I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.And I Darken by Kiersten White
Series: Conquerer's Saga #1
Published by Delacorte Press on June 28, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Science Fiction
Format: Kindle eBook
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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.
Two siblings are taken hostage by an empire in this young adult alternative historical novel. Let’s review!
Total honesty – this is nothing like Ms. White Paranormalcy series. Perhaps nothing like she has ever written before. Told between two points-of-view, Radu and Lada, it dealt with interesting issues such as faith, sex, politics, and homosexuality. Radu was well-written, and his character arch by far the best in the book. I always understood his motivations, and loved a certain “solution” he agrees to in the story to help a friend View Spoiler »marrying his friend’s sister so she could be protected to enjoy her life with her love, Fatima. « Hide Spoiler.
I had a hard time connecting to Lada. Lada is vicious in the beginning, rarely showing her affection to anyone. People are “things” to her, and she does not like sharing her things. She became more tolerable as the novel progressed, but my image of her had already tarnished. Considering half the story is written in her POV, I really needed to connect to her earlier in the story.
The love story was beyond frustrating. While I understood Radu’s love for Mehmed, I never quite understood Lada’s love. For both Lada and Radu to fall in love with him, I needed him to be irresistible.
tl;dr Interesting tale of politics, faith, and love set during the Ottoman empire.