Friday, July 1, 2016

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
496 p.
Published: 6/28/16
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher and NetGalley for review
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.
My thoughts:

This was an interesting fantasy book. Not one with vampires (and suggested by having a female dracul) but one with political intrigue and war. I know that not everyone likes the more political kind of fantasies, but this one was different. It really was more of a character book. It was about a what if kind of question. What if the Vlad Dracul we know in history was really a woman?

The story is a bit slow and winding but we are captivated by it's characters. The most captivating is Lada who has to fight against everything around her just to find some modicum of freedom which is not afforded to females in either culture she encounters. She finds a way to carve out something for herself but she does not stop there and her continued growth throughout the book is what makes this interesting. She is not the only one to bloom slowly into adulthood. Radu, her brother, also goes through tremendous change. While Lada is the fist of the two, Radu is the diplomat. Each has their strengths and each try to find themselves through that strength. Mehmed is really what draws them continually together and apart at the same time. He is their glue and their hammer. It really does become a toxic triangle and it works.

While this is a story of personalities it is also about being seen. We all want to be seen in some capacity and while not everyone is aware of this fact, all major characters in the story are painfully aware. They also find that being seen is not always to their advantage, but it doesn't make them want it less. It seems it is at the heart of their growing pains.

I give this book 4 stars. I enjoyed how the characters grew and learned who they were and what they wanted. I really loved the ending which really pulled at the heartstrings and skillfully sets us up for the next book without a cliffie. It is satisfying and keeps us wanting more. I highly recommend this book not to just YA readers but to adults as well. It is dark, gripping, but filled with hope that some will get what they seek, but also promises of darkness to come.

24 comments:

  1. I really liked this as well, it was just so much fun and yet dark and emotional too. I can't wait for the next book, that ending was something else. ;) Have a great weekend and 4th!

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    1. I'm so curious as to where she would go next. :)

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  2. Hmmm...not so sure this would be for me...glad you enjoyed!

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    1. Yea, not everyone would like a historical fantasy.

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  3. Sounds like a nice twist to the story

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    1. There were some twists in the characters for sure. :)

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  4. Great review! I've just started reading it and I have some high expectations!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much or more than I did!

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  5. I had zero interest in this book until I started reading reviews. I'm not sure how the heck I'm going to fit it in but I want to.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Oh I hope you enjoy it! I'd be curious to know what you think about it.

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  6. I'm really curious on this one! I'm not big on fantasy, but it sounds intriguing. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. It isn't too high fantasy so it might be one to enjoy. :)

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  7. This is on my list for listening this week. I am really excited all of my favorite peeps, including you enjoyed it. Great review Melissa!

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    1. Oh curious about what you will think about this one!

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  8. I loved this book so much! I'm totally drawn to characters like Lada. And yeah, White did a great job. Btw, I saw your comment on another review for this book and wanted to give you a high-five. ;)

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  9. I'm curious about this one but I heard a lot of different things about this one. I have a book by this author. I need to try!

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  10. I just read this this weekend and I love what you say about the characters wanting to be seen--for who they really are, despite their flaws and insecurities. It's so true and that's such a beautiful way of summing up this book. Gorgeous review, Melissa--I'm so glad you enjoyed this!

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  11. Well you have me curious! I wouldn't have noticed it from the cover but yeah it sounds pretty interesting! Thanks for the tease, Melissa!

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  12. Hmmm. This is new to me, but I've heard of the author before. Thanks!

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    1. Oh yea, I have several of her other books on my wishlist. :)

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