Sunday, June 26, 2016

{Book Review} And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Published: June 28, 2016 by Corgi Childrens
Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
Source: Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Ya, Historical Fiction
Pages: 498

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.

This book was one of my hardest to review.  It is very well written, thoroughly researched and had great characters.  It would appeal to a lot of readers, but it almost seemed like it would be better as an adult book instead of YA.  It was full of politics, lush descriptions and deep, complicated character relationships and development. 

I was most defiantly impressed my Kiersten White’s writing…it blew me away!  The descriptions were detailed and beautiful.  The character development was absolutely amazing.  I could tell that a lot of research was done to make this story accurate for the time period.  I also think a lot of readers will enjoy the extreme politics and the underlining themes. 

The character development was top notch in this book.  I would categorize it as one of the best I have ever read.  Readers begin the journey with these characters as small children, going through the trials and tribulations until they are teens.  This book is written in chapters alternating between Lada and Radu, siblings who are complete opposites.  Lada is strong, stubborn and emotionally driven.  Radu is compassionate, kind and calculating.  I LOVED that the alternating chapters allowed readers to better understand the complicated relationships and accomplishments the characters strived to achieve.  It made me feel very connected to the characters.  I felt their sorrow, happiness, fear and worry.  I cared about what happened to them.  My only problem is I wish I would have connected with Mehmed more.  He was the connecting puzzle piece between Lada and Radu and at times, I wish there would have been chapters from Mehmed as well. 

The romance in this book was also great.  It did not overpower the plot, but was still a driving force for character’s motivations.  This was defiantly one of the most complicated romances that I have ever read about.  I do not want to go into too much detail, but there are a lot of twists and turns along the way.  It will make your heart swell with happiness, but also hurt from extreme heartbreak.

So from the review above, I bet you are wondering why I only rated this book three stars instead of five.  The answer is, it just wasn’t for me.  I could not write a bad review for this book because it is anything but.  However, like a lot of historical fiction, it is slow and time consuming to get through.  To build such great character development, it needed to spend time letting the readers know the characters, but this also led to my mind wandering.  I loved the first part and the ending, but the middle part I had a hard time getting though.  I put this book down at 47% and took a break (a 6 book break).  But I am glad I picked it up again because the ending was amazing. 

Overall, I would recommend this book for readers who like historical fiction.  Just be warned that this is a slower read that does have some action, political intrigue and great characters.  I am planning on picking up some of White’s other books since I loved her writing so much.  I also would consider picking up the next book to this series in hopes that it might be a little more action packed now that a lot of character development has been taken care of.


“As the baby latched on with surprising fierceness, the nurse offered her own prayer.  Let her be strong.  Let her be sly.  She looked over at the princess, fifteen, lovely and delicate as the first spring blossoms.  Wilted and broken on the bed.
            And let her be ugly.” -2%

Also check out White’s other books below.

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