Review of Rule by Ellen Goodlett
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review copy generously provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and theNOVL.
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.
Rule is a case of whodunit reminiscent of Agatha Christie, with a dash of the fantastical, that will have you guessing up to the very end. If you are looking for a new fantasy series to obsess over, Rule has all of the key ingredients.
Goodlett was born to write and this is a fantasy debut you need to add to your shelves! With her enchantingly descriptive writing, Goodlett has created a richly colorful fantasy world, with nods toward Oceanic cultures. Within that fantasy world are Zofi, Akeylah and Florencia – three girls who have only just discovered they are half sisters and the only remaining heirs to a dying king.
Thrust into a world of court politics, each girl hides a secret that holds her life in the balance, should it be discovered. Bound by their shared blood but clearly dissimilar from each other and the picturesque heir, their differences to not go unnoticed. As each sister fights to prove herself a worthy heir to the throne, it is a struggle to keep their secrets close amongst the vipers at court and somebody has discovered what they hide.
From there the story keeps the reader guessing at every page turn. Who can be trusted? Who is the blackmailer? What secrets are the other courtiers hiding? Rule has an intriguing cast of supporting characters, including a fine dash of romance and the moment you begin to root for someone is also the moment you begin to question their motives.
In addition to the mystery at hand, Rule’s tithing based magic system was refreshing and meticulously fleshed out – with a fine balance between the positive and negative impacts of using such magic.
Additionally, Rule has a strong representation of cultural diversity with a cast made wholly of POC characters, plus some LGBT romance. There are themes of bigotry and oppression present, something each of the girls has tasted firsthand.
Overall, this is a new fantasy series I am pumped to continue! It has been compared to Three Dark Crowns and Pretty Little Liars, with a dash of King Lear and boy does that hit the nail on the head! If you’re looking for something exciting and twisty for your next read, this is it!
Release Date: September 11th, 2018
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