Book Review: Now I Rise – Kiersten White

Ohhhhh this is going to be a long day.

This is the dreadful monster that took me two whole months to actually finish the book.


Name: Now I Rise
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher(s): Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 27, 2017


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.

Book Cover Comments

Just like the previous cover, the piercing of the weapon onto the object is so strong. I find a lot of beauty in it. Definitely a work of art and it’s honestly amazing. The suspense of the mint title on the black background is what makes this cover so powerful as well.

The Review

Jesus Christ.

The book that took me the longest time to read so far.

I’d like to blame it on summer-job and college orientation but of course, I could be more persistent and finish it sooner and I didn’t. And part way through reading it, I realized the other problem that made me take so long – in which, I will bring up later in this review.

In Now I Rise, the second book in the Conqueror’s Saga, we get alternating perspectives from Radu and Lada as we watch them pursue their own paths: Radu to stay by Mehmed —sultan of the Ottoman Empire— to take Constantinople; Lada to take back the Wallachian throne.

Radu definitely grew a lot in this book; way more independent. In the previous book, Lada was always there to protect him in a sense, and now that this brother and sister pair separated from each other, they both have to stand strong without ever relying on their sibling ever again in order to protect what they hold in their heart the most. Radu was also probably the most heartbreaking character of the series; he went through a lot trying to figuring out where his heart was pointing to, a.k.a. identity crisis. Being sent to Constantinople but so long that he started to empathize, as well as slowly falling for someone he probably shouldn’t have; whether he still holds a place in Mehmed’s heart, and just the struggles in between. His complex struggles were definitely the highlight of his storyline.

side note: while the dates under each chapter number provide relevancy, the fact that the dates jump back and forth when switching chapters between Lada and Radu just makes it so confusing- not to mention the fact that the two do not cross over at all.

Moving onto Lada, as I mentioned earlier, she too has to know how to move on without Radu’s help. Lada too, is struggling with her own heart as it yearns for Mehmed, but at the same time is in her way to attaining her goal. Lada herself grew a lot as well: her path to understanding politics, kingdom ruling 101 and last but not least, how to get herself on the throne. Something that Nazira, Radu’s friend, said was really true: Mehmed and Lada did not have the heart like Radu would ever have, and would do anything to fulfill their own ambition. It’s not that you can hate Lada when you’re reading from her perspective. You see her struggles and you go as far as to understand her without thinking that Lada’s behavior might be the biggest problem yet —aka the focus of the next book and the ending to this chapter in history— and you (me) support Lada to the throne and rejoice for it. (not to mention that savage banquet at the end woop woop)

The plot and the writing, in general, was honestly fantastic. I knew I wanted to finish the book and I knew that I was looking forward to the next book. The only problem I have would be the duration that it took me to finish this book was honestly a bit out of hands: two months. And as I mentioned earlier as to why it took me so long, the final factor lies in the writing: dragged. I understand the need to include the details, but personally I felt that the preparation and war scenes in Radu’s timeline, as well as Lada’s journey to her throne timeline,  was really dragged— a lot of things were probably over elaborated —but this doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting; it was just dragging.

A true redemption from And I Darken, Now I Rise gives a fantastic story on Lada and Radu Dracul, as one pursues the throne of Wallachia and the other pursues Constantinople for his “beloved” —or is he?— as they both go through the struggles to find courage among all—whether in the end, they’ll be able to protect what is most important to them in order to fulfill their destinies.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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