Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror’s Saga #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publication date: June 28th, 2016
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.
“On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will wed only to myself. You ill most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”
WOW, guys. Just wow. This was a rollercoaster of a read! It is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and sometimes that doesn’t work on me, but this in particular was incredible and I really enjoyed it.
I hardly knew anything about this book but I decided to get it because the cover is simply gorgeous, and me being me, picked it up just because of that. I knew that this was supossed to be a Vlad the Empalor retelling but Vlad being a woman, aaand… I though it was going to be a fantasy. But honestly, it felt more like an historical fiction novel because it didn’t have magical elements. However, I still clasified it as fantasy (good job, Nia).
It is very political driven, and even though it’s not based on a true story, you can really tell the author did her research, because it felt soo crudely true. It was really focused on politics as I said before and the wars that the Ottoman empire had with Constantinople. And I have to thank that book because despite liking history I didn’t know much about these, and reading this book made me learn a bit more about it.
“A dragon did not bow to rid the world of infidels, and then invite them into its home. A dragon did not flee its land in the middle of the night like a criminal.
A dragon burned everything about herself until it was purified in ash.”
Now I have to say I almost DNFed it. I know, I know… but yeah. I almost did. I was in the middle of a reading slump and this book was super slow and took me a lot to get through it and know the world. And to be honest there wasn’t really much action. But the thing that made me continue reading it was the characters. I freaking adored them.
Lada was a very unique protagonist and it was incredible to read from her point of view. She’s ruthless, mean and doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do. She was the perfect antihero, in my opinion. And on the other hand there is her brother Radu, who is a cinnamon roll too pure for this world. I couldn’t stop thinking about them.
One of my favourite parts of the book was the interactions between both main characters, and how they developed as the story progressed. Despite Lada being the way she was and treating Radu not the best of the ways, you could really she how she cared for him and how important he became later on.
Also the friendships on the book were a joy, honestly. I really cared for the side characters, like Nazira, Kumal and Nikolai. There was such a great interaction and how everything developes was not rushed at all, which particulary with romances and frienships I’ve found I preffer.
“One day she would build her own church, and God would see her, too.”
The only thing I didn’t like much was the romance, but mainly because I didn’t like Mehmed. He’s a great character but he was not my cup of tea, because he was hurting so much my beloved characters and I wanted to punch him right in the face.
AND THE ENDING WAS SO FRIGGING COOL! I could not believe anything that was hapening, and I was cheering Lada all along for not letting anyone tell her what to do.
So I would say if you aren’t into political books or just want a quick read, don’t pick this up because you’ll probably won’t enjoy it. And if you pick it up and don’t really like it at first, I’d say give it a little time, because as you get to know the characters and their relationships and interactions and how intrincate everything becomes, you’re going to get hooked!
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