To be completely honest with you guys, I have no idea how to write this review? I absolutely adored both books in The Conqueror Saga and all I want to do is yell at you guys to read them both as soon as possible? I want to tell you to run out and get your hands on a copy of And I Darken and then immediately preorder Now I Rise because they deserve all the love they can possibly get!
But before we talk about why I loved Now I Rise so much, why don’t I share with you what the first book in the series is about as to not spoil anyone who might now have read it yet?
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point. (via goodreads)
Now, let’s talk about what I loved so much about these two books and make you want to read them too?
Reason #1: The Setting
Up until this point in my reading experience I haven’t read any books set in the Ottoman Empire and so this was a completely new territory for me and I was a bit worried that I would get lost in the story a little bit and it admittedly happened a couple of times while listening to And I Darken but the story was so much easier to follow in Now I Rise! I loved getting to explore this part of the world and of history especially. I do enjoy learning about historical events but unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to get into historical fiction before. I couldn’t be happier that this was my first look into what historical fiction can be!
Reason #2: The Diversity
We all know that I have made it a goal to read more diverse books this year and I was so happy about all of the diversity in this book! We had racial, sexual and religious diversity from the very beginning and I really appreciated it! I really enjoyed Radu’s first reaction to partaking in prayer with a Muslim man and his constant struggle with religion and how religion guided him in his life and in his decisions. The story’s setting in time and place also means that there are prejudices against various diversities included in this book and we get to see the characters deal with them and it gives them such room for growth and development!
Reason #3: Complex Relationships Between Our Three Main Characters
I think one of the aspects I loved most about these books so far are the complex relationships between our three main characters Lada, Radu and Mehmed. We follow them from the moment they enter this world and we get to see them grow up and develop different relationships with each other that each come with their own difficulties and tests over the years and I loved that so, so much. Seeing Lada and Radu’s relationship change over the years was even more interesting as they are always in competition with each other and such polar opposites in a lot of ways.
Reason #4: Lada Dracul
Honestly, this trilogy has given me a new female character to adore and I am so thankful! And while I thought I have been introduced to kickass characters before, I think Lada by far takes the crown! From a very young age, she is ruthless and not afraid to stand up for what she believes is right and even more so for what she believes she deserves and seeing her grow into the person she is by the end of Now I Rise was both awesome and absolutely terrifying. I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side – ever. Seriously, I am afraid for the fate of anyone who dares to get in her way in the final book of this trilogy!
Reason #5: There Is Kindness Even In The Most Dark Places
This is something that really stood out to me while reading this book. Even when things are truly bad and there are such horrible things happening Lada and Radu will show kindness to the people they think deserve it. I feel like this was even more so true for Radu during the events of this book. He was surrounded by so much horror and hurt and he still tried to show kindness when he could while still fulfilling his role. But I wouldn’t compare Radu’s kindness to the one that Lada showed. She is an entirely different person and shows kindness in a different way.
There you have it, five reasons why you should absolutely and immediately read The Conqueror Saga and then come back and talk to me about how much enjoyed the series! I feel like I have made it my mission to convince people to read this trilogy – I keep bugging Sandra about it too!
Now I Rise will be released by Delacorte Press on June 27th and all of you guys should be heading to your local bookstores and/or libraries and get this book as soon as possible! I know I’ll be impatiently waiting for my pre-order to arrive!
Have any of you guys read the first part of this trilogy and are you planning on continuing with it? What were some of your favorite aspects of this story? Let’s discuss in the comments below!