We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Information

Goodreads: We Rule the Night
Series: None (so far)
Source: Library
Published: 2019

Summary

The Union has been at war for years and the situation is growing desperate.  The draft age has been lowered once again and, even worse, the army is now reduced to recruiting women who wield illegal magic in order to power a new flight unit.  Revna is a disgraced factory worker whose skill manipulating the Weave gains her a spot in the unit.  Linné is the disgraced daughter of a general, angry she was caught serving in the regular army as a “boy.” Now they have to work together both to complete their missions and to gain the first women’s flight unit the respect it deserves.

Star Divider

Review

We Rule the Night is a refreshing addition to the YA fantasy market.  Though inspired by Russian history, it otherwise largely avoids falling into any common trends. Instead, it tells a story focused on female friendship and overcoming adversity.  Readers of YA looking for something new, looking for fierce females, or looking for something to tide them over until Leigh Bardugo’s next book will adore We Rule the Night.

The story centers around the relationships between the girls in the Union’s first female flight unit and this, rather than the war, becomes the emotional heart of the story.  Each of the girls has their reasons for wanting to fly in a unit that could result in their disgrace or even their death after the war–manipulating the Weave to fly is, after all, illegal, a fact the authorities will surely remember once the situation on the battlefield has improved.  Even so, they initially cannot stand each other, and fail to understand that they will need to work together in order to prove their worth in a world where only men are valued as soldiers.  Their transformation into a true fighting unit is what makes the book truly meaningful.

At times, the fighting between the girls can, however, admittedly become dull.  In particular, there is no reason why main characters Revna and Linné  should hate each other as much as they do for as long as they do.  It sometimes seems like they make strides, only to fall back into their old ways–just so readers can get more drama.  I do wish that they had resolved the differences a little earlier in the novel so they could start working on fighting their real enemy–the patriarchy.

In addition to this criticism, I must add that the highly unique magic system remains under-developed, despite its interesting potentials.  There is the Weave, which some characters like Revna can pull on like thread to make objects like planes fly. Then there is spark, which seems to be a more common (and legal) magic anyone can perform to use as a weapon (or to make pretty figures).  And then there is living metal, which can take on people’s emotions, and the Skarov, who may or may not be able to read minds or transform into cats.  All of this is extremely interesting, but readers can very few concrete details about how it all works.  Perhaps a sequel could begin to clear up some of the questions the book leaves open, but currently there seems to be no sequel planned.

Altogether, however, We Rule the Night is a highly enjoyable YA fantasy full of compelling characters, high stakes, and just the right amount of drama.  Readers who want something that steers away from YA fantasy tropes will be happy to pick this up, as will readers who want something without a romance for a change.  But the book is notable for more than being different.  Even on its own, it is, quite simply, a good read.

4 stars

4 thoughts on “We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

  1. CHARIS RAE @ charisrae.com says:

    I read an ARC of this a couple months ago! 🙂 I loved the worldbuilding, though I wished they had dived deeper into that and the Weave. I really loved the diverse amount of characters, especially showing different kinds of men and women. I thought the plot was somewhat slow in the middle, but I thought the beginning and ending were amazing.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I was really interested in the Weave and the other magic, but it was never really addressed. A sequel could fix that, but I don’t think explaining your world is really material for a sequel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. marydrover says:

    Thank you for this review! I have this on my TBR shelf currently, and was super curious about it because of the flight/airforce type of element, so I’m glad to hear it’s good!

    Like

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