This book is fascinating both as a historical novel and in its character development. Now I Rise is the continuation of And I Darken. Lada has been given permission by Mehmed, the sultan, to become Prince of Wallachia, while Radu continues to work for Mehmed in a crucial, but undercover capacity that finds him separated from Mehmed almost completely.
Both Lada and Radu begin by thinking they have achieved what they wanted, but they grow to learn that nothing is ever as black-and-white as it seems. This is the novel where both Lada and Radu become adults, working in the grey areas of life, weighing their achievements against their costs. And the costs are significant. Both betray people they care about. Both are betrayed by the people they love. In the end, they both realize that they are strongest when they are together, yet it cannot be. I'm excited to see if White will reunite them in the third book.
White does a wonderful job of intertwining these stories with the monumentally significant fall of Constantinople. We see the failing end of the Byzantine Empire next to the might of an Ottoman Empire on the rise. But while this is a turning point for history, White manages to bring the reader in to a personal, and therefore more immediate, feel for the battle for the city.
The pacing is furious and the two story lines balance each other perfectly. Even if you prefer YA fantasy to historic fiction, you'll probably find a familiar story pacing that keeps you turning the pages well into the night.