Now I Rise is book 2 in the Conquerer's Saga, the first book is called And I Darken, if any of this series sounds interesting at all to you, I would recommend you pick up the first book. If you want any more information on it, I did do a book review back in January, so go check that out.
Anyway, on to Now I Rise. God, I love the titles of this series. And I Darken. Now I Rise. They're just so epic sounding, perfect for the books they describe.
Now I Rise was quite the fun read. I really enjoyed being reunited with the characters, though the strains on the different relationships ceaselessly irked me. I just want Radu and Lada to be reunited and go rule Wallachia together. Just leave Mehmed behind.
I feel basically the same about the characters after finishing this book as I did after finishing the first book. Lada, I love her as a protagonist because of her drive. If she wants something, she will do anything to take it. And she does. She's strong, and always ready for a fight. Yet, she has her flaws. She is not a people person. And when I say that I mean REALLY not a people person. Like I am not a people person, but in comparison to Lada? I am the peopleiest people person in the world. She's really not good at handling interactions. I couldn't help but be a little annoyed at that, like all Lada really knows is violence. The only way she wants to handle things is through force, and to be a good leader you have to have a balance of force and compromise/being good working with others. Lada is not good at working with others, and she won't heed others' advice about it. (*cough* Nicolae.)
Then there's Radu. Love him, he's a great character. But his biggest flaw is Mehmed. And his love for Mehmed. He'll do anything and everything for the sultan, even going as far as choosing Mehmed over his own sister. Radu's love of Mehmed blinds him to Mehmed's oh so obvious flaws. And that was a CONSTANT source of aggravation for me. Like no, go join your sister and be happy. Screw Mehmed. At the beginning I just could not stand Radu and his constant pining over Mehmed, but as the story continued on I found myself really enjoying Radu's arc. And I'm really looking forward to the direction his character is taking.
Then the last "main" character of the series. Mehmed. Does he even count as a main character in this book? Maybe a supporting one. He isn't in the story nearly as much as he was in the first book (yay), but he's mentioned a crap ton, because, of course, he's a vital player in the events of the plot. Also unsurprising, most of the time he's mentioned in every paragraph of Radu's. Ugh. I just don't like Mehmed at all now. I didn't like him much after finishing the first book, but reading this one? No. Not a fan.
The plot was interesting-- I found myself feeling quite invested in the fates of the side characters and the outcome of the big fights and wars. While it told a fun story, I felt the plot was a little rushed. Not in the way of how many trilogy ends with just shoving too much information in your face, this plot was rushed in the way of cutting scenes too short. Like I just felt that we, the readers, needed to be able to delve deeper into the scenes, situations and characters. Just everything felt short and crisp. The scenes were the bare minimal, getting the information you needed to know and then going ahead to the next scene. While it did get its purpose done, I just was left feeling a little detached from that. Like, I put the book down multiple times and didn't exactly feel the need to pick it back up. Saying that, the story still is enthralling and hard to put down (as proven by how late I stayed up last night), but once you put it down, it just eh. You don't yearn to read it again. Or I should say I didn't yearn to read it again once I put it down.
All in all, I would give Now I Rise 7/10 stars. It was a very enjoyable read, and I do look forward to reading the next book, but I couldn't help but feel a bit detached from the series just because of how it was written and how almost choppy the book felt because of all the short, information filled scenes.
Anyway, here's the synopsis:
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.
SPOILERS BELOW (BOOK DISCUSSION)
Alright, I've already been very clear on my stance on Mehmed. So it will be no surprise that I was really rooting for the people of Constantinople to win the fight. Especially after meeting the people of Constantinople. I loved seeing how torn Radu felt-- because yes, these were good people. And then I really didn't appreciate how Radu still chose Mehmed in the end, despite his realizations about Mehmed during his time away. Just UGH. I'm really hoping Radu will be able to break away from Mehmed's grasp on him, and of course, I want him to go and join Lada.
Literally for the majority of the book it was SHOWN how much these two siblings need each other. They fill out the gaps for each other. They were always thinking What would Lada do? Or What would Radu do? And when Radu thought Lada never thinks what he would do I almost screamed. HOW DOES RADU NOT REALIZE HOW MUCH HIS SISTER NEEDS hIM? AND HOW MUCH HE NEEDS HER? SCREW MEHMED.
Then there's my issue with Lada. She really needs to fucking learn to like get along with people. Instead of just immediately going stabby stabby. Like I get that it's suppose to be all female empowerment with her, but seriously, if she hadn't killed all those boyars and Tomas, she could've had a lot more power. Sure, they wanted to use her, but that's why she needs Radu, so she can use them. And she needs to be merciful, like I see the practicality of killing all of the Danesti children, but Nicolae, my bae, is right when he tells her she shouldn't. Besides, THERE'S AN OBVIOUS STRAIN ON NICOLAE's RELATIONSHIP WITH LADA AND I FEAR THAT's LEADING UP TO HIM LEAVIN HER AND NOOOO. Nicolae was hardly in this book, like he was there, but he wasn't really vital to all the plot things so he only really got a few lines. I need more Nicolae!
Anyway, thanks for reading. Love you all.