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Review of ‘We Rule the Night’


By Cynthia Bujnicki

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Image Credit: Goodreads

Revna was caught using illegal magic. Linné was caught impersonating a boy in the Union Army. Both girls face imprisonment, but now they have a chance to not only keep their status but to serve their country differently. Their survival in missions and their new lives rely on them trusting each other. Moreover, yet they can barely stand each other. Together they must find a way to fly and fly well if they want to survive in the sky and at home in the Union.

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett is her debut novel about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.

What an interesting novel. This novel is unlike anything out there as it follows the story of two girls who both want to serve their country. Well, for Revna, want might be a bit of a stretch considering the union has not been entirely fair to her, but she strives to push those feelings aside for the betterment of her family. For Linné, she loves her country and sees no downside to it, she wants to serve and protect and went as far as masquerading as a boy to do so. However, their differing perspectives not only put them at odds but also shows the reader the different facets of the country and how it treats its citizens.

The personalities of the characters, their struggles, and how they identify with the world makes for a fascinating read, especially given the fact that Revna is a bilateral below-the-knee amputee. She lost her legs in an accident and now walks on prosthetics made of metal created by her father. Her perception of the world and her interpretation of how people view her is impressive and brings a much-needed level of representation to young adult fiction. Revna is handicapped, but her disability does not slow her down one bit, and that is what makes her a compelling character. Revna is also a fantastic foil for Linné. Linné is a rougher character, very haughty and arrogant. She has already served in the war and looks at the other girls she is serving with as a joke. Revna is softer, more relatable, but Linné wants nothing to do with the other girls and thinks the magic they are using is wrong, even if it is in the name of serving the union.

That is where much of the character growth lies, in Linné, in the way her world is opened up to see the girls around her as equals to men. Being a woman is not a disadvantage, and soon, she learns that she learns that there is worth in being a woman, in being able to serve in any way she can.

Bartlett uses this platform to highlight many of the struggle’s women go through because of their gender. These girls are continuously mistreated because they are women. Through this, their female solidarity grows stronger. Even if the girls do not get along, they still stand together in the face of adversity; they work together to raise each other and to stand their ground against the misogynist and sexist viewpoint of their country. Moreover, that right there is powerful.

The story is, overall, a slow one. There is not much magic in the story, and what magic there is in the story is not fully explained to the reader. It is a mystery how it works and how the two different types of magic differ from one another. Thankfully, the magic is not the core of the story, so it is something the reader can overlook. Then there is the pace. The story has a slow pace as it tells the story and the synopsis makes the story feel like it was going to be something else other than what it is, Yes there is a war going on and yes the girls are brought in to help fight the war, but the story has less action than initially led on. Again, the story is about female strength, about empowerment and female solidarity more than it is about war. So, while the pace of the story is slow, it does allow the reader to understand the characters and this world they are living and fighting in. (★★★☆☆)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Apr. 2, 2019

Page count: 400pp

Age Range: 14 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-0627-4234-6

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

List Price: $17.99

     
 

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Kindle $9.99

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