I received this book for free from NOVL in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
AUTHOR: Ellen Goodlett
SERIES: Rule #1
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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 the story of three different girls who are torn from their normal lives after discovering they are illegitimate daughters of a king in need of an heir. Of course, there is no easy path to being queen. Only one can be crowned next in line to rule the kingdom, and they all have nasty secrets that could get them killed. Secrets that someone else knows.
Rule was such an exciting read! While the basic concept is not the most unique (Three Dark Crowns, anyone?), its world-building and characters set it apart. The magical elements add a refreshing twist. It’s quite intriguing how the magic can be harnessed and used. But I wanted to see more of it.
While the magical elements are fascinating, my favorite aspect of this story was reading about the background of the kingdom and learning more about each part through the three girls. Because they come from different places, are of different races and social classes, and have different sexual orientations, they bring different pieces to the big puzzle, which I thoroughly enjoyed putting together.
The diversity each girl brings was so fun to read. But most importantly, they have different stories. I really enjoyed reading about how their experiences have shaped them into who they are and watching them develop.
That being said, I wish I got to see more of their relationship with one another and other characters develop. I was surprised by how quick some of their relationships shifted. Their individual point of views also felt a bit tedious and chunky at times. Even though the pov switched, sometimes I felt like I was reading about the same character going through the exact same events.
The mystery behind the secret keeper was really captivating. Although the pay off was a bit disappointing – it was a little predictable since it was more of a mystery for the girls than the reader – the ending made up for it. I did not see that coming at all! Of course, we’re stuck on a cliffhanger, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!
I really enjoyed Rule and reading about the world it’s set in and the three strong female characters, but it’s not without its issues. I wish there was more (and better) character development, as well as a more compelling mystery.