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We Rule the Night

Review

We Rule the Night

Revna, a traitor’s daughter, keeps her head down at the factory that she works at. When a bomb lands in her hometown, she escapes death using illegal magic. The only problem: she was caught using it. Linné, a general’s daughter, disguises herself as a man to join the military to fight for the Union. It isn’t soon after that when she is caught. The two women join the 146th Night Raiders, a female-only regiment, that intend to use magic to help win the war against the Elda. With their clashing personalities, Revna and Linné must learn to work together. Their very lives depend on it. Claire Eliza Bartlett builds a stunning debut, leaving readers wanting more.

 

The intriguing premise of an all-female crew of militants using illegal magic to help end the war sounded absolutely fantastic! It also opens up to several reflections of women in the military and how they're treated. Despite the fantasy backdrop, the discussion on sexism can easily reflect our own society, and even some of our own experiences. 

 

The book opens right in the middle of a raging war. It was such an easy and visual way to be introduced to our two female leads. Revna finds herself under a bomb threat at the factory she works for. While Linné is being called into the colonel’s office for disguising herself as a man all this time. From these introductions, the back stories of both characters are immediately intriguing. WE RULE THE NIGHT quickly becomes a page turner of epic proportions. 

 

WE RULE THE NIGHT follows the 146th Night Raiders, a group of amazing women intent on flying planes run on magic to win the war. The regiment is filled with such a large cast, it's difficult to remember every name. The two leads are easy enough to remember: Revna and Linné. However, as much as readers get a few scenes filled with the large cast, there isn't much description to help remember each character in the book. 

 

Revna may have leg prosthetics but she doesn’t let that stop her fighting for the Union. When she falls, she gets back up. She is strong, intelligent, and brave --- even if she doesn’t think so at first. Linné is immediately judged by the women of her new regiment for her connections in the army and being her father’s daughter, a general’s daughter. It also doesn’t help that she acts as if superior and more-knowing than the other girls. However, a lot of the assumptions and fast judgments made by the girls were rather unfair as no one tried to break through Linné’s barrier to get to know her. Out of all the characters, Linné is the most realistic and most complex. Despite getting a bad reputation from the other characters, I quite liked her. 

 

I got some major steampunk vibes from WE RULE THE NIGHT. YA has a sparse landscape of steampunk novels so I was stoked to find elements of it in this one. The book is set during wartime. There are planes made from living metal, which has a mind of its own. The pilot and navigator connect to the plane, becoming one mind. The concept was enthralling to behold. 

 

The friendship between Linné and Revna, once forced, becomes complicated and deep, intertwining with their clashing personalities. The war brings out the worst and the best of the two. In order to make their plane fly, they must connect their minds to the living metal which forces them to connect to each other on a different level. Through the book, readers witness the wonders of a friendship take root between Revna and Linné.

 

The world building is constructed beautifully. The superb writing folds the world right into the seams of the story. There is minimal info-dumping, which is always the best way to introduce a new world.

 

The ending wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It was realistic. Yet, after the exhilaration of the climax, the ending was a bit disappointing. Under my disappointment was a smile, however, in what the two amazing female leads had accomplished. I couldn’t help but want more though. Bartlett opens readers’ eyes to this whole new world that is as fierce and deadly as it is gorgeous and intriguing. The story is a wild ride that straps you in and refuses to let go. 

 

Bartlett created a superb world that I hope to visit again. WE RULE THE NIGHT was a riveting narrative of complex relationships, shocking action sequences and an on-the-edge-of-your-seat story.

Reviewed by Jeanna Michel on April 10, 2019

We Rule the Night
by Claire Eliza Bartlett