Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
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.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
And I Darken follows Lada and her brother, Radu, from the moment they are born and as they grow into young adults. From a very young age, Lada Dragwlya, has been a force to reckon with. Where Lada is a raging sea, her younger brother, Radu, is a calm lake. When Lada and Radu are left behind in an enemy country, Lada is determined to find her back to her home land.
I absolutely loved Lada’s savageness. She was not afraid to hurt others in any way if they are a threat to her or the ones she cared about. While some might not enjoy the violence in this book, I loved it. It’s not very often that this level of violence is presented in a young adult novel and it was a breath of fresh air. Seriously, I aspire to be more like Lada. Although Radu may not possess Lada’s ferocious ways, he learns at a very young age that there are other ways to win than with fists and swords. Radu is smart and cunning. It is Radu’s intelligence that gets him and his sister out of multiple predicaments.
The historical setting is unlike any other book I have read before. This story begins in Wallachia and then takes place in the Ottoman Empire. The history is so fascinating throughout this entire book that I would find myself researching certain places and the cultures of that time. It is amazing to see how Kiersten incorporated factual history and created such a beautiful historical fiction. I definitely see myself heading to the library to learn more about this time and culture.
Although this book has minimal action packed moments, this is one of the most intense stories I have ever read. The story is slower paced, but kept my attention rapt. Instead of a dainty, beautiful female character, we have a strong, independent, and fearless character. There is just so many things I love about this book…I could go on and on. I cannot FREAKING WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL. There are three books in this series, but I think there should be three hundred. All historical fiction fans need to read this work of art.
4.5 out of 5 stars
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