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.
Last year, I read the first book And I Darken, and it was one of my favorite books that I read last year, so of course I was excited to read its sequel, and it really didn’t disappoint and was a really great sequel.
The book picks up some time after the ending of And I Darken with Lada trying to reclaim Wallachia. I like Lada in this book, she is starting to become a lot more darker in this book. I like that she has a bigger leadership role, she reminded me a lot of Adelina from The Young Elites. She is very blood thirsty, but what made it good was the fact that she was still sympathetic. She does a lot of awful things throughout the book, but in a way you see that there is a reason for her doing those awful things.
Radu, a character who I felt was very whiny in the previous book was a lot better developed in this book. He spends most of book basically torn between his allegiance to Mehmed and his sister, Lada. When asked to be a double agent for Mehmed he starts to learn about Mehmed’s dealings and wondering if there is more than meets the eye. I liked his relationship with Cyprian was really well developed and I liked his character. Radu was a lot more fleshed out in this book and is starting to become one of my favorite characters.
While the book wan’t was action heavy as other fantasy books it relied primarily on military strategy and forming alliances with kingdoms mainly with the Italians. I loved seeing the Italians, it was great that we were able to see other kingdoms within the series and it was nice to see it expanded upon. It also dives heavily into the political aspect of the world, which I always found was very lacking in other YA novels.
I would also describe this book as sort of a “bridge book”. While it isn’t as plot driven, it was very character driven. It also had a lot of build up that will hopefully pay off in the next book. I don’t know if this will be a trilogy or will there be more books, but if any of the first two books if anything I think the series should only get better.
In the end, Now I Rise was a fantastic sequel that expanded on both its universe and its characters. The two leads had a lot more development and had a lot more character progression. I really have high hopes for this series and I hope it gets better.