Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
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.
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.
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.