmed.

“I have met your sister, and I have met Mehmed. They love themselves and their ambition above all else. They love what feeds their ambition, and when it stops feeding that, the love will turn to hate with more passion than either could ever love with. You love with all your heart, Radu, and deserve someone who can answer that with all of theirs.”

Once again the story is told from two POVs, Lada’s and Radu’s, and with Lada in Wallachia and Radu in Constantinople we mostly get their thoughts and memories of Mehmed. However we still start to see a different side to him through Radu’s eyes. Mehmed is a lot like Lada, both are willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how cruel, to get what they want. Mehmed can be almost self-serving and cruel at times, and it is this side of his character Radu gets a glimpse of as the siege against Constantinople begins.

…The Setting

“Wallachia needs you, and you deserve Wallachia. Let your loyalty be only where your heart is. Everything else can fall by the road and be trodden underfoot as we pass to our home.”

In And I Darken the book was largely set in the heart of the Ottoman Empire after Lada and Radu were sold to the sultan by their father, though we still saw Wallachia and Constantinople through the memories, dreams and ambitions of the characters. In this book we finally get to see both of these places without a veil of Lada’s nostalgia or Mehmed’s legend covering them, and each are somewhat less than what nostalgia or legend promised. Despite what the tales say Constantinople is not a Christian utopia in the heart of the Ottoman Empire, it is a city like any other which makes the siege all the more real and devastating. Wallachia is also not the paradise Lada remembers, it is run by an absent prince and cruel boyars who can do whatever they want to the people they rule.


I enjoyed Now I Rise more than And I Darken. Now that the characters, their back stories and the world they live in, have been set up in the previous book this one is set to realise Lada and Mehmed’s ambitions. The plot was fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end; if you thought And I Darken ended in an interesting place of Lada’s, Radu’s and Mehmed’s story Now I Rise knocks it out of the water.

What did you think of Now I Rise? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

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29 thoughts on “ARC Review: Now I Rise

  1. I hear so many good things about this sequel. I like how dark it seems, and all these positive thoughts about this book makes me wonder if I should check this out some day. Fantastic review, Beth! Such a unique setting and story, I hope the next book will be able to surpass this one! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen many reviews for Now I Rise but I know plenty of people have loved it. It’s a great book and I’d say definitely worth checking out as well Lashaan. 🙂
      It seems like this series gets better with each book so my hopes are sky high for the third release! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t read through your whole review, as I didn’t want to spoil myself at all, but from the snippets I skimmed, this sounds like it’ll be a fabulous book. So far, I’ve only heard amazing things about it (including your 5 star review) and many others have mentioned that it’s an incredible improvement over the first. Lada sounds like she’s gained all her fierceness back and Radu has also become pretty fierce himself. I wonder how their relationship will play out, especially with Mehmed in the mix. I seriously cannot wait to begin reading this book once I have it in my hands! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah you really don’t want spoilers going into this book, reading Now I Rise without having any idea what could happen to Lada and Radu is the only way to go.
      I’m sure you’ll really love this book as well Azia, all the great things I’ve heard about this book I saw for myself reading it. I loved both Lada and Radu’s development in this book and oh I am so excited for the next (and possibly last) in the series now.
      I really can’t wait to see what you think of this one Azia! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m just so curious about how things will go down between Lada and Radu. I really liked their relationship. It was just so messy. Can’t wait to see how they grow in their own respective roles while apart from one another.
        Thanks! Me too 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds exciting (and tragic). I know I’m gonna love it! I’ll start it today. Finished The Gentleman’s Guide yesterday, and my god, I freaking LOVED it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahh I am SO excited to start these books! I heard so much about And I Darken when it was first being released, and now I hear the sequel is BETTER than the first?? SO EXCITED. This series sounds so amazing!! Lovely review, as always! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it’s a brilliant series. The first book wasn’t at all what I expected it would be but I enjoyed it so much more than I thought, and after reading this one it’s become one of my favourite series.
      Thanks so much Analee! 😀 ❤

      Like

  4. I am so, SO glad that you gave this one a good rating! My expectations are kind of high after And I Darken, but reading your review I have hope that this one will exceed that. There seems to be more action and Lada sounds as fierce as before… I suppose the only thing I’m worried about is not remembering enough about And I Darken that I lose my footing with Now I Rise. Did you find the “re-introduction” chapter to be enough of a memory teaser, or did you have to skim And I Darken again?

    I’m curious – is there romance in this book? And I Darken didn’t have much of it but some (which I think is just the right amount), but I’m wondering which direction this book will take.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My expectations were high as well, and they were really exceeded in this book. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed Reg, at least I really hope you won’t be. 🙂 There is a lot more action, and it seems like after the end of the first book Lada is determined to fulfil her destiny you know? She’s not waiting anymore but working to take what she wants. I did end up skimming through parts of And I Darken again, mainly what happened at the end, but overall I was able to understand Now I Rise without needed to re-read the first book again.
      Little bits of romance I think. I’m kind of debating whether it was about the same amount as was in And I Darken or a little less. This book does focus more on Lada and Radu’s character individually.

      Like

      1. That’s exciting to hear! And kind of comforting, too, because I don’t think I want to reread And I Darken just yet even though I did love that experience.

        And yaaas to individual character development! I feel like And I Darken did really well with that so it’s a relief to hear that Now I Rise focuses on much of the same thing. I’m assuming there’s a third book coming out? ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t think you need to re-read And I Darken again, even if you have forgotten everything about the first book it’s easy to catch-up as you read the second.
        And I Darken did do the individual character development well but I think it was expanded on even more in Now I Rise, and it was probably a little better in the second book as well. Given the way Now I Rise ended if there isn’t a third book I’m going to be very disappointed. 🙂 ❤

        Like

  5. Huh, it’s funny that you thought this was better than the first book! I’m always surprised when sequels are like that (because usually there are #sequelblues). I’m not sure if I want to start up this series??? It seems like something that is my type but also not, at the same time, so I don’t know if I’ll be picking it up! But great review, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read a fair few sequels that are better than the first book was. For me it’s just because the characters, world and story has been set up so the second book can build on the action you know? 🙂
      On one hand I’d love to recommend this series because it is really good, but if you don’t think it’s your type then I just dunno. Sometimes it can be hard to enjoy books, no matter how amazing they are, if they’re not the kind of genre you normally pick up.
      Thanks so much May! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yeah, I can definitely see that! A lot of times, I’m always afraid of sequels because WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE IT AS MUCH??? But I definitely agree that you can expand on other things when you’ve got the basics set up!

        Okay! This is on my “maybe” TBR — even though it doesn’t really make a difference because I won’t get through all the books on my regular TBR anyways! XD

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think that about sequels as well, especially because if I loved the first book in the series I tend to build the second one up in my head in the run-up to its release. Yeah and that’s what was done in this book, the first set everything up and the second really expanded on the characters and the plot.
        I don’t always get to the books on my TBR list either, but if you do pick up this series May I really hope you enjoy it! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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