Ｔｉｔｌｅ：And I Darken
Ｓｅｒｉｅｓ： Book 1
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ： ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Lada and her brother, Radu, are sons of the Prince of Wallachia but are left to be raised by the Ottoman Empire as leverage against him to ensure he does not violate their treaty. Lada longs for nothing but to return home and to be taken seriously by others; Radu wants to finally find someplace to belong. They make an unexpected friend in Mehmed, third son of the Sultan. When the power structure starts to change things get dangerous for the group of friends and it becomes harder to know who to trust. More importantly, Radu and Lada will have to figure out what they’re willing to give up to get what they want.
Without a doubt, Lada. She is my favorite character in this book and just one of my top favorite characters now across all books/series I’ve ever read. She’s really interesting in the way she thinks and acts. Violent, sure, but also very strategic and protective. She tries so hard to be viewed as equally capable as a man. She says the funniest things too ❤ I don’t want to put any others in here. Although the other characters were good, they couldn’t compare to Lada.
► Probably one of the greatest aspects of the book is the relationship between the siblings (Lada and Radu). They’re both complete opposites but balance one another out.
“Will you protect me?”
“Until the day I kill you.”
► Lada was fierce, and never let “should’s” stop her–if a woman shouldn’t talk in a situation it didn’t mean anything to her. She proved herself time and time again and earned the respect of many (and a healthy amount of fear).
“On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I wll be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”
► I also loved how Lada couldn’t care less who she was interacting with. She treated them all the same, and that was something Mehmed loved.
She hooked her foot behind Mehmed’s ankle, then slammed her shoulder into his, tripping him and throwing him to the ground.
He sputtered in outrage. “I am the son of the sultan!”
She pulled the door open, slicing her sword through the air in front of his throat. “No, Mehmed, you are my friend. And I am a terrible friend.”
► Haha, she’s so mean ❤
He held out his arms, black eyes imploring. “Come, spend these few hours with me. I miss you.”
She leaned forward, just out of his reach. “You should become accustomed to that sensation.”
► Everyone knows how mean Lada can be, there’s no denying it.
“How is my sister?”
“She breathes fire and pisses vinegar.”
“So, the same.”
This has been on my TBR for far too long for two reasons: 1) I’ve read another series by Kiersten White and loved it, so I definitely needed more 2) I kept hearing really good things about this book. I will confirm that it is every bit as amazing as I hoped it would be.
First, the characters are great. White does a really good job fleshing them out but also making them stand out. What’s really great is the way she breaks gender stereotypes with them. Lada is strong, fierce, aggressive, and homely. She tries to do everything a man does and doesn’t let fear of embarrassing herself stop her. Radu is shy, sweet, weak, and thoughtful. He uses his head more to solve problems than physical strength like Lada. Together, they balance each other out.
I will go ahead and say that there is a love triangle in this book, but it’s not one you would probably expect right away. It’s one I can tolerate because of the people involved. I thought it was an interesting twist that added to the story. If you like romance then it’s nice, but if you don’t then it’s still okay because the romance isn’t the majority of the story. It’s just kinda in that sweet middle spot.
I think this book had some interesting themes like self-identity and self-worth, sacrifice, and loyalty. They made things between the characters interesting and tense at times. For Lada, nothing was more important than her homeland, but at the same time, she formed connections in the Ottoman Empire that made it difficult for her to have her goals clear. It was the same for Radu, but I don’t think he realized how important family was to him until the end.
It was nice being able to follow the characters (Lada and Radu) from pretty much birth until they were adults. It was kind of a rollercoaster ride with Lada and Radu not being close, being close, and then growing distant again.
This book has quite a bit of humor in it, at least when it comes to Lada. She’s either making jokes or people are making jokes about her.
Overall, I really liked this book. The pacing was just right, and the plot was interesting. I think Kiersten created a nice story between historical facts/figures and her own creations. I highly recommend this, especially for those of you that like strong female characters (it doesn’t get much stronger than Lada)! This is a series I will absolutely be continuing ❤