Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for Rule
First edition.
New York ; Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.
Physical Description:
376 pages ; 22 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
"The three secret daughters of the king of Kolonya must compete for their father's throne, all while evading a blackmailer who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
TEEN Goodlett, E.
TEEN Goodlett, E.
TEEN Goodlett, E.

On Order



Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars in this sensational and striking new fantasy from debut author Ellen Goodlett, for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Kristin Cashore.

Three girls. Three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she's already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady's maid and scheming her way out of the servants' chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she's done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny... to rule.

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in the first book of this sensational and striking fantasy duology.

Author Notes

Ellen Goodlett is the author of several science fiction short stories, a comic book collaborator, and young adult novelist. A former New Yorker, she is currently traveling the world with 79 other digital nomads, living in a different country every month. Traveling provides a lot of inspiration for her fantasy worlds.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-An epic fantasy adventure told from the alternating perspectives of three young women of very different backgrounds. Zofi, Akeylah, and Ren are summoned by the king to the central city of Kolonya and told that they are actually his "bastard" daughters. After the murder of the king's only heir, they are now suddenly legitimized. With his health failing, he wants to evaluate their worthiness for the throne before choosing a successor, but all three have deadly secrets being leveraged by a shadowy blackmailer. They must decide if they can trust one another enough to pool their unique strengths, uncover their blackmailer, and ensure the safety of their kingdom. The book ends with a devastating cliff-hanger, leaving readers with more questions than answers. In many ways the Reaches, of which Kolonya is the capital, represent a progressive society with male and female warriors and an LGBTQ-affirming society. However, the kingdom suffers from the same racial tensions, class wars, and poverty issues of our own world. These problems are presented in an empathetic way that bring clarity. Characters utilize "blood tithes" to heighten their abilities in a way that adds a fun superherolike quality to an already rich world. Likable main and secondary characters will draw teens. However, the dense world-building and backstories make the pages turn a bit more slowly, despite death threats, political intrigue, and just the right amount of romance. VERDICT A great purchase for libraries with strong readers and fantasy lovers.-Sunnie Scarpa, Wallingford Public Library, CT © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this debut YA fantasy, Goodlett treats readers to juicy gossip, court intrigue, and danger. Told in alternating, third-person chapters, with the threat of betrayal on all sides, the novel centers on a friendship forged among half-sisters. Three girls-Zofi, Ren, and Akeylah-are plucked from obscurity and far-flung locales, and then thrown into the spotlight at court after it is revealed that they are daughters of the king. Each is plagued by an enormous secret, a crime against the crown: Akeylah cursed the king with lethal intent, Zofi murdered the crown prince, and Ren gave information that resulted in the death of thousands. Soon, the young women discover that someone at the palace knows of their betrayals and is threatening to expose them unless they forsake their birthright. Goodlett's worldbuilding is detailed and politically astute; she hands each of the girls their own agendas and dilemmas, creating real players rather than mere pawns. She also skillfully pits the three against one another initially, then gradually draws them together to route out their tormentor, providing a satisfying build toward a cliffhanger ending. Ages 14-up. Agents: Joelle Hobeika and Hayley Wagreich, Alloy Entertainment. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Three illegitimate daughters are summoned to the capital to compete to be dying King Andros's heir. Each girl hides a secret and soon finds herself being blackmailed. The three join forces to try to unravel the political and magical conspiracies at court. A fantastic premise leads to a somewhat predictable narrative. The cliffhanger ending hints at another installment. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

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) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Three girls from humble origins are elevated to royalty when their king, ailing and newly without an heir, names them his daughters and potential successors. Little does the king know that Zofi is behind the death of his son, Akeylah is behind the curse draining his life, and Ren is behind the rebel massacre of royal soldiers. But someone at court knows the truth, threatening to reveal the trio as traitors unless they renounce their claims to the throne. Each girl has her own designs and little loyalty toward the strangers named her half sisters. The unique blood magic that binds them together could forge a close kinship or make for a deadly weapon. This polished debut is distinguished by rich characterization, compelling stakes, and a satisfying balance of politics, romance, and dark magic. Zofi, Akeylah, and Ren each have distinct personalities, problems, and passions that make for a complex and captivating narrative, and their slowly growing alliance is rewarding. Fans of Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns series, line up.--Carolyn Kelly Copyright 2018 Booklist