“Sometimes the only way forward is to destroy everything that came before.”
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, 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.
Now I Rise is a dark, rich, action-packed and trilling sequel to this historical fantasy series that re-imagines the life of Vlad the Impaler on the shoes of a young vicious girl, Lada Dracul.
Alternating between Lada and her brother Radu’s point of view, the story continues where Lada journey back to Wallachia in an attempt to reclaim her throne. While Radu stays with Mehmed trying to help the Ottoman Empire win a battle against the Byzantine Empire to retake Constantinople. Lada needs Radu’s assistance and interpersonal skills, but Radu is busy helping Mehmed with the hope that Mehmed finally see him the way he want to be seen. Unfortunately for Radu, Mehmed has his eyes on one thing only, and that is Constantinople. Mehmed will do anything to get his dream city, even if it means sacrificing those close to him.
Kiersten White manage to breathes life into this particular period of history by creating a believable characters and realistic atmosphere for them to dance around. Not only she gives readers a general outline of the political affairs at the time, but also the unsaid thoughts and issues of leaders at that time. Even if those are not the real deal, they still carry weight and feel like real. Kiersten White successfully blends her characters’ story line to the real history where they are based from.
To those who are not familiar with the Fall of Constantinople or about Vlad the Impaler and other rulers at his time, this book is an educational treat while also entertaining and thought provoking. Even if it is technically fiction, the story still follows events of actual history. Kiersten White clearly did her research well.
The topics of equality, faith and religions, politics and war are just few of the things that makes this series a must read. Through her characters, Kiersten White easily scatters great points, ideas and truths that will surely make readers think and question things and even themselves.
Radu’s point of view alone will give readers the chance to see the different sides of war. His internal struggles about alliances, equality, sacrifices, faith and religions, winning and losing will surely leave readers thoughts to ponder and questions to rise. There are intricacies in his thoughts and depth in his opinions that is not only for fiction but also applicable to real life. Clearly, Radu is one complex character.
“He would die on the wall tonight, between his brothers and his enemies, because he could no longer distinguish between the two. They had finally come to the end. Whichever side won, neither would triumph.”
As for Lada, she took a back seat in this installment compare to Radu. Though she still strong and fearsome, her character arc basically stay the same. Lada like Mehmed is a power-driven person. She and Mehmed will do anything and sacrifice everything or even anyone to get what they want. They are dangerous, vicious and even selfish. They both live for their dreams and ambitions. One is Constantinople, the other one is Wallachia. As leaders they can be great but they can also easily bring destructions.
“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.”
With violence, murder, betrayal, and heartbreak Now I Rise is sharp-edged, intense, thought provoking, and deliciously vicious sequel to And I Darken. I am really excited to find out how Kiersten will end this series in the next and final installment.
* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Delacorte Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.