Book Review: Rule by Ellen Goodlet

Three girls. 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.

Rating: 4*

Recommended For: 12+

Themes: Romance, family relationships

LGBTQIA+ Content: One of the main POV characters is lesbian.

I loved this book. It’s a YA fantasy novel that feels fresh and had me guessing all the way through the plot. It’s part Game of Thrones and part who-dunnit, and it works incredibly well. The magic system feels very refreshing.

All three of the point of view characters – Zofi, Akeylah, and Ren – come from disparate backgrounds, with only their father to tie them together. Goodlett builds in-depth worlds from her in-depth characters, and the relationship between the three half-sisters is fascinating to watch develop.

My main criticism that there were many instances where the prose felt very much an info-dump. The info was interesting, don’t get me wrong. But I felt it could have been presented in a better way.

In terms of LGBTQIA+ content, one of the sisters is lesbian. I’ll leave it to you to find out who it is.

Overall, an enjoyable read and an impressive debut novel.

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