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.
Ever since this book was released there has been so much hype surrounding it. I’m usually really wary of books that get a lot of positive attention because I always want the book to live up to my expectations – and when that doesn’t happen, it’s disappointing. With that being said I was really unsure whether I would enjoy And I Darken. I’m so so so happy to say that I really loved this book!
This book is told from two perspectives, siblings Lada and Radu. I know that some people aren’t a fan of dual perspectives but it really worked well in And I Darken. In other books I know that it has been really difficult to tell the difference between characters voices because they are so similar, but it was so easy to tell the difference between Lada’s voice and Radu’s.
Historical books are one of my favourite genres to read because I love learning more about history. And I Darken is set in the Ottoman Empire which is something that I have never learnt about so I was really excited to learn about this specific period in history. The story is based upon Vlad the Impaler but instead of Vlad being male, Kiersten Write has written him as female – Lada. Although this part isn’t historically accurate it sets it apart from just being a ‘historical retelling’. Changing Vlad to a female character allowed for the story to go in so many different directions and for different relationships to be explored.
What I especially loved about this book was the fact that the characters of Lada and Radu represent something. Lada is described as being extremely ugly, but that does not stop her from pursuing what she wants, making her a very strong female character. From an early age Radu is shown as being weaker than his sister, but Radu proves that his intelligence is what makes him strong.
And I Darken is a gripping novel which is definitely as good as everyone says it is – believe the hype surrounding this book, you won’t be disappointed!