*Thank you to The Novl for providing me with an ARC of this book. Some parts may have been changed as I did not read the final book. Please know that all of the expressed thoughts are my honest opinions.
Two girls from different backgrounds with polar-opposite personalities flying planes together to save their homeland? Sign me up! This book promised action, adventure, and drama and that was all present, but it wasn't to a satisfactory level.
Let's start with some of my favorite parts of the book. I thought that the worldbuilding was pretty seamless. I feel as if a lot of authors throw all of the information at the reader at the beginning, with minimal context. In We Rule The Night , the spark and the Weave were all more gradually introduced. While it made for a more seamless read, it brought up some problems that I will touch on later. I also really enjoyed the voices of the two MCs. I felt as if they were distinct enough for me to tell them apart, but not too much that I felt as if I was reading two different stories.
My favorite part was hands down, the ending. Throughout the book, I felt as if the story was a bit slow, but the pacing picked up flawlessly as the book neared its end. That's when the story pulled me in; I needed to know what happened next. The two protagonists jumped from one dangerous situation to the next, and I was holding my breath the entire time! I speed through those chapters as I was utterly wrapped up in the world.
I was also a big fan of the story! This book draws inspiration from the Night Witches, a group of female Soviet pilots that assisted in the second world war. Bartlett was able to capture the struggles that the female troop must have faced when dealing with their male counterparts. However, she was also able to give this story her own twist, with the spark magic which brought on a series of new technologies and with it, dangers.
I had a couple of problems with the book that significantly impacted my rating of it. The first problem would have to be the characters. While I liked the voices of the MCs, the dialogue between the two girls and the other girls on the team was just bratty and berating. Throughout the story, everyone seemed to despise their teammates, regularly insulting those around them left and right. This may have been to show how much pressure the girls were under, but they just came off as super immature as they refused to unite over a common enemy. I was also perplexed frequently in the middle of the story. As I mentioned before, Bartlett wrote We Rule The Night in a way that didn't throw all of the information out first, but this also meant that the book was very confusing. I was most confused about the Weave and how the planes worked. Some parts were described, but I wanted to know more about how all of that works. I wasn't able to fully envision what was happening when I didn't understand what made the plane fly.
I also had trouble with the pacing of the book. It is about 400 pages, but at times it felt like 800. The beginning had a good pace to it, but as the girls got to the camp, the story began to lull. I was never fully engaged in the story, and I felt as if each day was the same. It was like a time loop where the girls get up, bicker, eat some food, bicker, try to fly their planes, and bicker again. Then, all of a sudden, the end picked up quickly. The pacing was appropriate for what was happening, but the change from 1 to 100 mph completely threw me off. The ending also seemed unfinished to me. In retrospect, I think Bartlett was trying to focus more on the devolvement of the characters and their relationships with each other. If the ending chapters were not as dramatic and intense as they were, I wouldn't have been as bothered as I currently am. There is a lot of action and suspense, and then, the book ends. While it may have felt finished to some readers, I felt as if the story cut off all of a sudden. I feel as if another chapter was in order or maybe an epilogue, to wrap everything up.
In short, I think that We Rule the Night is full of potential. The inspiration behind the story is compelling; however, it wasn't executed well. The pacing was bizarre at times; it would go from super slow to crazy intense at points, especially near the end. As for the world building, I think that it was done pretty seamlessly. I was able to immerse myself in the world quickly; no new words or terms were thrown at me in the beginning. Instead, it was more gradually done. On the other hand, this made some of the terms and logistics of the world more challenging to completely grasp. Character-wise, I liked that the characters were from different backgrounds, but they constantly quarreled with each other, which soon became bothersome. Finally, the ending seemed unfinished. I felt as if I was missing a chapter or two. In conclusion, I don't think I would recommend this book. Going into it, I was so excited about it, but it ultimately fell short.