This was probably one of my most anticipated sequels of 2019. I picked up Rule from the library earlier this year, and really loved getting to know Zofi, Akeylah, and Ren. I couldn’t wait to read how their stories ended.
Sisters Akeylah, Ren, and Zofi are all a step closer to their dying father’s throne, a step closer to the crown that will allow one of them to rule over Kolonya. But the sisters’ pasts continue to haunt them. Each hides a secret marked with blood and betrayal, and now their blackmailer is holding nothing back. When King Andros discovers the sisters’ traitorous pasts, the consequences will shake the entire kingdom to its core.
As Kolonya’s greatest threat stalks closer and closer, weaving a web of fear and deceit around Ren, Zofi, and Akeylah, even the people they love are under suspicion. If the sisters are going to survive, they’ll have to learn to trust each other above all else and work together, not only to save themselves, but to protect everyone and everything they hold dear.
Rise picks up where Rule left off, but the plot immediately begins to thicken. Unexpected twists and turns come at you from all angles, with new characters to suspect.
I thought the suspense aspect of this book was pretty awesome. You don’t know who to trust and the author guides you to suspect multiple characters to turn your eye from the guilty party.
That said, I did figure out who the heir was before the big reveal, but the story was delivered in such a way that I doubted my conviction every now and then. 🙂
Also, the plot around the heir is pretty darn thick. You think you know certain things about the story, then they’re just wonderfully twisted before your eyes.
Just as in Rule, we’re in either Zofi, Akeylah, or Ren’s POV in this book. I seriously love these girls and how well their strengths gel together.
I also reckon the one who is crowned in the end was best suited for the job. I seriously love the journey the book takes to get her there.
Also, I found it great to see how much these girls have grown, and how they apply what they’ve learned to complete their quest.
Though I love many of the secondary cast characters, I do feel like we didn’t get to know all of them as well as we could have. This doesn’t distract from the story, though. I think the three protagonists are more than capable of carrying the entire plot on their own.
Most of this book plays off in the castle, just like Rule. Still, we do get to look outside a bit, which I really enjoyed.
I love the diversity of this world, and the underlying politics that are just threatening to boil over the top. I think it’s great that issues like classism, racism, and sexuality are tackled between the pages. These things just make the world more believable.
I must be honest that I was let down a bit by the end of the heir. This person has been threatening and puppeteering our three heroines for two books straight, and their demise seemed a bit underrated, IMO.
I’d also have loved to see some real consequences for what some of the girls were suspected of in this book. I thought they came off a bit easy.
Lastly, I’d have liked a looming threat at the end, but this is a personal preference. In books where the mind of society has to be changed, I find it more interesting when there’s a bit of resistance. Not all people just blindly follow. Especially considering this book, where it’s the illegitimate child of a king in question, and society doesn’t like the origin stories of their possible heirs.
That said, this was a really good duology. I enjoyed getting to know a trio of kick-arse characters, each with strengths and weaknesses that balanced out her sisters. The plot twists kept me guessing, and the final reveal of their nemesis came with a gut-punch surprise that I didn’t see coming.
I highly recommend Rise to readers who enjoy easy-read YA and a wonderful female cast. I’m excited to see what future books come from Ellen Goodlett’s pen.