We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett
Little, Brown and Company, 2019, 387 pages
Trigger Warnings: Minor character death, violence, war themes
About the Author: Claire Bartlett lives in an enchanted forest apartment in Copenhagen with too many board games and too few cats. Visit her website at www.authorclaire.com, or you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @bartlebett.
“’If anyone’s going to come to the army’s rescue, why not women? Why not the One Hundred Forty-Sixth Night Raiders Regiment?’”
Revna: daughter of a Union enemy, powerful in her ability to use forbidden Weave magic, and won’t let anything—including her dependency on her prosthetic legs—stand in her way. When Revna is caught using illegal magic to protect herself and a Skarov officer during an Elda attack, she’s offered the chance to evade punishment and join the forces of the Night Raiders, a new crew of young female fighter pilots given permission to use Weave magic to fly planes made of living metal. And then there’s Linné, the daughter of a well-known Union army general, courageous to a fault, and disguising herself as a man to be able to fight on the Union front. When Linné’s identity is discovered, accepts the same proposition as Revna to avoid punishment. Revna and Linné must figure out how to work together when they are assigned pilot and navigator respectively despite their contempt for one another.
Between the innovative magic system and its plot bursting with tension, We Rule the Night immediately draws the reader into its immersive fantasy world with its vivid descriptions. While the novel is full of fantastical elements, the realistic focus on the interpersonal relationships and struggles between the ragtag group of Night Raiders is particularly interesting. The tension between Revna and Linné is amplified by the narrative’s effective switch between points of view, offering the reader glimpses into each girl’s mind and their prejudices against one another. Bartlett is able to weave an imaginative story looking into the dynamics of friendship, fierce female characters, and disabled characters in her action-packed debut novel loosely based off a real group of women in World War II. We Rule the Night is sure to be a favorite among those who enjoy the intersection of wartime fantasies, feminism, and magic.
PRR Writer – Caroline Ross
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