And I Darken by Kiersten White
Review, September 2017
And I Darken, Book 1 in the Conquerors’s Saga, Published June 28th, 2016
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.
Ladislav Dragwlya (Lada)
Radu — Lada’s younger brother
Mehmed — Heir to the Ottoman Empire
Thoughts I had while reading in no specific order:
- Lada is a Badass who will take anyone on with a 99.9% chance she’ll kill them
- LGBTQ characters–Happy they’re here, but could we have real interactions with more than one?
- Historical fiction with actual historical details (There’s even a glossary! And you can test your knowledge of the Ottoman court!)
- Radu must be protected at all costs. ALL. COSTS.
- How many people can we kill in 473 pages?!?
- Political intrigue? Yes!
- Did we really need a love triangle? Why are there so many love triangles in fiction? Do these actually happen in real life?
- Mehmed needs to get his Sh*t together.
- There’s a Map! YAY!
- The questioning of gender roles!
- Lada would definitely listen to Halsey.
Thoughts after reading:
Honestly? I bought this book for the cover. But it’s actually a really great book. One of the best I’ve read this year actually. It has its problems, but what book doesn’t? The problem I noticed the most was the pacing. At times the story is slow, other times its fast. But it’s never rushed either.
Also time jumps maybe needed, but I’m always interested in what happen in the years we skip. Can I get a Novella? Please?
Also, YAY for LGBTQ characters? But…was a unrequited love triangle really needed? At least one of them is well-rounded but the others didn’t really have their own story. They’re just, kinda, there.
There are some great characters that don’t get a lot of page time. I’m hopeful they’ll get more in the next book.
Kiersten White combines history with fiction to create a captivating world of fierce women, foolish rulers of empires and spy’s created by circumstance.
This is not going to be a book for everyone. And that’s fine. But if you like Historical fiction, non-graphic romance, and Bad Ass female characters I’d give this book a shot. I liked it much more than I had expected and I can’t wait to read the next book*
*tbh it’ll probably sit on my tbr pile for a year before I actually read it.