And I Darken by Kiersten White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
A Young Adult book and I guess it helps if you are a young adult reading it. I never really bought into the kind of myths and legends genre so it was a stretch on believability having said that it is darkly addictive although I do wonder at the intensity and hidden depths of young minds in reading this. Set in Transylvania at the height of the Ottoman Empire it tells the story of Lada Dracul who was abandoned with her brother Radu by their father to be bought up in the Ottoman Sultan's court. Lada has learned at an early age that ruthlessness is the key to survival and success and their lineage makes her and her brother targets.
Lada is one tough cookie, ruthless, driven to take revenge on the empire that is holding her captive but when she meets the sultans' son Mehmed she is torn between her feelings as they inevitably become rivals. Lada is the epitome of the feminist heroine, fierce, resilient but with all the feminine wiles that will get her what she wants.
Good descriptive passages this is set in eastern Europe and peppered with different religions and traditions interwoven with complex relationships which makes this a compulsive read. Clever linking to historical and political events this adds to the authenticity of the novel and guides the reader along a fast paced addictive journey. Young adults will love it and even skeptics like me will be hooked - great storytelling has to have a 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5* for Goodreads and Amazon.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.