Now I Rise (The Conquerer’s Saga #2)
By: Kiersten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017
he 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.
After the tour de force of And I Darken, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Now I Rise. The day it was delivered to my apartment, I picked it up and I about didn’t let it go for another two days. I was so excited to dive back into the world of Mehmed, Lada and Radu.
Especially if you’re a history nut, Now I Rise is the book for you. It alternates between the conquest of Constantinople and Lada’s attempt to get the Wallachian Throne back, and there’s only rarely a dull moment. Lada and Radu are both in very different situations, and it was fun to alternate between them. The decay of Constantinople and the wilderness of the Balkans are both fascinating places, and the VERY different power plays going on make for fun and exciting reading.
I’ll be honest, though, there’s a lot less tension here, in a kind of disappointing way. What I really loved in And I Darken was the interplay between Lada, Radu and Mehmed, and that’s entirely lacking here. Mehmed makes brief appearances throughout the book, but for the most part is entirely absent. And Lada and Radu are off on their own, very different, paths, for better or for worse. It’s not that their paths weren’t interesting, but that they didn’t work in the same way, and the lack of tension was just…lacking.
There was also a corresponding lack of sexual tension, and that was equally disappointing. I normally don’t like love triangles, but I thought the one in the first book was masterfully done, and added so much to the tension and general interest of the book. It was mentioned a little bit, in both Lada’s and Radu’s interactions with Mehmed–but again, there were very few of those. And although they both found other partners, it just didn’t have the tension. Lada essentially just found a warm body to be with, and Radu found another angsty loverboy to swoon over without actually ever doing anything. Although granted, Radu’s wife is an amazing character.
Mostly, this book is difficult because all three of the main characters from Book One are off doing their own separate things. Now I Rise is interesting, in that it switches between Wallachia and Constantinople, but there’s very little tension. Really, the only good bit about separating everyone up is Lada and Radu both trying (and basically failing) to learn how the other one deals with things–Radu isn’t good at violence, and Lada REALLY isn’t good at diplomacy. But the main problem is that this seems to be the second of a trilogy, and as such it felt like a filler between an exciting beginning and a tense ending. It’s not that the events in Now I Rise isn’t important, it’s just that it felt like it skimmed the historical record between the three MCs growing up and the epic battles on the horizon.
But that being said, I did really enjoy the book. The book certainly set things up for a showdown between Lada and Radu, and Mehmed as well. It’s definitely not a bad book, just afflicted with second-book syndrome. And as such, I’m still very excited for the third one.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.