And I Darken by Kiersten White
SPOILERS FOR DAYZZZZ
“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.”
Loved every moment–a truly enjoyable, intriguing read!
A story of finding oneself, home, love, war tatcis, and badassery! From Wallachia to the Ottoman Empire, we follow the story through the eyes of Lada and Radu, siblings who are extremely different in attitude yet share a yearning for acceptance as they find a salve for their loneliness.
WHERE IS VLAD THE IMPALER?
It came to a suprsie but I was pretty upset that Vlad was such a weakling. Maybe it is because I have read Jeanine Frost’s novels, but I expected Vlad to be this powerful tyrant and unfortunately, he was an embarrassment. I kept expecting Vlad to show up and start impaling people but he is just mortal man in this book–completely useless against the unshakable Ottoman Empire.
BOW DOWN TO LADA
Truly hats off to Kierstien White for making such a badass female heroine. There are just so many facets to Lada that make her truly remarkable. We are introduced to this fiery, half-wild girl who yearns to appease her father and protect her more sensitive brother. She is charming in her severity, magnificent in her cutthroat mentally and relatable as she finds herself hopeless because of her gender. Learning to fight and disregarding female protocol, Lada tries to catch Vlad’s favor, yearning for the love and acceptance she never received from anyone. Lada is strong, formidable, tough, and loyal to her home and the people she loves, yet she is not completely cold. She does feel and she feels a lot. Her jealousy of her Radu’s ability to charm, Mehmed’s concubines, and her moments of hopelessness of being a woman. Lada is comfortable in her own skin despite moments of uncertainity, taking charge of her destiny and fighting skills, I was happy that she found a niche in the Empre and she was not truly alone.
The friendship-love triangle
Lada, Radu, and Mehmed–what binds these three kids is loneliness– a truly powerful feelings that holds their friendship like glue throughout the years. Radu, who never adapted to Wallachia or fit-in, clings to the academic and religious Mehmed and Lada beams under the love and concern found in Mehmed’s eyes. Radu blossoms under the teachings of Islam and the mentors and friends who build him along the way. Radu was constantly beaten down(literally) for not adhering to his father’s approval but in the Ottoman Empire, he has finally found a home .They all need each other in a twisted way; each needs support, someone to trust, and someone to make them believe they are special. When Lada meets Mehmed, she is this whirlwind of fury and skepticism but as the romance grows, she hones her power as she becomes the perfect ally for Mehmed.It was heartwarming watching their interactions yet became sad in Radu’s part with the unrequited love and the lies that tore them apart. I loved the romance–it threaded nicely into the story and was not overwhelmingI felt the confusion and awkwardness of their first kiss and I burned with envy when Lada discovers Mehmed sires sons with other women.
Radu finds his legs in the Empire, converting to Islam and utilizing his charm and silver-tongue. I did not love Radu but I did pity him (He cries 80% of the novel). Radu is too pure and sensitive for the severity of this world yet he does adjust in his own way, using his skills to protect Mehmed. As Radu grows into his own person, his love for his sisters wilts. He resents Lada’s strength, Mehmed’s love for her, and how she continues to resent their new home. On the other hand, Lada cannot forget Wallachia, the home that accepted her and made her the badass female she is and Radu cannot leave the man he loves even if he knows it will never be requited.
Loved this book–cannot wait for the next two! 5 Stars! ❤