Thank you so much to the NOVL for sending me an ARC of We Rule the Night as a part of their Book Squad! This book looked super cool from the get go when I heard them talking about it at Yallfest last year, and it definitely did not disappoint!
We Rule the Night 4/5 Stars
Summary from Goodreads: Two girls use forbidden magic to fly and fight–for their country and for themselves–in this riveting debut that’s part Shadow and Bone, part Code Name Verity.
Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linné defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linné can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.
We Rule the Night is a powerful story about sacrifice, complicated friendships, and survival despite impossible odds.
So I didn’t read Code Name Verity, so I don’t know how accurate that comparison is, but I definitely didn’t see any Shadow and Bone in it, so don’t go into We Rule the Night expecting Shadow and Bone. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I definitely know that if I really wanted Shadow and Bone, I would not have gotten it in this book. What I did get in this book was a really cool mix of technology and magic, war and friendships, and something that I normally don’t see in YA fantasy these days- no romance. All of these aspects come together super well to create a really cool world and really interesting and relatable relationships between… coworkers I guess is the best way to describe them.
The one things I was a little iffy about was the fact that a lot of the war and the way the magic worked wasn’t really explained in too much detail. I feel like something that is such an important aspect to our characters’ lives was just given a quick one sentence explanation/description every once in a while and we just expected to pick it up and understand it from these little clues. While it kind of happened, it took a really long time for me to feel like I actually understood the world (and it could 100% be that most of the books I read focus so heavily on world building where this one did not focus on it quite as much).
Anyway, besides that small annoyance I loved this book! I thought the pacing was great and I was really engaged throughout the book. I thought the way that Revna’s phantom limb pain was described was so vivid and was definitely not something that most people ever think about. Linné’s inability to connect with the other girls in her group was heartbreaking (because she was only trying to make everyone better!) but also so relatable from her side and the side of the others. This book seemed so real (I mean, besides the whole magic thing) and interpersonal relationships were so well done.
I haven’t even started talking about the planes yet! This is the second plane-y war based book I read this year, and I definitely liked this one better than the last one. The planes were so much cooler because they were powered by two different types of magic. And there were so many different kinds of planes! The ones that the enemy forces used seemed so cool and our main characters were 100% the underdogs with their planes.
So all in all, big fan of this book, and I would 100% recommend reading it!