Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror’s Saga
Date Started: July 13
Date Finished: July 27
Format: ebook from the digital library
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 will be completely honest about And I Darken, I don’t remember reading the summary for it at all and I think the only reason that I added it was because it’s by Kiersten White who I adore to pieces. However, I vaguely remember reading something about it before I started it – something along the lines of A Game of Thrones for the YA set? I don’t know and the only reason I’m bringing that fact up is because this book took a while to get into. And I mean a while. Probably more than a good third of the way through and things got really interesting, but before that if it had been any other author, I would have given up on this book. That being said, I’m glad that I didn’t.
Lada is one of my favorite female characters in historical fiction; headstrong and trying to fight against the role life has dictated her to be in. I loved reading the chapters from her point of view. On the flip side there is her brother Radu, who I swear, I wanted him to be eaten by bugs or trampled in a stampede. He is way too sensitive and his complaining got on my nerves. I actually pulled a parent thing and said a few times, ‘why couldn’t you be more like your sister?’ If his chapters weren’t vital to the plot I probably would have skipped them all together. Then there is Mehmed, who I have to admit I’m not sure how I feel about. On one hand I like how he sticks up for the Wallachia Brats – as I endearingly called them throughout the book – and protects them when his father realizes that their father betrayed their alliance. But on the other hand…I don’t like how he toys with them later on. He knows how they both feel for him, and yet he keeps parading his harem in Lada’s face, and his love for Lada in Radu’s. And yes, I know, the argument can be made that Mehmed doesn’t know that Radu is in love with him, but man, I seriously doubt it. He is royalty after all.
Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. I’m deducting a few stars because of how slow the book started out and because I think this book was rather lengthy to begin with. Also there are a lot of relationships in this book that I just didn’t care for at all. However, I still think this is a good start to a new series and I can’t wait to read book 2 next year.
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