Rule (Rule #1) by Ellen Goodlett

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ARC provided by Little, Brown in exchange for an honest review.

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

Whoever said this was Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars was 100% correct. Except, I quickly learned and remembered that Three Dark Crowns is done much better, and Pretty Little Liars is one of the most annoying shows to have ever aired on this planet we call Earth.

Rule is a story about three girls, who have all been raised in different parts of this world. Yet, their stories and locations are coming together when they all realize they are half-sisters, who were fathered by the King himself. And all these girls are harboring a very dark secret, but someone else secretly knows what each of these girls have done and is slowly letting them know. Oh, and all these girls must compete to win the crown, because the king’s health is quickly deteriorating.

Zofi – Has lived her life with a band of Travelers, who never stay in one place for long. She also is in touch with her magical abilities and is not afraid to tap into them.

Akeylah – Grew up East of the kingdom, believing she killed her mother during childbirth, and her “father” never let her forget it by constantly abusing her. Also, she is lesbian, pan or bi, but for sure likes girls.

Ren – Lived under the king in Kolonya, being a maid to other royal women. She for sure knows the innerworkings for the palace and has some pretty powerful friends in the right places. Ren was easily my favorite sister.

“Family either strengthens or kills you, nothing in-between.”

I won’t lie, I was so intrigued by this at first, especially because the secrets are pretty damn good and extremely big. But after reading 300+ pages of annoying cat and mouse, I just didn’t care anymore. I truly believe this book had a lot of potential for me to enjoy, but the irritation outweighed the interest in the end.

I will say that the story does move quickly, and I easily and effortlessly read this book. And these three storylines are told in alternating order, where the themes are pretty parallel; how they all get to the palace, their secrets, their romances (because you knew they were all going to have a romance), etc.

Also, I knew there was a f/f relationship going into this, and you all know I’m forever and always here for all things f/f in fantasy, but this romance felt skeezy from the start. I’m just going to say it: the romance is between Akeylah and her father’s current wife, AKA: her stepmom. And they are close to the same age, and marriages are totally tools in this world to secure power instead of love matches, but you know what? It still felt really bad to read. I never thought that I wouldn’t enjoy a f/f, consensual, romance, but here we are. And that magic in this book is really not great, in my opinion. Like, not only is it really triggering for some, because you have to cut yourself open to harness the power, but it’s never fully explained and leaves too much to the imagination. Also, content and trigger warnings for self-harm, abduction, parental abuse (physical, verbal, mental), loss of a parent, death, murder, and war themes.

Overall, this just wasn’t for me. And I truly hope with everything that it will be for you. I’ve seen some really glowing reviews for this one, so take my review with a grain of salt. But for me, personally, this was easily one of the most disappointing reads of 2018.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with JuliePages and Pens, LillyLair of Books, & EliseThe Bookish Actress! ❤

40 thoughts on “Rule (Rule #1) by Ellen Goodlett

  1. Great review, Melanie! It’s a bummer you didn’t like it. I gave it 4 stars but the more I’ve thought about it it’s probably more of a 3 lmao. The magical system was not very well explained even though I really liked the world and the secrets each of the sisters kept. But the cat and mouse was really annoying and the cliffhanger suckeddddd. I feel like I read it forever ago and don’t even care about the sequel anymore lmao 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think this is going to be hella polarizing upon release. I think me being let down by the f/f romance really… seal this book’s coffin, too? Hahaha! Which is a little petty, but completely my brand. You always valid, bb! I hope you’re currently reading something five star worthy! 💕xx


    1. Awh, thank you, love! I feel like this is just gonna be a mixed one upon release to, so take my review with a little grain of salt! But thank you for your kind words, always! I hope you’re having happy reading, love! 💕xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Sofia, this it the first book that I actually didn’t like the f/f romance. I’m like…. that speaks volumes on its own! Haha! But if you do end up picking this one up, I hope you enjoy it more, love! And I hope you’re currently reading a five star book! Happy reading, sweetheart! 💕xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, love! Honestly? Muse of Nightmares, What if it’s Us, Sawkill Girls, and Shadow of the Fox are all amazing October releases that I completely recommend! 💕xx


    1. Thank you so much, love. I always feel bad with two and one star ratings, but I’m sure many people will also love this book, too! So, take my review with a grain of salt! 💕xx


  2. Great review! I’m so torn on if I’ll read this book or not. I actually like Pretty Little Liars (and how silly it was), so maybe I’ll enjoy this? But I just don’t know. I have so many other books I need to get to, so I have a feeling it will get pushed back further after seeing a few negative reviews lately. I’m sure I’ll eventually give it a try if I end up with a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was trash for Pretty Little Liars too, honestly. But… this book is the *negative* cat and mouse nonstop aspects! Not the… good angst, you know? But honestly… I think this is going to be a polarizing one, babe! So, take my review with a grain of salt! ❤xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally get it. Maybe I’ll get to it eventually. I really don’t let negative reviews sway me, but I will move a book back quite a bit if I start seeing a lot of the same types of reviews. Fingers crossed that I like it a little at least.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? Like… worst case of cat and mouse ever! It didn’t make me more invested, it just made me not care at all! Hahaha! Thank you for these kind words, love! Running to read your review… now! 💕xx


  3. I’ve actually only seen negative reviews of this so I’m sorry you and others didn’t enjoy this. But also it’s really strange that these books marketed massively with great premises turn out to be lowkey rubbish and then there are those amazing books that get no promotion?? I hope that makes sense haha. Like Three Dark Crowns got so much booktube promotion and yet?? Not even that many people like it and there are books that hardly get any publisher promotion. JASGFD. Anyways, this was a great review mel!! x (I’m starting to love your blog more and more every time you post and I’m so glad I discovered you!!) Also you are one of the kindest people alive like HOW

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe, ILSA! More smiles, while reading your comment! You are too kind! And yeah… this is honestly one of the biggest let downs of the year for me. And… it didn’t even start out that bad, but the cat and mouse was… the worst cat and mouse game in literature, I swear! It didn’t make me invested, it just made me not care AT ALL! Haha! But we will see how the rest of the world reacts to this one soon!

      I hope you’re having happy reading, love! 💕xx


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