And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1)
by Kiersten White
What is it about:
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.
What did I think of it:
Ever wondered what would have happened if Vlad the Impaler (who was the inspiration for Dracula) was a woman?
Wonder no more and go read this book!
Seriously: this story is based on/inspired by the life of Vlad the Impaler, but the author decided to write Vlad as a girl to be able to explore some story ideas she found intriguing. and so Lada was born!
I will confess I loved this book. I loved both Lada and her brother Radu. They are displaced from their homeland and have to survive in a foreign country and a hostile court. Both find their own way to cope.
If I'm honest, I think I liked Radu just a little bit more than Lada. Radu is a sensitive young man, overlooked or bullied for most of his young life, and his longing for a friend, for love, is heartbreaking at times. I liked Lada as well, she's fierce, loyal, and doesn't let herself be caged, but at times she's a bit of a bully.
Lada's and Radu's relationship with each other and with Mehmed is a complex and interesting one. Together with their efforts to find a place to belong, and the intrigues at the court this made for a gripping read that I found hard to put down.
You can bet I'll be getting my trotters on the other books in this trilogy once they release. And I'll have to investigate the other books White has written.
Why should you read it:
It's a really beautiful Historical YA read.