Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
on 7 July 2016
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.
And I Darken was such a good surprise – reading about Lady Lada from when she was a mere child was a dark and delicious adventure.
Have you ever been filled with glee when you realise who exactly the main character in your current read is? That’s what happened to me with And I Darken! Lada is Lord Vlad’s daughter, and she’s a princess like no other. When she was born, even the nurse who took care of her found her to be ugly. Her mother was a weak, almost invisible woman, and her father a hard, dark and mean man. When her brother was born a year after her, he was a complete opposite of Lada in every way. He was so beautiful people almost forgot to breathe when they saw him. He was not brave, however, and he was scared of everyone and everything.
And I Darken is an incredible historical tale about the Ottoman empire, Wallachia, war, political intrigue and characters that made my heart beat faster. Lada was relentless as well as ruthless, she always managed to see the strings between people, possible outcomes of actions and words, and the intricate way power surrounded her and others. Never one to back down from a challenge, Lada practiced everything boys were doing so she could be better than them in every way.
Both the history, the politics, the landscapes and the characters appealed to me in And I Darken. The overall plot will probably reach over all the books in the saga, but I still felt like I got some finished plot-lines in this one. Lada is one of the most amazing female characters I have ever had the pleasure to meet, she is both smart and strong. And when there is something she doesn’t know how to do, she strives to learn – no matter what it is. A new language, combat, sword-fighting – she’ll find someone to help her better herself. And one thing that amazed me was the knowledge about both Christian and Muslim religions that were shared through the characters.
Radu was rather weak in many ways, but And I Darken also showed him to be smart. He was able to blend into the background, and most of the time everyone forgot he was even there. He caught more than one secret conversation, and if he had had a bit more courage, he could have saved Lada and himself before they were sent away as captives. In a new country, Radu blossomed, while Lada took her time to adjust. Once she did, her cunning intelligence once again made me both love her and fear her at the same time.
Written in third person point of view, past tense, And I Darken includes a complex storyline and a huge cast of characters. As the characters all have very specific voices, it was very easy to tell them apart, and I loved getting to know them and see what made them tick. As soon as I finished And I Darken, I picked up Now I Rise, so stay tuned for that review as well.
She was contrary and vicious and the meanest child the nurse had ever cared for. She was also the nurse’s favorite. By all rights the girl should be silent and proper, fearful and simpering. Her father was a powerless tyrant, cruel in his impotence and absent for months at a time.
But in Lada she saw a spark, a passionate, fierce glimmer that refused to hide or be dimmed. Rather than trying to stamp out that fire for the sake of Lada’s future, the nurse nurtured it. It made her feel oddly hopeful.
Lada hated it when he cried, but she had hurt him. And she had tasked him with something impossible. The other boys were bigger, meaner, faster. Whatever made Lada better than them had skipped him entirely.
Lada soured at the notion that a mysterious god hovered above everyone, singling out a sultan to spread the Muslim religion to the world. She had never seen such a god, nor any evidence of him. The Ottomans were successful because they were organized, because they were wealthy, and because they were many.★★★★★ strong stars to And I Darken by @kierstenwhite, Lada is Lexxie's heroine! Click To Tweet