Ｔｉｔｌｅ：Now I Rise
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：Review for Book 1
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.
✩ Lada was fierce as always. She was cunning, strong, and also a quick thinker. As always, she was my favorite ❤
✩ Radu was very romance focused. Everything he did was for Mehmed. He was intelligent and observant. I would also say he’s pretty selfish.
✩ Nazira was super funny! She’s another of my favorites in this one simply because of that. She was also really wise, observant, and really honest with Radu which is something he really needed.
❝ 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.❞
I was so happy to get back to this book. I took a long break from it only because I had so many ARCs to read that I had to put this on hold. But once I did go back to it I finished it really quickly. I’m a huge Kiersten White fan and this is probably one of my all-time favorite series.
As always, I was rooting for Lada from the beginning. She’s so close to Wallachia and yet still just as far from getting it as before. Radu isn’t there to help her navigate the treacherous job of politics and dealing with people. Every time she seems to get closer there’s another obstacle that pops up. Fortunately, she makes a few allies.
Speaking of Radu, that brings me to the most frustrating part of this book, and the reason that I did not give it 5 stars. Since the synopsis pretty much already says this, I don’t see it as a spoiler: basically, Radu’s choice to put Mehmed above Lada really bothered me. He was very selfish and just completely obsessed with Mehmed. Nothing else was more important than getting Mehmed to love him. It was kind of pathetic actually because I felt like Radu really deserved better but he kept sacrificing everything important to him in order to serve 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. Your love with all your heart, Radu, and deserve someone who can answer that with all of theirs.❞
Mehmed is another topic I would love to discuss, but I can’t get into much detail without spoilers so… bear with me. Just like Radu, Mehmed had his own obsession: Constantinople. He also put his obsession above everything and everyone else. He was very manipulative and just… *screams* I can’t talk about it, but just know he’s my least favorite character.
Despite not liking the decisions that these characters made, I still really loved the book. I liked the direction that it went in, it made sense… It was just frustrating. The ending was particularly badass. Lada’s decision about how to handle things at the end was so powerful and dramatic. And then the letter that she wrote to her brother at the end–PERFECT. I clapped because, after everything that happened with Mehmed and Radu, that letter was just like the cherry on top of such a great ending.
Overall, I think it was just an amazing sequel. Prepare to be frustrated, but also be prepared to love Lada even more. It’s going to be torture waiting for the next book, but well worth it ❤