White, Kiersten. Now I Rise. New York: Delacorte Press, 2017.
Hardcover | $18.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0553522358 | 470 pages | YA Historical Fiction
Despite my conflicting feelings regarding historical and cultural/linguistic accuracy in And I Darken, I still had a lingering desire to continue on with this series, especially since the characters and their complex, if toxic, relationships continued to mystify me. And I’m now glad I gave Now I Rise a shot, as I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would, given that I now went in knowing a little more about what to expect.
The troubled sibling dynamic between Lada and Radu remains at the forefront, and I was intrigued at seeing how the rift between them started to grow wider, in large part due to their contrasting natures and choices. Despite the fact that Lada is very much a brutal, merciless warrior character in this one, she is written in such a way where I feel like her motivations are still easy to understand, even without having been in that specific set of circumstances.
I also love seeing Radu’s conflict throughout these political maneuverings on both Lada’s side and Mehmed’s, in terms of the conquest of Constantinople. Despite the fact that the historical fact of who won out is known, the way he has to examine his loyalties in this matter is a truly touching one, especially given his difficult relationship with his sister and forbidden feelings for Mehmed.
This was in general a wonderful sequel that outdid the first in its storyline and characterizations. I would recommend this to other fans of unique takes on historical fiction.