Set in a fantastical world in which almost all humans have the power to harness extraordinary physical prowess by tithing their blood (referred to as the Blood Arts), Rule traces the adventures of three sisters in their quest for the crown.
The three young women could not be more different: Zofi is a Traveler; not only is her tribe of wandering nomads shunned by mainstream society, but Zofi is on the run from the King’s guards. Florencia, or Ren, is a lady’s maid at the Keep, catering to the whims and fancies of noblewomen. Akeylah, from the Eastern Reach, suffers under the tyranny of her abusive adoptive father and is unsure whether she will survive from one day to the next. United by their paternity, the girls are invited by their father, King Andros, to compete for the crown. Yet each girl’s claim to the throne is complicated by a secret she harbors: Each has committed an act of treason against the royal family. The fast-paced plot makes for an engaging read; however, the underdeveloped side characters weaken the story. Readers may be troubled by the equation of cutting and/or pain with a marked increase in power. Limited physical descriptions other than hair color make ethnicity difficult to determine.
Goodlett's debut is a refreshing break from fantasy novels in which the plot hinges on a seemingly inevitable heterosexual romance. (Fantasy. 14-18)