37946451Rule by Ellen Goodlett

ARC received via Netgalley for a fair review.
Publish Date: September 11, 2018

DNF at 50%, no star rating.

Three girls from various backgrounds learn that they are bastard children of the king who has lost his only child. Now they are brought to court to see who will inherit the crown.


The Story

I really hate DNFing books, but sometimes I just decide enough is enough. In this case I was actually somewhat intrigued by the plot of this book. The idea of three sisters competing to rule a country doesn’t sound incredibly unique until it’s broken down, but that aspect of the book actually had me diving in quickly.

From what I read each girl had a distinct background, and something in their recent past that would hinder their chance to the throne. The great thing is that each of their individual histories played in well to what they did. The bad thing is, I was reading chapter after chapter of them looking over their shoulder wondering who knew what they did, because ultimately it appears someone is blackmailing them…despite the demands for anything. The mystery aspect of who knows what they did definitely added a unique element, however, the competition for the throne had yet to begin at 50%, and this is a standalone book told from 3 POV, I had a feeling that the competition for the throne was not going to actually be all that exciting, and quite possibly rushed. However, I didn’t actually get to that part of the book, so don’t hold me accountable for that aspect.

Throughout the beginning of the book we are told their situations through a series of different POV for each girl with flashbacks of their lives, and recent misconduct. This gave a lot of info dumping, and worst of all for me, I couldn’t remember which girl was which. It isn’t until where I am leaving the book that I actually have a decent grasp on each character that is involved with each POV.

My biggest problem with the book was one of the love interests. If you plan on reading this, please note that minor spoiler ahead. One of the characters hits it off with a girl she’s talking to at a party, little does she know its her newly found father’s new wife. Thus, making their relationship a super taboo romance between a step mother and step daughter. I know they’re not related, but this is the lady that your dad is trying to get pregnant.

Trigger warnings: self harm & physical/emotional abuse.

The World Building

There were certain aspects that I thought were interesting, but I wasn’t sure if it is further explored in the remainder of the book.

The first was that there were three moons. Now, my biggest concern is that this was just thrown in. What aspect of there being three moons in this book actually affected the story? For instance, in Nevernight, the fact that there are three suns is a part of the story and coincides with the plot. In this case, it just seemed like a peculiar thing to have in the world.

The second thing was the blood magic. I was really eager to see much more about the blood magic. Like does it tie in with religion, and why wasn’t that explored more? Why doesn’t the other country get it? Now while I found this to be a unique take with magical abilities, especially the lack of boundaries the blood magic can provide, it also opened up the concept of self harm and should be listed as a trigger warning, as I pointed up above.

The Characters

Aside from getting a little confused on the characters in the beginning I thought there were some pretty unique personalities. Due to the fact that they all had different backgrounds, each girl expressed different concerns and brought different experience to the story.

For those of you looking for any LGBTQIA+ rep, we have at least one f/f relationship along with no pretense of a gender ruled society. Not only is the king passing his crown to his daughters (although, why not his wife? OR his twin sister?) but during a ball there was same gender dancing.


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