Never has there been three more random people better at taking down a kingdom through treason than these three sisters. Accidental treason to boot. Zofi, Akeyla and Ren have all lived their lives in unremarkable anonymity until one day when they get a summons from the King and are told that they are his daughters and from them he will choose his next heir.
What happened to the previous heir? Well Zofi killed him. Not because she knew he was the heir or had any motivations besides defending her friend, but she killed him and ran all the same. Akeyla tried to curse her abusive father to death, but since the man she has known as her father all her life wasn’t her father, she cursed the King to a slow death instead. And Ren, who trust a handsome Ambassador, shows him the kingdom’s military plans and ends with the death of 1000 people on her hands.
All three girls have been raised with different backgrounds, goals, and are very different people. But when someone starts threatening to expose their secrets, the three sisters are going to have to learn how to work together to ensure that they all have a chance to take the throne.
One of the strongest elements of Rule was the system of magic that Goodlet created. Blood magic. I love, love, love this system of magic because in so many other books and movies blood magic is something forbidden. Something you do that signals you’re slipping toward the dark-side. In Kolonya and the Reaches, blood magic was the thing that allowed the former colonies to declare independence from their country of origin. Blood magic is revered and studied and common. It’s fantastic system which has consequences and limits built into it. Blood magic physically drains you the more you use it, and the blood magic you do can only affect you, and occasionally someone in your bloodline. No floating candles or firing spells at each other here folks.
But their is one aspect of blood magic that Rule sets as being forbidden and that’s the Vulgar Arts (1000 points to Goodlet for not just calling them some version of the Forbidden Arts). Vulgar Arts works with blood magic, but it leaves a physical mark on you and allows your to manipulate members of your bloodline. Curse them to death, as Akeyla tried to do with her father, make them see illusions, or any number of unexplored things. And in a book that’s main focus is on families and bloodlines, Blood Magic is the perfect magic system.
Rule’s protagonists, Akeyla, Zofi, and Ren all have distinct personalities, goals and personal hang-ups. You are never going to get these three confused for one another. They are all strong in their own way and have different approaches to problems. You can easily see that the more the series progresses the more of a powerhouse team the sisters are going to be. While I didn’t like all the girls to begin with, as they begin to see each other’s perspective, they all eventually grew on me. I went from thinking only Zofi would be fit to rule to trying to come up with a way that all three of them could end up on the throne.
Rule, despite its fantasy setting, has a strong mystery element to it. The girls do a lot of research and talk to a lot of different people in order to get the information they need to find their blackmailer. It reminds me a of Of Fire and Stars, but with a more centered, fast-moving plot. The sisters are trying to solve the mystery, but things happen in between them finding their next clue. And of course there are many false leads, erroneous assumptions and twists to keep you on your toes.
I am so excited about the rest of this series. Rule was a simple, fairly lighthearted story that was a pleasure to go through, especially since it kept the plot moving, and didn’t demand a lot from you. Great characters, cool magic, good plot, and whole lot of sisters learning to support each other. When you get a chance to pick up Rule, don’t hesitate to go for it.