Rule is the series conclusion to this revolution meets seamstress magic that begin with Torn. There’s a fantastic series, world, and character progression from Torn to Fray to Rule. If you’re intrigued by questions of power, one person’s role in the world, and fantasy you need to check out this series. Keep reading my review of Rule to find out all my favorite themes.
The civil war that the charm caster Sophie and the Crown Prince Theodor tried so desperately to avert has come to Galitha.
While Theodor joins Sophie’s brother and his Reformist comrades in battle, hoping to turn the tide against the better-supplied and better-trained Royalist army, Sophie leverages the only weapon she has: charm and curse casting.
She weaves her signature magic into uniforms and supplies procured with the aid of unlikely foreign allies, but soon discovers that the challenges of a full-scale war are far greater than the entrepreneurial concerns of her small Galithan dress shop.
The fractured leadership of the Reformist army must coalesce, the people of Galitha unite against enormous odds, and Sophie create more than a little magical luck, in order to have a chance of victory.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Rule is a jaw dropping finale to the Unraveled Kingdom series. This series finale examines the politics of war and magic on the battlefield. When we have to make good on our ideas and promises, to fight for the future for which we have campaigned. Even if we’ve been trained for battle, for bloodshed, it’s an entirely different experience in person. And before we know it, one spark can start a wildfire which will consume our homes.
While Rule has this epic sense of battle and the fight for representation, for real change, there’s still space devoted to characters. What are the ethical conflicts that Sophie will undergo in war? It’s one thing to charm a dress with luck, or even a curse, and another thing to cast a charm and see the destruction it unleashes in person. To sew up the wounds of our friends. At the same time, Miller doesn’t give us a cookie cutter version of revolution – highlighting the ways in which this new picture of government still leaves our citizens: women.
In Rule we are ultimately asked how will war change us, the people we are, and the future we are ready to accept. War has high costs and what will it demand of all of them? It’s a perfect series finale with excellent character development, twists and turns, and compromises. Do we let our past twist us into someone we fail to recognize? Into someone who will end up costing us everything we love?