I finally have a review for Thriller Thursday! I finished Rule by Ellen Goodlett a few nights ago. This is a new YA fantasy series that is marketed as Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars. I know this is mostly a YA fantasy, but the mystery of who is leaving the messages adds a bit of a thriller element to the book as well.
I received a finished copy of this novel from Hachette Book Group in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks to them for sending me a copy of this wonderful book!
Goodreads Rating: ★★★★☆ 3.73
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Page Count: 384 pages
Genre(s): YA fantasy,
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: September 11, 2018
Plot: 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.
Review: I would say that the marketing for this book is 110% accurate. I have not read Three Dark Crowns, but I know the general plot and it is very similar to Rule. Three young women from very different walks of life are revealed to be the illegitimate daughters of the king, who has recently lost his only heir. The king needs to choose a new heir very soon, so the sisters are brought to the kingdom/capital city and introduced formally to the citizens. One by one, each sister begins to receive threatening messages from an unknown person or persons. Someone knows their secrets and is threatening to reveal those secrets if they do not give up their right to the throne.
I gave this book a solid four stars. The book would have easily been a five star rating for me, but the first 80 pages were so slow. There was almost too much world building and backstory in the first part of the book for me. I also wish there had been a map in the front of this book because I had no concept of the world other than the descriptions from the three main characters.
The book is told in alternating POVs. I would say it took me half the book to adjust to the three different narrators. Once the blackmail and threats started happening, the book became more interesting and I flew through it quickly.
Each main character has a love interest (obviously, or it would not be a YA fantasy). I will not spoil too much, but I did have a problem with the forbidden romance because it is a bit icky to me. It is no worse than a romance in Game of Thrones though, so do not let that deter you from reading it. There is no explicit content either, which I was very surprised about in a YA fantasy.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought this was solid YA fantasy. I was frustrated with the ending because I did think this was going to be a standalone book, but the sequel release date has already been released (June 2019!), so I don’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next! The last 100 pages really saved this book for me, and I will be continuing the series.
Thank you so much for reading my review! Please let me know down in the comments if you plan to read this one!