Rule by Ellen Goodlett – Review

Rule by Ellen Goodlett.jpgSummary:

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: 4 Stars

Rule is a novel I was very excited for and I’m thrilled to say that it lived up to the hype. By the time that I read it I forgot what it was about, so I found reading it blind to be a great experience, I had no idea where this novel was going to go, which made it all that more exciting. Whoever made the comparison that Rule was like Pretty Little Liars meets Three Dark Crowns was right. It certainly reminded me of Pretty Little Liars, and now I want to read Three Dark Crowns. Magic, teenage girls, secrets and blackmail all come together to make quite the interesting story. This is more of a fast paced fantasy rather than an intricate one. Rule is fast paced, compelling and has great characters.

“Three girls. Three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.”

I loved the quick moving plot. Three very different girls all found out that they were the bastard daughters of the king and since he was sick, they were to compete for the crown. Each of the girls was hiding a secret and someone behind the scenes was threatening to reveal them. The treasonous secrets that each girl held made them for intriguing morally grey characters. I found this aspect of Rule to be similar to Pretty Little Liars, but the rest of it is very different. Especially when you throw in magic and a competition for the crown.

“The three of you are my daughters”

The fantasy element of this novel is blood tithes. The way it is used is fascinating and full of possibilities. When blood is shed by someone they can become stronger, faster, make themselves look like someone else, or even become invisible, but just for a little bit. The army uses blood tithes at strategic moments to gain the advantage, but the possibilities for this magic are endless. It was described very clearly and it wasn’t confusing to read about. I do wish that there was more detail on the world the book is set in and more of a vivid description of what it is like. It was still really interesting to read about, even if the world building wasn’t very detailed.

“Describing the Arts to someone who had never tithed was as impossible as explaining an extra sense. The Arts tasted green, smelled like adrenaline, sounded cold.”

The three girls were fascinating as they were each so different from one another. Florencia grew up in court, so she had a bit of advantage there because she knew the proper way to act and a bit about deception. Zofi grew up as a Traveler, who were basically nomadic magicians, so she was a good fighter, knew how to survive and was also a bit bold. Akeylah grew up in a household where the man who she believed was her father beat her, which made her a bit meek. Of course these characters change and grow over the course of the story but their differences outweigh their similarities, the contrast of which I found interesting to read about. Each of the girls all seemed like unlikely princesses.

Rule was a really fun, fast fantasy read. The idea behind the plot is fascinating and once the secrets were sprinkled into the story I found this book to be an addiciting read. I enjoyed the idea of blood tithes, but wished for a bit more intricate world building. Above all, I adored the characters and will definitely return to read the rest of this series. I was astonished to find out that this was Ellen Goodlett’s debut novel and can not wait to see what else she can come up with. If you are looking for a fantasy novel to get you out of a reading slump, Rule is a perfect choice.


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