This book is fascinating both as a historical novel and in its character development. Now I Rise is the continuation of And I Darken. Lada has been given permission by Mehmed, the sultan, to become Prince of Wallachia, while Radu continues to work for Mehmed in a crucial, but undercover capacity that finds him separated from Mehmed almost completely.
Both Lada and Radu begin by thinking they have achieved what they wanted, but they grow to learn that nothing is ever as black-and-white as it seems. This is the novel where both Lada and Radu become adults, working in the grey areas of life, weighing their achievements against their costs. And the costs are significant. Both betray people they care about. Both are betrayed by the people they love. In the end, they both realize that they are strongest when they are together, yet it cannot be. I'm excited to see if White will reunite them in the third book.
White does a wonderful job of intertwining these stories with the monumentally significant fall of Constantinople. We see the failing end of the Byzantine Empire next to the might of an Ottoman Empire on the rise. But while this is a turning point for history, White manages to bring the reader in to a personal, and therefore more immediate, feel for the battle for the city.
The pacing is furious and the two story lines balance each other perfectly. Even if you prefer YA fantasy to historic fiction, you'll probably find a familiar story pacing that keeps you turning the pages well into the night.
And I Darken, the first book of this series, has proved to become one of my favourite YA novels. Now I Rise exceeded all my expectations.Lada has abandoned everything and everyone she loved, from her tender Radu to her determined Mehmed. Her blood brother and the one man who was worthy of her passion; she left it all with only her Wallachian soldiers. Her ultimate sacrifice was what made me love her, and this book never deviated from that. Lada was brutal, fierce, an unblinking murderer, pulling on any threads she had left to become prince of Wallachia. Her entire journey is a topic of its own, but myself being much like Radu, I had a difficult time processing her killings and murders of innocents. She left no stone unturned, let nothing block her path to making Wallachia a powerful country. Next, I need to applaud the author for Radu. Radu is the most beautiful character I have ever come across in a novel. His tender sweetness combined with his passion toward Mehmed made him a controversial character to some, but for me his travails made sense and made me feel for his character. The setting of the book, between Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire, had me conflicted, with the tales of murders and conflicts that occurred. Kiersten White doesn’t shy away from anything, and this will remain a favourite on my bookshelf for years to come. Rating 5/5
I don't find myself reading historical fiction too often because I often find myself liking it a lot or too little. In this scenario, it was in between. I really liked the character developments in Lada and Radu across the pages, as they choose against each other. Both with ties to Mehmed, they go on completely different paths as Lada is willing to kill all for "her" Wallachia, and Radu is willing to die for who he believes he loves. More characters come into the picture, and readers will marvel at the world so long ago Kierstin White has brought alive. This second installment justifies again that love and desire are not just some fickle feelings, but strong enough to tear down walls.
- @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
“Now I Rise” is truly one of my favorite books, this book drew me in and I couldn’t put it down. There is more than enough action and drama with Lada trying to secure the Wallachian throne and Radu in Constantinople as spy. Kiersten White definitely outdid herself with the character development as we see the true effects of love and power on Mehmed, Radu and Lada. I find historical fictions truly captivating, after I had read the book I wanted to learn more about Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire’s actual history. However it’s hard to imagine it without Lada, Radu and Mehmed. This book is definitely for ages 14+ as there are some mature subjects in the book. I strongly recommend this book if you are looking for a story that will enthrall you. Rating: 5/5 stars.
- @goldendog of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
Don't let the cover fool you - this book is straight up historical fiction. Author Kiersten White continues her story of two siblings who are complicated and fascinating. There are no easy choices in this world. Themes of loyalty, love, friendship, and faith infuse the story. The last two chapters are perfect for the story - I would be content if she ended her series here.
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