Spoiler Free Review of Rule by Ellen Goodlett
Synopsis: “Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.
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 band of Travelers. 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 one such plot could get her hung 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 sensational and striking fantasy debut.”
An arc of this book was sent to me by The NOVL and Little Brown Young Readers (THANK YOU!) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
You know when you are watching a Netflix show and the episode is going along just fine and the BAM! one phrase or reveal at the end of the episode has you immediately hitting the “Next Episode” button even though its 2am and you have to get up for work in 5 hours? That’s what Ruin was like for me. Luckily I left the book at my office to only read during lunch breaks because I am positive I would have lost quite a bit of sleep while mumbling “Just one more chapter…”. As it is, I may have kinda sorta taken slightly longer lunch breaks than I should have just to get more reading in.
The book starts with the introduction of the three main characters: Zofi, a traveler skilled in the Arts (the magic system of this world); Florencia (Ren), a ladies maid with laser focus on improving her station in life; and Akeylah, who has been raised by a terrible family and probably has the saddest backstory out of the three.
Each girl is the bastard child of the King. Each must now compete to prove themselves worthy of becoming the heir to the throne. Each has a damning secret that could destroy them.
Hot DAMN, I loved this book. I’ve been craving some good court/political intrigue (I blame the lack of Game of Thrones for this craving) that wasn’t too EPIC FANTASY and this book hit that mark perfectly. Instead of info dumping about the world and how it’s politics came to be, the author sprinkled bits of knowledge throughout. The world building was a bit lacking in that I got very little sense of what any particular location looked like. But the building of the history of the world was good and there was A+ political intrigue.
The story is told from the POV of each sister. I found that while each POV was distinct, there was some overlap and repetitiveness in their thought processes. But I felt that each had their own voice in the writing which I can imagine is not the easiest to do. I felt the book had good representation since all the characters were POC and there was a W/W relationship. Racism and prejudice were discussed and I think it was handle pretty well. The one thing that did bother me a bit was that the self inflicted would the characters have to make in order to access the power of the Arts could be construed to glorify cutting. I didn’t pick up on that until I read some other reviews because cutting is not a trigger for me, but this could bother other readers, so fair warning.
All in all, I really loved this book and am already awaiting the next book!
Thanks again to Little, Brown/The NOVL for sending me this ARC copy. Rule is released on September 11, 2018!
My next review will be for Kill the Farmboy by Kevin Hearne and Delilah Lawson. The map in the front of the book has dick jokes so I’m really looking forward to this book.