I’m so excited to get to participate in the blog tour for Kiersten White’s latest novel in The Conqueror’s Saga, Now I Rise. I truly think that Lada is one of the most unique and captivating characters in YA, and she more than lived up to all my expectations once again!
One of the many things I love about these books are the wonderful nods to the Dracula mythos woven throughout the story, so I paired Now I Rise with this Draculea Vlad the Impaler Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, not to mention the fact that Lada is one FIERCE, gender-swapped version of Vlad the Impaler.
*All wine recommendations are strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*
About And I Darken
Title: AND I DARKEN
Author: Kiersten White
Pub. Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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.
About Now I Rise
Title: NOW I RISE
Author: Kiersten White
Pub. Date: Jume 27, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
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.
Now I Rise Review
AND I DARKEN was one of my favorite novels of 2016. I absolutely fell in love with the concept of a gender-swapped, anti-heroine take on Vlad the Impaler! That premise is, quite frankly, badass. And I found all the little nods to the Dracula mythos absolutely brilliant.
I was thrilled to get to read an early copy of NOW I RISE as part of the blog tour, and this book certainly did not disappoint. I am absolutely addicted to this series and fascinated by the evolution of both Lada and Radu’s characters.
This book spends a lot more time in Radu’s perspective than the previous book did, and it was so fascinating to observe his character arc throughout this novel and the struggles he is faced with in fitting in to his society, choosing sides between two warring nations despite split allegiances, and questioning his faith. I fell in love with Radu in book one and feel like he definitely stole the show in book two.
While I would have liked just a bit more of Lada’s perspective in this story, when we were in her POV, it was so fascinating watching her further develop into that iconic character of the Impaler. I love the fact that even though Kiersten White does show some of Lada’s more humanizing characteristics and weaknesses, she still absolutely reads like an anti-heroine. I feel like that is something that truly sets her character and this story apart.
The first book covered a very large expanse of time and seemed to stay in the MG age for a large portion of the story. This second book is more focused on a shorter period of time and really zeroes in on these characters during a YA age. Honestly, I enjoyed both equally. I feel like the pacing in the first was a bit faster, because of how much material it covered, while in NOW I RISE the pacing is a bit slower, but you really get a lot more detail about the characters, setting, and political machinations.
The amount of research that White puts into these books absolutely shines through the text. The historical events that White does feature in the story are immersive and feel like they could be very accurate representations of how things may have transpired.
There were also some really powerful scenes with Mehmed in this book. I won’t go into detail, so I can avoid spoilers, but his character is becoming more and more fascinating to me as the series progresses as well.
I cannot wait for the next book to come out already. I am so excited to see more of Lada’s character and where White takes this story from here.
About Kiersten White
Kiersten White is the NYT bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, Illusions of Fate, The Chaos of Stars, In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo, and the upcoming historical reimagining, And I Darken. She has one tall husband and three small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal. Visit her at http://www.kierstenwhite.com.
Enter the Giveaway
3 Winners will receive a finished copy of NOW I RISE, US Only.
Follow the Blog Tour!
Thanks to Rockstar Book Tours for hosting this tour for Now I Rise! Be sure to check out their site and the other amazing posts on this tour!
6/19/2017- Bookfever– Excerpt
6/20/2017- Lisa Loves Literature– Review
6/21/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
6/22/2017- Fiktshun– Review
6/23/2017- Carina’s Books– Review
6/26/2017- Dazzled by Books– Review
6/27/2017- Books and Things– Review
6/28/2017- Rattle the Stars– Review
6/29/2017- YABC– Review
6/30/2017- Once Upon A Twilight– Review
7/3/2017- Adventures of a Book Junkie– Interview
7/4/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland– Review
7/5/2017- Fiction Fare– Review
7/6/2017- YA and Wine– Review
7/7/2017- Little Red’s Reviews– Review
Did you read And I Darken? Have you gotten a chance to start Now I Rise just yet? Who are some of your favorite female characters in YA lit that don’t conform to traditional gender roles?