Now I Rise (The Conqueror’s saga #2) by Kiersten White
Rating : ★★★★★
Genres : YA , Fantasy
Publication Date : 27th of June by Delacorte Press
Diversity : gay main character , lesbian side character
I received a review copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
*spoilers for And I Darken*
And I Darken is a Vlad the Impaler reimagining but Vlad is not a man but a woman!
And I Darken was one of my favorite reads of last year so I was highly anticipating this sequel and I was not disappointed! This sequel was everything I wished for and more and is definitely on my favorites list of this year.
Now I Rise gets even more complex than the first book , we follow the repercussions of the first book after the rebellion of the Janissaries. Mehmed and Radu are working on conquering Constantinople while Lada is trying to get her home country back (Wallachia). And I Darken started out slow but Now I Rise started immediately action packed and I couldn’t put it down. The story and the characters suck you in immediately.
Mehmed and Radu are both left behind by Lada and both are grieving their “loss” differently. I felt bad for Radu because he thought that if Lada was out of the picture he could get closer to Mehmed and maybe a romance would spark. Their friendship really blossoms in this sequel and it’s very interesting to see how Mehmed depends on Radu. Radu is a flawed main character and I loved following him. I loved seeing his relationship with his “wife” Nazira, they have an amazing friendship. I loved how Kiersten White discusses different religion aspects from the Islam while incorporating them in the plot . Nazira and Fatima were well developed side characters and I respected Kiersten a lot for that because often they are just background noise which wasn’t the case here.
Lada continues her quest to get her country, Wallachia back. Lada is the most complex character I have seen in YA. She left her romantic interest in the first book without looking back which was impressing and I would have never expected. Normally, in YA woman are always somehow bound to their love interest but Lada didn’t hesitate a second to leave Mehmed for her own personal gain which I found incredible (girl power). We often see woman making sacrifices for their love interest but not the other way around. I love Lada because she is bloodthirsty and smart at the same time. Seeing her work along side Hunyadi. Lada proves to everyone that she is not “wife material” and breaks every stereotypical expectation. The banter between Lada and her loyal soldiers is the comic relief we need throughout this dark book.
Kiersten White manages to balance plot, religious aspects and characters perfectly. I was impressed by this sequel and highly recommend it to everyone!