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Review: Bright We Burn

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Title:Bright We Burn

Author:Kiersten White

Series:Book 3

Rating★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Note:Reviews for Book 1 and Book 2 here.

Synopsis

Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?

Lada’s rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won’t rest until everyone knows that her country’s borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed’s peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.

But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister’s indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before–including her relationships–can Lada truly build the country she wants.

Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.

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“That is the thing with giving your heart. You never wait for someone to ask. You hold it out and hope they want it.” 

I think there are very few books that I want to throw across the room and still love to death. Bright We Burn is one of those few.

After everything, Lada is finally on the throne, but her decisions have brought war to her lands. Radu is still haunted by his choices in the past and is desperate to save both his sister and keep the peace, but he fears he will have to choose between the two… and he may not be strong enough to make the right choice. Mehmed has everything he wants, except Lada, and he’ll do what it takes to bring her back, but how much will it cost him in the end?

I made a strong connection to Lada at the beginning of the series and she has continued to be my favorite throughout. Naturally, I was ecstatic to see her finally leading the country she loved. Lada is as fierce as ever in Bright We Burn, but we get to see more emotion from her when she’s finally faced with the dangers of war.

It was hard seeing her go through so much loss and betrayal. We definitely get to see a different side of her when she starts to raise the stakes. I especially loved the inner dialogue we get when it comes to her feelings about Radu. I really saw how deeply Lada cared about Radu. She may have shown everyone a cold exterior, but reading about her desperate desires to have her loved ones back tore at my heart.

She was a dragon.

She was a prince.

She was a woman.

It was the last that scared them most of all. 

Radu has always been my least favorite character for several reasons. Of course, the biggest one has always been his lack of support of Lada. He has always chosen others over Lada and has proven time and time again that he is not as loyal to her as she is to him. The fact that he continued to support Mehmed after he admitted that his feelings for him are different and that he knew that Lada needed him was infuriating. He was the biggest reason I wanted to throw this book. Especially later on when he makes plans that he admits will destroy her spirit and he attempts to undermine her success.

The other reason was that Radu was always ashamed of where he came from and was weak. He had no love for his country or people. He was so desperate to maintain the peace that he wanted to push the Wallachian to accept a subservient role to the Ottomans, even though he admits that they deserve better. I saw his inability to push change as weakness. He definitely didn’t have the bravery to go against the current.

Despite all these feelings toward Radu, I absolutely loved this book. Why? Because the characters were written very well, they felt real, and we get to see some interesting character development.

The ending wasn’t what I expected but was also more than I could’ve asked for. It was… imperfect and impactful and totally worthy of everything Lada had worked for. It was what this series needed.

Bright We Burn was a powerful ending to the series, complete with tension, challenges, and emotion. This series will always be a favorite and I highly recommend it for any brave enough to take it on.

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How did you feel about the ending of the series?

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