Hello, everyone! Today, I’m going to review And I Darken, by Kierstan White, the first book in her The Conqueror’s Trilogy.
Rating- 3/5 stars
Summary: No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.
The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.
Woah, Woah, WOAH. That was my reaction when I first heard the premise of the novel. Vlad the freaking Impaler, but as a girl???!! Hasn’t history HATED Vlad the Impaler? And Kiersten White took the leap and made him- her– the protagonist? Daaamn.
The book was excruciatingly slow. It took me a whole WEEK to complete the book. It only pumps up at the near end, about a hundred or hundred fifty pages to go, and I was well set upon adding the book to my did-not-finish pile, but then thought otherwise.
The near end of the novel was my absolute favourite. Speaking of favourites- can we please talk about Radu? He was my favourite character throughout the novel! I didn’t like Lada, don’t even get me started on Mehmed, but Radu was such a precious angel to me. And that character development he went through the book! Oh my dear god. I am Radu. I’m so similar to his character. I don’t like to fight, or do anything that might cause me harm, I’m a total wuss and I suck at being a leader. And seeing him transform into such an important and amazing character made my little heart glow with happiness! I was all up in the back cheering for him like, Yeah boy, use that beautiful face and court charms! Show ’em that you’re better than Lada! God, I’m so proud! I think I got a little teary-eyed when he chose Lada over Mehmed at the end-fight. Like damn right boy! Sibling love! But then he proceeded to leave her for Mehmed, and I crumpled to the ground because-
MEHMED. I despise him! I kind of wish he’d die, but then I know for a fact he doesn’t since Mehmed II (I think??) lives up to be forty something (If Kiersten is being faithful to the original history. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if Lada the Impaler impaled his sorry ass.) I hate the whole harem idea, and I hate the fact that he told neither Radu nor Lada about his TWO CHILDREN. TWO. Are you kidding me? Plus, I think he isn’t trustworthy AT ALL. That lying bitch didn’t even tell Lada about her dead father?! And yet again I loop back to TWO FUCKING CHILDREN. Are you serious Mehmed? Are you really, truly not shitting me right now? Fuck you, Mehmed. Fuck you.
I don’t think Mehmed deserves Radu OR Lada (as much as I don’t like her character, Mehmed deserves NO ONE. Go have sex with the women of your harem, Mehmed and leave these two alone. Honestly, you don’t deserve those women either. Yeesh.)
I didn’t like Lada because she was everything I hate in female characters. Too reckless, too dignified to a point where she don’t give no shit if she gets someone else in danger, too outspoken, too EVERYTHING. Why? Why do you need to be so reckless that you get yourself and everyone you know in a treasonous danger? I know she was only protecting Mehmed all that time, and I totally agree that it was noble and shit, but I don’t like her. She annoys me for a reason I cannot explain, but she JUST DOES. HELLO? IF YOU’RE GOOD AT FIGHTING, HOW ARE YOU NOT CALCULATING? God damn it.
Plus, her weird obsession with possession? Yeah, I know it was supposed to show her ‘love’ for Radu or Bogdan and everyone else, but seriously? Can you not? I hate when men are possessive, I hate when women are possessive. I just hate it. Yes, I get that you love them. Maybe you have a right to be teensy bit protective, but POSSESSIVENESS just flips me off so much.
At the end, when Lada suggested making the law wherein the sultan could kill his brothers for peace? Damn, I was all caught up and horrified. Like that was awful! I don’t know, does the sultan actually make a law like that? Is that thing? Does Mehmed agree to that? Wouldn’t that mean killing one of his own children? Does he?
Like I said before, the part when Radu said he’d stay with Mehmed broke my heart. I understand why he did that, but that doesn’t mean I have like it. Because HE DOESN’T DESERVE YOU RADU, YOU BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL MAN. I hope he finds someone he actually deserves. I want to desperately see a Radu ship sailing, you guys.
I’m excited for what Lada will do now! That was actually pretty cool when she asked Mehmed to send her back to Wallachia as the prince. I expect a lot of strategic war planning in the second book, and I swear to god if Lada fucks it up because of her reckless self, I am going to shoot myself and I’m taking her down with me.
This book didn’t live up to my expectations. Was it good? Fairly. But the way it has been exploding in the book world, I expected more. The pacing was horrible, I didn’t like Lada, sometimes when the scenery was being described I got bored to shreds and literally skimmed through it, waiting for it to end. It would be a measly 1 star book for me, but the end salvaged it from the wreck it was turning out to be, and I went through the last hundred pages in a crazed frenzy, so I don’t know how to feel about this book.
Will I pick up the next few books? I don’t know. I want more of Radu and more of court politics and battle planning. But now that they’re separated, I don’t want a Lada overload in my life. Maybe I will read it, just to add the pretty, badass covers to my collection.