5 Things About And I Darken by Kiersten White

August 20, 2016 Review 20 ★★★★½

5 Things About And I Darken by Kiersten White
And I Darken by Kiersten White
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Source: Publisher
Pages: 484
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Series: The Conquerer's Saga #1
Genres: Friendship, Historical, LGBT, Siblings, Young Adult
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

White’s writing has come so far


I think the last time I read Kiersten White was SUPERNATURALLY, or maybe MIND GAMES. They were good, but omg has White come far with her writing! AND I DARKEN was great. Honestly the perfect writing style for historical novels, or even historical based fantasies. I’ll be checking out White’s fantasy books soon and really hope she writes more historical and/or fantasy in the future.

Such a variety of characters

There were so many interesting and layered characters in here that if I talked about them all we’d be here forever. We’ll be here forever with me just talking about the main characters.

Lada and Radu are the two characters we spend a lot of time with and, despite being siblings (FAMILY FEELS) they’re basically polar opposites. Lada is incredibly vicious, confident, and sure of what she wants, even as a child, but she also has vulnerabilities and doubts I kind of relate to as a female. Radu on the other hand is quieter, more sensitive, but very intelligent and manipulative from the background.

Slow and steady


AND I DARKEN is a historical novel. Like may others in this genre, it’s not super fast paced. Much of the plot is character driven, there’s not all that much action (but omg the feels and twists when there are!). Slow pacing didn’t mean it was easy to put this book down though. It was so interesting and so well written I would have binged it in a day easy if it weren’t for bloody uni.

Rare form of love triangle

Love triangles can be hit or miss for me, but AND I DARKEN was an interesting one. It added a conflicting element to the main character dynamics. The triangle is between a brother and sister and their male friend, Mehmed. An LGBTQ component isn’t something I’ve ever read in a love triangle, let alone siblings developing feelings for the same person, it’s usually just to guys who hate each other going after the same girl. And there isn’t just one LGBTQ character by the way, there’s a number of side characters who fit this too.

An exploration of power


The exploration of many different types of power was my favourite part of AND I DARKEN. Everyone gains power, maintains power, and uses power in different ways. Some characters were born into it, others manipulate from the shadows, some use brawn and strength. There was also different levels of power gained with status of birth, role in society, religion, and gender.

banner divide

AND I DARKEN has received a lot of praise and I have to agree with all of it. Such a fantastic historical novel that’s well written and, while slow, keeps you engaged with such a variety of characters. Each is wielding their own type of power for their own motivations. I’m looking forward to following these characters. Definitely recommend this for fans of historical novels.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.3

20 Responses to “5 Things About And I Darken by Kiersten White”

  1. Alexandria

    I’m really conflicted about whether to read this book – on the one hand, I love historical fiction and I always, ALWAYS want LGBTQ representation, but there are some aspects I’m not keen on, like the romance (I especially hate love triangles) and the length, and from what I’ve heard the MC is a female misogynist. But then, I want to read more about the Ottoman Empire, and the characters sound interesting… So I just don’t know!
    Alexandria recently posted…Top Ten Books Set in the Future

    • Bec

      Lada is a bit misogynistic to begin with BUT I think it’s part of her character growth. She’s slowly learning how there are many ways for a woman to be strong and I think she will continue to grow in that area as the series goes on.

      It is a very interesting series with some awesome character development and stuff. This is also a pretty unique love triangle that doesn’t follow the usual two guys fighting over one girl formula that gets so frustrating, it adds to the character conflicts and dynamics. I say give it a go because you never know!

  2. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    I’ve heard nothing but great things about how amazing this is, so I am so glad you enjoyed it too! Lada sounds like such a complex and vicious heroine and she kind of reminds me of Adelina from The Young Elites in a way. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…The YA Olympics

  3. Puput @ Sparkling Letters

    I just received my copy of And I Darken a couple days ago and I’M EXCITEEEEDDD! <3 From all the reviews I've read, I sense a little bit of The Winner's Curse vibe in it… or am I wrong? But I've heard A LOT of great things about this book I can't wait to devour it! The characters seem so interesting and I always want to read more about LGBT because that subject is just so intriguing. And the world building seems absolutely wonderful! Great post :D
    Puput @ Sparkling Letters recently posted…20 Bookish Habits I’ve Been Having Since the Old Days

    • Bec

      I haven’t sensed anything Winner’s Curse-y reading it myself. I guess it depends on what element of The Winner’s Curse they were referring to haha.

      I hope you love it!

  4. Adalyn

    Great review (list?)! I really enjoyed this one as well, and the love triangle was really interesting. I haven’t really ready any LGBTQ books in general, and definitely not one with a triangle like in here. This is also the only book by Kiersten White I’ve read, and now I really want to check out some of her others.
    Adalyn recently posted…The Crown’s Game

    • Bec

      Thanks! I’ve only read some of White’s early stuff and while it’s not as good as And I Darken, they’re fun books. I really do need to read some of the stuff she’s published in the last year or two though.

    • Bec

      I’ve read Paranormalcy and Supernaturally but still haven’t finished that trilogy yet (though Endlessly is on the TBR). They were fun from what I remember, but her story telling is on a whole other level now!

  5. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Man, people seem to either really dig this one or really dislike it, there doesn’t seem to be in between. At this point on my end, I think it’s received more praise than the opposite but it’s still enough to make me unsure if it’ll work for me. I do like how unique this sounds and definitely the LGBTQ aspect appeals to me! Awesome review Bec^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Across the Wall by Garth Nix

    • Bec

      I think most who people dislike probably aren’t a fan of historical/ slow books, because it is both of those. You’re taste is similar enough to mine that I think you should give it a go one day!

      Thanks :D

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