We Rule the Night is an emotional story about doing what’s right, even when we’re told it’s wrong. About asking questions, and making friends.
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
I can’t lie, I was first drawn to We Rule the Night because of the absolute stunning cover with this fiery bird – reminiscent of what some of the girls call their planes. But what ended up keeping my attention was the friendships between the girls and the characters themselves. Told from both Revna and Linné’s point of views, we are able to really dive into their thoughts – experience their nightmares, doubts, and fears.
(I can’t speak to the disabled rep, because I’m not an ownvoices reviewer for that aspect. Revna lost her foot and part of her leg in a car accident and throughout the book she has prosthetics and uses a wheelchair in certain situations).
Part of what kept me reading is the character growth within the book. Not only do the side characters grow from being newly trained, to hardened by sacrifice and risk. But also Linné and Revna develop as the book goes on. Linné begins the book haunted by war, kicked out of a regiment she deserved to be in, and surrounded by girls who are more concerned with their uniforms than the military lifestyle. That turning point for her, where she exists in a moment where nothing is as it was, is particularly emotional to read.
But as the book progresses, Linné has to realize that her brusque honesty and attitude about the rules is costing her friendship and putting her career at risk. Can Linné be both loyal to her friends and the rules and her country?
Revna’s whole life seems to be have been scarred by the Union and what it demands from her family. Whether it be her father who was unjustly imprisoned – branding her whole family as suspect – or the sacrifices her family has to make to survive. In many ways, Revna’s life operates on a whole different plane than Linné. Revna is used to either being invisible, or only seen for her disability. So We Rule the Night is about her own journey embracing her strength and the magic that is outlawed in her veins.
We Rule the Night shows how war doesn’t only happen in the air. It happens on the ground, in their dreams, and within their hearts. It asks us where our loyalty lies and what we will do when we are asked to betray what we know in our heart is right. We Rule the Night is also about how people are changed by the power we give them, the way we regard them, even inthe spark of an instant. War keeps taking from us, demanding sacrifices, and asking us to make hard decisions that inspire nightmares.
About the Author
Claire Bartlett lives in an enchanted forest apartment in Copenhagen with too many board games and too few cats.
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