Book review: ‘Now I Rise’ delves deeper into story of a gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler

Random House

“Now I Rise” is by Kiersten White.

NOW I RISE,” by Kiersten White, Delacorte Press, $18.99, 480 pages (f) (ages 15 and up)

Siblings Lada and Radu complement each other, with her fierceness and military training and his talent in social and political situations, in author Kiersten White’s And I Darken trilogy that looks at how history would be if Vlad the Impaler had been female. White helps this complex chapter of history come to life through the eyes of strong characters.

In “Now I Rise,” the second in the series, scheduled to be released June 27, the siblings have chosen different paths and are separated as each sees, and at times longs, for the help of the other.

Lada and her band of former Ottoman soldiers have gone back from Istanbul to her homeland of Wallachia, now present-day Romania, to take the throne after the deaths of her father and brother, while her brother, Radu, has stayed behind to help Mehmed the Conquer, the sultan.

Lada is finding taking back her country’s throne much more difficult than expected and was never one for political niceties — that was Radu’s forte and he doesn’t come when she writes for help.

Lada decides to go a much more blunt — and subsequently brutal and violent — path as she makes her intentions for the throne much more difficult to dismiss or…

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