Title: We Rule the Night
Author: Claire Eliza Bartlett
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Steampunk
Subjects and Themes: Female Friendships, Feminism, History-Inspired
Page Count: 400 (hardback)
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.
A fantasy military story with an all-female regiment and a “soft-spoken girl with a blunt, tight-laced girl” dynamic? Gosh, Claire, it’s like you know me.
I’ll be starting off with short bullet points for this beauty because this is so, so very last minute:
♥ This is a fantasy telling/dressup of the WW2 Night Witches, Soviet Union’s all-female bomber regiment (which seems to be a popular topic in fiction lately). I love the way the author constructed the world–the way it feels like a WW2 setting but with a steampunk flair. The girls pilot planes that are made of living metal, which means they can use magic (Weavecraft) to control it. Really cool stuff.
♥ The two main characters, Revna and Linné, are as different as they come. Revna has lost her legs in a factory accident and her use of prostheses makes Linné question whether she’s fit to be a pilot. Linné, on the other hand, is the daughter of a celebrated general and carries a “I’m better than this, why am I here” attitude. Their dynamic is a fascinating one, moving from hostility to respect and friendship.
♥ Girls risking lives for each other. Girls fighting alongside each other. Girls learning to trust each other. And girls supporting each other in an environment that believes women shouldn’t get involved in wars. (I hope you’ve been nodding furiously with each sentence.) It has it all and it does it well.
♥ My only real main problem was with the ending which I thought was rather shockingly abrupt.
Okay, well, awesome! That sounds pretty great, right? So why am I not giving it a rating?
Right. This is 100% on my end. We Rule the Night had the unfortunate timing of coming immediately after the most personal and emotionally draining book I’ve read in the past two years. My brain was (and still is) utterly scrambled and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else, especially other books. I mean, I would read a paragraph and ask myself, “Wait, what did I just read?” It’s ridiculous. It’s like trying to date just days after the (second) worst breakup of my life.
So I couldn’t give this book the full attention that it absolutely deserved, and any rating I give right now wouldn’t feel…fair. But make no mistake, this is a strong debut and I’m definitely going to be doing a re-read once I get my brain pieces back in order. And you should also pick it up because we need more stories about female empowerment floating around in our collective memories.
“That was the secret they shared as they held out their cups and got another splash of strong tea and tangy liquor. That was the secret they smiled over when they went to dinner. Not that they could fly, not that they could use the Weave. We can do anything.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Get more detailed information, like how many board games is too many, how many cats is too few, and what book-related beauties I’m working on by signing up for my newsletter.
Check out the rest of the tour stops HERE!