Wow I’m tired. Fall came with a vengeance–not in weather (is it ridiculously hot where you live too? No? Just me?) but in my body for sure. As in, I got sick, right on schedule. I thought “hey I’m not in school so it must be better this year” and that was my first mistake. September arrives? Sickness piling on right on time. On the plus side, it gave me a lot of time to read, having to be off work a couple days to get better. Hence, why I’m able to get this release day review to you all.
So. Rule. Let’s do this thing, yeah?
From the Barnes & Noble website:
The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos. Or rather, three unexpected options…
Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her people. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.
Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.
Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But she could be hanged for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.
When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny…to rule.
Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this heart-stopping fantasy debut.
Fun fact: I actually almost sold a copy today when I was at work. I had this lady all set and ready to buy but she ended up going with Six of Crows instead. Which, if you’re going to get put back for another fantasy book, that one is a good one to lose to. But, anyway, review.
I’ll be honest here, I didn’t expect much of this one. I got the advanced from work and started it while I was home sick last week. Before reading I was pretty meh about the whole thing. The summary sounded a little too “Three Dark Crowns rip off” to me. But I was sick and wanted to try and see if I could read it by release day (I didn’t have much hope for that) so I picked it up.
Y’all. I was wrong.
Allow me to explain: I spent the majority of the time I read this book so engrossed that I am told I had entire conversations with people I do not remember. My family swears this is a thing that happened. This is not the first time that’s held true, but it only ever happens when I’m really into a book.
Were there a few moments where it felt a little TDC-esque . . . well, sure. They share a similar premise after all. But it didn’t feel like following along on the heels of that series, if that makes sense. It’s for sure its own story.
Now that I’ve explained how I horribly misjudged this book initially, let us move on to the review itself, shall we?
First of all the characters were great. I loved and hated each and every one of them in turn. Except Akeylah. I could never hate Akeylah. If you hate Akeylah we can’t be friends anymore. Or, okay, we can, but you have to explain in detail why you make bad life choices.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Characters.
So the characters are developed well. I’d say there’s a tendency to fall a little bit into stereotypes at times but I don’t think it’s too bad. They’re overall pretty good, but there are moments when I feel like certain parts of their story lines all drop off without warning. I assume those loose threads will be picked up in book two, but parts did feel somewhat abrupt. The general development was smooth, though, and fed into a stronger overall story line.
If I had one real complaint about this book it’s the fact that everything two of the sisters did before the book began led up to and partly necessitated the calling up of all three girls to compete to become queen. Two of the sisters. The third has a secret and she definitely did something Big and Bad like the other two, but if you take the other girls’ backstories out, you have a totally different book. You don’t even really have a book. If you take out the third’s you not only still have a book you have a book mostly unchanged as far as plot goes. It’s just . . . disappointing. The rest of the story was really good, and I liked it a lot. But I could not get this point out of my head. I ended up knocking an entire star off of my review because of it (and some smaller, unimportant reasons).
Other than this mishap, though, I think the story knocked it out of the park. Especially the ending. Oh man, that ending. I don’t know what you guys are going to do when you get to that ending. No spoilers here, but I will say this: there are cliffhangers and then there are cliffhangers. Guess which one Rule is?
Yeah I don’t have too much to say beyond this. The setting was nicely developed, though I wish we’d seen a teeny bit more of it. The characters were well-rounded and fleshed out well. There were a few moments I wished would’ve been expanded on or left alone entirely but they weren’t often enough to deter reading. I think the best part of the book was the importance placed on family and the strength familial bonds can have and grow into. It’s by no means a finished story (did I mention the cliffhanger?) but it’s a great one. If you like fantasy stories and sisters and mystery and blackmail, this is the story for you.
I gave Rule 4/5 stars on Goodreads. I stand by that. I think it was a solid book. Was it the best book I’ve ever read? No, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it. It could be your next favorite. Or not. But I would say pick it up for yourself, at the library or your local indie or B&N or wherever you buy books. It’s worth a read, I think.
Alright, that’s all from me. I’m off to dive back into Elizabeth Frankenstein. God I love Kiersten White. That’s another one I’ll have a review for soon. First I’ve gotta finish the book, though. Which I’m gonna work on now. Okay. Bye!