Title: And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Published: June 28, 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: E-Book from Netgalley
Rating: 4 stars
Purchased: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo |
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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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 an advanced review copy from netgalley for an exchange for an honest review.
This book is totally fucked up in so many ways. Good and bad. Though I will not be able to say much because I do not want to spoil anything. It’s dark, violent, and based on some history though not historically accurate. Also can we talk about how gorgeous the cover is? It was what captured my attention, the the description did. So thankful that I had the opportunity to read and review this amazingly, well-written book!
And I Darken takes place during violent times. However, it is not the focal point, which could be a missed opportunity. Instead we follow Lada and Radu, Vlad The Impaler children, through their journey of tough times. From being pulled out of their home by their father and being abandoned in Ottoman’s courts. Just to keep a peace treaty between the two places. We see both characters deal with the battle of love, loyalty, and betrayal.
“So the question becomes, Daughter of the Dragon, what will you sacrifice? What will you let be taken away so that you, too, can have power?”
Ladislav, who prefers to be called Lada, is such an interesting character. She isn’t your typical heroine. Lada is what you call a anti-hero. Also, she isn’t the prettiest girl. Everyone who meets her call her ugly. From the very moment she is born, she’s fierce, resilient, and a little bit psychotic. As she grows older she just becomes even more cruel and calculating. For so long Lada was trying to impress her father, by proving to him that even though she is a female that she can be as brutal as him. Though once she is abandoned, she no longer sees him as the man she once thought he was. Also while living in Ottoman, she discovers what it is like to be living as a woman. And for Lada that displeases her so much. To the point that she will prove to everyone that she can do whatever a man can do. Now speaking of Lada being brutal. In my honest opinion, I felt like there was not enough evidence of that being true. Yes, there was some scences where she had to harm someone but I expected a lot more. Also she was never taken to the battlefields to show how viciously brutal she really can be. Which I am hoping to see in book two.
“If anyone is going to kill you, it will be me. Understand?’
Her brother nodded, snuggling into her shoulder. ‘Will you protect me?’
‘Until the day I kill you.”
Radu, is Vlad’s youngest son, who is appalled by. From the moment Radu is born, he was weak. Always crying and hiding. Which aggravated Lada throughout the years. Since she had to protect him from those who would cause harm to him, even from their older brother. Radu is described to be beautiful, graceful, kind, compassionate and to a warlord- completely worthless. As he is on the journey from his home to Ottoman, he opens up and is friendly to everyone he meets. Which gives him so much strength towards the end of the book. Since he can use those features about him to pursue people to like him. Though there was moments when I wanted to hug and protect him, there was also times I wanted to throw something at him. Radu was so whiny throughout the book. Which annoyed me. However, I know that all he wanted was to be loved by someone. And in Ottoman he finds a new home that he never wants to leave. Where as Lada wants to return to her home, Wallachia.
Mehmed is someone the siblings meet in Ottoman. Immediately, Radu took a liking to him, whereas Lada took awhile to warm up to him. Then the three of them became best friends. Both siblings even helped improved Mehmed into a stronger person. However, one of the things I disliked about Mehmed was how much both Lada and Radu talked about him. I ended up not liking his character so much.
One character I did love was Nicolae. As soon as he was introduced I immediately needed more of him. I even want something to happen between him and Lada at some point.
Now for the romance, there is not truly a love triangle. Yes two characters fall for one person, though that person has only fallen for one of the two. Unless you want to consider the friendship between Lada, Radu, and Mehmed is a love triangle then okay.
The world building was written extremely well. It takes place over more than a decade and there are a lot of historical events during Lada and Radu’s life. I was thoroughly impressed with White’s dedication to the world and how she included the spread of Islam. The whole building and historic setting was perfect for this story. A girl fighting against the customs of her gender. A boy completely overshadowed by his sister and fighting to get out of that shadow. The sibling relationship has frustration, jealousy, and misunderstanding. Both Lada and Radu are complicated characters—each have strengths and weaknesses that I thought complimented each other very well.
Now, with some scenes in this book i wouldn’t recommend this book to someone who is 12 or 13. Which is And I Darken’s age range. Now that is just my opinion. If you disagree, I am totally fine with that.
“I am no longer the daughter of the dragon.” She lifted her chin, sights set on the horizon. “I am the dragon.”
With that being said, I want to say is that I was indecisive as to what to rate this book. At this very moment I am still torn. Though I sill stick with my decision of giving a 4 star rating on goodreads. And I Darken kept me interested from the very first page. Once this book is released I plan on buying a physical copy of it and I highly recommend you to do the same!