Now I Rise by Kiersten White
The second novel in The Conqueror’s Saga, Now I Rise follows the siblings Lada and Radu after the defining choice each had made at the end of the first book. Though the two go on very different journeys, their struggles and their relationship remains at the forefront of their stories.
She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was the only hope Wallachia had of
ever prospering. And she would do whatever it took to get there.
Now, the first book I found to be pretty good. It was interesting and kept me intrigued, but there wasn’t enough in there to make me really impressed. Now I Rise, however, had me impressed and more. Lada’s character was always one of the main strangths in the first novel, and in this second, we get to see her realize her full potential and it’s exhilirtating. You’ll find yourself cheering for her as she fights to become prince (no princess here) of Wallachia. But even as your root for her, you are nevertheless confronted by her lack of mercy and the questionable choices she makes. And that is why her character is so well written. Lada is a strong, savage female lead and she embodies that strength in ways that many novels fail to illustrate in their main characters. She gets things done, but at the same time, she is no perfect do-gooder. She can be cruel and she can be brutal, and those imperfections add more to the complexity of her character. Her development throughout this novel is phenomenal.
Radu, on the other hand, is in many ways, the opposite of his younger sister. He is kind and intellegient, but he too is plagued with a lot of inner conflict. While his sister is ambitious, he is blinded by his love for Mehmed. But as the novel goes on, we see that blindness wear off as he comes to realize the destructive consequences that Mehmed’s goals have on real people. Both Radu and Lada have their own dreams that they are trying to accomplish alone, but the complicated bond between the siblings is often present as each realizes how well the other balanced them out and the type of people they are becoming in the absence of eachother.
I strongly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to see a strong female lead. In fact, we see many female characters in this novel who display various strengths. It’s a refreshing read and I can’t believe we have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next for Lada and Radu!