And I Darken

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.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.

One of the thing that made me happy with Kiersten White’s story is her Author’s Note where she freely admits to taking massive liberties with historical accounts. It is a constant irritation for me when authors write historical fiction and try to pass of their work as real research and they’re allowed to do with it as they will without consequence. You lose credibility as a decent writer when you can’t admit you just made stuff up, at least be honest then I can enjoy your book more. I thought the idea of using the real person of Vlad the Impaler to inspire her to make a female version was unique. Vlad definitely had some psychopathic tendencies but there is always that nature versus nurture argument and by using a female as her heroine it really gave White some room to play upon that argument particularly since women were treated more like property than people which creates its own underlying cracks in the nurture department.

 I loved White’s character development and very much enjoyed watching her examine human psycho-social development through the context of such a brutal history. Admittedly at times I got a little bored with all the exposition and really had to push myself to keep reading but overall I found her handling of Lada’s character intriguing.

 I’m curious to see how the story will play out in the next book as Lada continues on her journey to become either hero or demon.

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