Now I Rise by Kiersten White
Published by Delacorte Press on June 27th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Retelling
She has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself.
After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada Dracul 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.
“Do not lose that hunger. You will always have to fight for everything. Even when you already have it, you will have to keep fighting to maintain it. You will have to be more ruthless, more brutal, more everything. Any weakness will undo everything you have accomplished. They will see any crack as evidence that they were right that a woman cannot do what you do.”
If you’re looking for a Young Adult novel that combines a Vlad the Impaler reimagining with a rich historical setting and a glorious feminist storyline, then The Conqueror’s Saga is your address. This series excites with multi-layered characters and fascinating character dynamics, intriguing political/war schemes and engaging personal endeavours. And I Darken was a slow build-up but I was really intrigued, especially by the sibling leads. The book’s ending gave me a hint that I was going to like where Kiersten White was headed with this story, and I was right.
Though Now I Rise is split into Lada’s and Radu’s separate storylines, it does not feel like a filler book. Compared to And I Darken, the sequel is grittier and bloodier. The stakes are raised, as each sibling yearns and fights to be something their harsh world will not permit them to be.
Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group hosted by Trina from Between Chapters and Kayla from Kayla Rayne. We’re a million years late with this post due to a complete lack of time for blogging at the moment, but better late than never, eh? 😉
Retellings have become quite popular in the last years, and for a while, we were worried that this avalanche of retellings would cheapen their quality and make us grow tired of them. Thankfully, there are plenty of well-written, imaginative retellings out there, which made it almost effortless to put together a selection of recommendations for this category. While you might think books based on pre-existing stories and legends add nothing new, this is not the case with many retellings. Authors will often change or modernise the context, add a new element or a little extra twist, or swap genders. With retellings, you often expect to know the story, yet you find yourself having a novel reading experience. We’d like to share some of our favourite retellings with you – some are rather popular, others may be less known.
As always, they are sorted alphabetically and clicking on the title will lead you to our review if there is one. Of course, we’re keen to learn about retellings that might have slipped our attention, so please let us know if you have any recommendations not featured on this list!
Hello everyone! As some of you may know, I’m a Clinical Psychology major with a focus on child and adolescent psychology. Hence, mental health is a subject dear to me, and for which I’d like to advocate in relation to books. The rep of mental health, regardless of what form, in books is of utmost importance, because books reach more people than almost any other medium (save for social media and newspapers).
For last spring’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I talked about good MH rep in contemporary books and posted a list of recommendations. For this month’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, I’d like to take a step away from contemporary, and ask you: Why aren’t there more mental illnesses depicted in fantasy & science fiction? If it’s alright to depict mental illness in a contemporary, but not for a character in a fantasy realm or a futuristic sci-fi setting to suffer from the same illness, then we’re still upholding a partial amount of the stigma mental illness faces. Where are the wizards and cyborgs suffering from Panic Disorder? Where’s the (space) pirate struggling with OCD? Why aren’t there any depressed vampires, schizophrenic mermaids, anorexic dragon hunters, autistic faeries, or shapeshifters with ADHD? There are still remarkably few books which blend genres like fantasy, sci-fi, or dystopian with everyday mental health issues.
So as you might’ve figured out from our descriptions or the many, many, many times we apologize during the year for university-caused absences, Chantal and I are hard-working students in two competitive fields of study. The ton of recreational reading we got done during school was a luxury we parted with when we enrolled at uni. Those of you who are in similar positions know what we’re talking about, I’m sure. The further into my studies I got, the less reading I was able to get done. Whereas I easily read 60 books a year during my undergrad studies, I’m now struggling to manage 50 books. During my internships, I also noticed how much less I was at home and yet got more reading done. The thing is: At uni, you always have some assignment to complete or studying to do, but I had no post-work obligations during my internships. Honestly, being back at uni pulled a break on my reading last semester. I am not surprisingly behind in my GR challenge, and I assume Chantal is, too. We don’t care about meeting the challenge per se but it allows for a direct comparison with our previous reading years which brings on nostalgia of times when we had more time to read.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself whether this is going to be a page-long rant about how university has taken over our lives and so on. Actually, it is not.
Over the years, we’ve had to re-organise ourselves with regard to being bookworms – which means reading, reviewing, blogging, and bookstagramming. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This post focuses on how to juggle one’s studies (or work) with reading which do not always go well together. We have to compromise a lot where book-related activities are concerned but we’ve found ways to get some reading (or blogging) done nonetheless. We’d like to share some of our tips and ideas with you. Please feel free to leave your own in the comments! From two bookworms to another, we’re always grateful for advice on squeezing in recreational reading into our busy schedules.
Greetings, fellow bookworms! It’s been a year since we created this blog and wrote our first post on our most anticipated releases for the coming season, and it’s still one of our favourite posts to do. There’s just something exciting about browsing our TBRs on the lookout for upcoming releases. On the northern hemisphere, autumn is approaching fast, and you know what that means right? Lots of windy, rainy, and sunny days with golden leaves which makes for the perfect reading weather (naturally, if it’s turning spring where you live, that’s a lovely time to read as well). Now, we’re sure you have just as many physical or ebooks you already own which you should get around to reading, but what service would we do for the community if we didn’t point out more books to add to your never-ending TBR, am I right? Hence, we’ve put together a list of our most anticipated releases of autumn 2017 (autumn being September, October, and November where we live). The books are listed in order of publication date (as stated on Goodreads) and clicking on the titles will direct you to the respective Goodreads page (unless, of course, we were lucky enough to get an ARC and review it). We hope you find some intriguing books to keep you cosy with a cup of tea!