Now I Rise

See my review for And I Darken

Now I Rise
The Conqueror's Saga Book Two
Written by Kiersten White
Historical Fiction, Young Adult
480 Pages
Published July 3rd 2017
Thank you to Penguin Random House Australia
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★★★★★
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 fulfil their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won and souls will be lost.
Ladislav Dragwlya has abandoned the Ottoman Empire and destined to conquer Wallachia and the throne the Danesti Prince occupies. Lada Dracul is a ferocious young woman, callous, unrelenting and determined to reign as Prince of Wallachia. 
There is no other title. I will be vaivode, prince of Wallachia. And I will make the land into the country my people deserve.
Mehmed is resolved to acquire Constantinople, Sultan, Emperor and Caesar of Rome. The Christian Constantinople welcomes political refugee Radu Dracul and wife Nazira who are escaping persecution. The tender young man is entrusted to infiltrate Constantinople, to manipulate the Roman Christians and substantiate Radu's allegiance to the Ottoman Empire and Mehmed.

The narrative accompanies siblings Lada and Radu Dracul, once held captive by the Ottoman Empire to ensure the compliance of their late father. Lada is on a journey of discovery as violence will not allow Lada to conquer the Wallachian throne and she's compelled to forge diplomatic relationships.  In an era where women are often demoralised, Lada is a remarkable young woman that refuses to adhere to societal measures and I admire her tenacity and fortitude. Radu is a contrasting character, passionate and devout while Mehmet manipulates Radu's gentle compassion for both political and personal dominance. Mehmed is emotionally distant, conscious of the fabrication and innuendo of his friendship with Radu, he manipulates Radu to infiltrate the Roman Constantinople and ambassador Cyprian. Cyprian is compassionate, virtuous and enticed by Radu.
You love with all your heart, Radu, and deserve someone who can answer that with all of theirs.
The diversity of characters is wonderful, an amalgamation of religion and sexuality. Muslim, Christian, same sex relationships and Radu's exploration of sexuality and faith. Women in positions of domination are inconceivable. Male lineages occupy Europe, women are wives, concubines and adhere to the traditional female roles prevalent throughout the European kingdoms. Janissaries are traditionally retained by the Ottoman Empire and now accompany the menacing young woman across Eastern Europe where sexism and chauvinism are prevalent. I enjoyed Lada's camaraderie with Hunyadi who provided both tactical and emotional encouragement. Nicolae is a staunch defender but childhood companion Bogdan creates an intensity within the group of Janissaries.

The Conqueror's Saga is a breathtaking, historical alternative of the Ottoman Empire during fifteenth century Europe. Mehmed the Conqueror abolished the Eastern Roman Empire and the conquest of Constantinople, while Ladislav Dragwlya decimates South Eastern Europe. Unrelenting and frenetic. Absolutely remarkable.

20 comments

  1. I've been looking far and wide for some good historical fiction books and I'll have to add this one to my list :D The cover is simply gorgeous! The Ottoman Empire always fascinated me in school :) Lovely review, as always!

    ~ Noor

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    1. I was always fascinated too Noor and was hesitant to start the series but it's absolutely phenomenal. It's brutal yet the tender moments between the siblings are incredibly poignant. Lada is by far my favourite character in young adult. I would love to see what you think of the series Noor, it's brilliant!

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  2. I skimmed your review because I still have to read the first book - which I have on my Kindle. I'm really looking forward to it.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. Oh yes, please read it Karen. You definitely won't be disappointed.

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  3. Ohh, a perfect 5 stars. I need to check out this series!

    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

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    1. The series is brilliant Vanessa, absolutely glorious!

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  4. Lada is sensational, isn't she? Takes no prisoners and no bullshit, and while this week has been horrifying to see what women go through (still) at least there are books to escape in to.

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    1. It's so wonderful to be able to escape into fiction. I'm always inspired by young women exuding confidence and dominating despite male chauvinists. Non fictional and fictional too.

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  5. I've only heard good things about The Conqueror's Saga. Another series that I NEED to start <3 :-) Sometimes the middle book can feel a bit stretched. But if you're giving it 5 stars, obviously that isn't the case here :-) :-).

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    1. Five stars simply isn't enough Sarah. Such a phenomenal series.

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  6. The first book in the series really took me by surprise with its rich interpretation of history. Lada is fierce and unrelenting in a period where women are oppressed...and often is still so in that part of the world. I think White has really grown in her writing style with this new series — can't wait to pick up Now I Rise. I'm sure from your rating that it'll be just as amazing as the first! x

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    1. The historical accuracy is brilliant in this instalment Joy and the focus is on Radu and Lada rather than the Ottoman Empire. The brutality of the era and atmospheric world building are immaculate. Can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  7. I've been meaning to read And I Darken for the longest time ever, but it never crosses my mind when I'm thinking about fantasy titles to pick up. Although it's not spooky, it would probably be a cool read to pick up for this month, especially because I'm dying to see why everyone likes it so much. If you like a book, then that tells me everything I need to know. Should I shift my TBR around and squeeze this one in? Matter of fact let me DM you lol

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    1. Considering her tendency to slash people to ribbons, it would be perfect this time of year. Let's be honest, you'd be shit scared if this girl existed in the modern day.

      For heaven's sake, read it!

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  8. oh yeah, seriously badass, at least this one has a kickass sister! go girl power

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    1. Radu is actually her brother but Lada is such a brilliant character. Radu is such a contrast to her physically strength. He's wonderfully sensitive but gullible. Really excited for the series finale.

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  9. I'm glad you loved the sequel Kelly! I did like the first book, but I felt that it dragged a lot because it was literally a book about Lada's birth to teenage years. Now I Rise doesn't seem as slow, and also it looks shorter, if I'm not wrong? But either way I hope to get to it at some point!

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    1. It does feel a lot shorter actually, I think because the pacing is quick and vicious. I really enjoyed book one but this one is not only historically accurate, we see so much more from Radu and his journey. Move it up that list, it's brilliant.

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  10. I need to read the first book still, but I'm really glad to see that you loved the sequel. Makes me even more excited to finally check these books out. It sounds fantastic, and I love that it's so diverse too.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. The European history fascinates me Lauren and I really loved the inclusion of sexually diverse characters. It's so incredibly atmospheric. Would love to see what you think of it!

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