Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series Status: 1st novel in The Conquers Saga
Page Count: 475
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Synopsis: No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
Review: Oh my gosh. This thing was beautiful. No, it was ugly. It was ugly and violent, brutal and amazing all in one. This gritty, edgy, compelling novel will have you hooked from the very beginning. I would really like to give credit to the beginning of this story. The way the author started this story, it was amazing. It gripped me and sucked me in. That is an amazing way to start a story.
If you know me or have read some of my reviews before, you will know that I love historical fiction, and I love fantasy. This book combined both in such a brilliant way that I was left in awe. Making Vlad the Impaler into Lada the Impaler was genius, I would have to say. This devious, treacherous, violent personality put into a teenage girl made it all the more interesting.
This story follows Lada and Radu Dragwyla, siblings born of the vavoide of Walllachia, a part of the Ottoman Empire. Ladislav, or Lada, is brutal. She is born vicious and fierce, and maybe a bit psychotic. But, she is born a women, and women were no more than things to be married off and bear children. L ada struggles with her femininity and how to deal with it, to accept it, or defy it. Lada is an untameable force of nature. She is ugly, sky, and unbelievably conniving.
Her younger brother, however, was born innocent. Charming and attractive, and manipulative. He is precious and does not belong in such a cruel, and unforgiving world. Poor, confused Radu, lost in this world of religion and war and marriage.
Then, of course, there is Mehmed, the heir to the sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The boy whom many love, and many despise. I, for one, hated him. He bothered me throughout the entire book. I am not entirely sure what it was, but it bothered me.
This had so many political and historical terms for a YA novel, and I loved it. Luckily, there is a glossary and whatnot in the back of the book to explain confusing political positions to help you understand better, if you don’t know a lot about the Ottoman Empire.
The best part is the tangled web of relationships. There are so many different relationships (not love) to other people in this that it becomes so confusing. And of course there is the love relationship that is a tangled web of deceit and jealousy. However, it is not a love triangle.
Overall, this was an incredible book that I adored.
I give this novel 4.5/5 stars and would highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction and fantasy.
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