My friend Lily gifted this book to me 🙂
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Book One in The Conquerors Saga
Genre: YA, Alternate History
Edition: First Edition Hardcover
Release Date: 6.28.16
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.
“Let her be strong. Let her be sly… And let her be ugly.”
Boom. Lada Dragwlya is the daughter of a tyrant, who is disgusted that his wife had born him a girl. He’s last remark to the infant was that she better be beautiful, or else there was no use for her. The quote above is what Lada’s nurse maid hopes for her, and this is only page two.
If you’re looking for a book that challenge’s social norms, a book that is cynical and dark, then this one is for you.
This is the retelling of Vlad the Impaler, what if he had been born a girl? We get to explore Transylvania, and Turkey during the 15th century. Lada is a vicous warrior, but first she has to overcome many gender expectations. Plus, she is only fifteen, so on top of that she has to figure herself out. Which side should she fight for?
“What must be sacrificed for a future where no one can touch you?”
I would recommend And I Darken because it’s fast paced; it’s violent and beautifully written. Plus, the cover is to die for. I can’t wait to read the next book, when she will actually be impaling people. This is just the beginning of Lada’s journey, and book one was to die for.
“We are that tree … we defy death, to grow.” Lada about her family, pg 22
Overall rating: 5/5 hearts
Cover: 5 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Writing: 5 hearts
Pacing: 5 hearts
Creativity: 5 hearts
Discussion: SPOILERS AHEAD // CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK//
Sooooo, you may or may not know I’m obsessed with anything Dracula… And yes that includes Vlad the Impaler. So imagine my delight when I heard someone wrote a book about Vlad as a she. That made my year, and 2016 has been a shitty year.
While I don’t really think this takes away from the book; it kind of annoys me that everyone keeps saying she’s so fierce. Yes, she is. However, she’s more than that. She is conflicted with what she wants to believe, who she wants to be.
She’s only fifteen, but she still falls in love (well, arguably, she doesn’t know what the feeling is). She knows she wants to rule her country, ergo she can’t have love because that makes you weak. Then of course there is her conflicting feelings about her brother. She wants to coddle him, and other times she wants to feed him to the wolves. I relate to her in this way, because I’m the oldest in my family too. Albeit, I’m less violent than she is towards my sibling.
And poor Radu. So pretty, so emotional. So pretty. Ahhhhhhh, I should’ve known from the beginning that he was gay. It’s always the pretty ones. I feel bad for the guy, he loves someone out of his reach. I mean, I could ship it. Radu and Mehmed that is.
Speaking of Mehmed, that kid annoys me. I mean, fourteen, and he has a son– he has a harem. Sure, sure. I get it. It’s the 15th century. But, fourteen-almost-fifteen? I don’t know man, that threw me off a bit. I know I said I was okay with Radu and Mehmed, so maybe me not being okay with Mehmed and Lada makes me a hypocrite. That’s okay, I can live with that.
I can’t tell you how often I was like, “where is Bogdan? What happened to their promise of marriage. Ugh I can’t stand Mehmed panting after Lada, he has a harem! How can you ignore that Lada!!”
So imagine my satisfaction when Bogdan introduced himself as her husband. Yassssssss boi. I can’t wait to see their relationship develop in the next book!
Although, I wouldn’t be mad if Kierstan White rips my heart out, and Lada stays single. That would be interesting to read about too.
So, let me know your thoughts on the book! What did you like, and what bothered you? Are you hyped for the next one?