Book Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White
And I Darken by Kiersten White
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
And I Darken:
I received an e-arc of And I Darken by Kiersten White from Penguin Random House via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, this has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
When I heard And I Darken I knew that I had to read it. A book set in an ancient country is always a plus for me. Then add a gender switch, so that we have a female Vlad the Impaler; yes please.
And I Darken follows siblings Lada and Radu as they try to survive in a cold and brutal world.
Lada was quite interesting, she is very brutal and has little to no remorse. Sometimes it was hard to connect with her nevertheless, I do understand why she was that way. She does have quite a bit of trust issues, but again the world she lives in; explains it all. Lada also doesn’t form relationships well, even with her own brother however, let’s just say that her father wasn’t the best in the world.
Radu on what a special snowflake. I wanted to cuddle him and make him my best friend. He has this nature about this that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone in a world where anyone wants to hurt everyone. He does become stronger throughout the novel, but at what cost?
Mehmend was very into his religion and that contributed to his character and how he saw the world quite a bit. He also has this nature about him, which was intriguing. He wants to be friends with Lada and Radu. However, there were things later in the novel that he did, that I didn’t like at all. It was heartbreaking.
The romance in And I Darken was problematic and quite a mess. There was a love triangle of sorts, with other people jumping in between and I am not the biggest fan of them. So that kind of was a downfall for me
This wasn’t just a romance between three people, but two siblings loving the same person – And I don’t know who deserved it more. They all had their issues and betrayed each other in so many different ways. There was no honesty and it did get on my nerves sometimes. But, like I said there was also so many other people.
The relationship between Lada and Radu was complicated. They never trusted each other, yet they were always there for each other. They never really loved each other, but they still care. Sometimes I wasn’t a big fan of the way that they treated each other. Though I did like it because I haven’t seen it before. It was tense from the get go and that played out throughout And I Darken.
The world of And I Darken is very interesting. It’s complex, but understandable. It’s kinds of base on the Ottoman Empire, but not. It was captivating and very different. The world building well thought out however, if people are not all that familiar with the history it might have been better to explain how everything ‘look’ landscape and city wise.
I loved that the characters were diverse in many ways from ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It was also fascinating to see Islam in a fantasy/retelling/historical fiction.
And I Darken was also pretty gruesome, there are executions that are described and it’s not one – they are done is some horrible ways. There are some torture scenes, though we don’t ‘see’ these, but we hear them. The world is brutal – very much like the ancient countries.
Nevertheless I did have a problem with the pace of And I Darken. I felt that the plot was quite slow and nothing happened at all for a lot of the book – this could be hard for some people; but, I was immersed into the world that it didn’t bother me too much. This isn’t saying that things don’t happen – because there is a lot of shit that goes down. I felt that And I Darken was an introduction into the world and characters.
And I Darken tells a story of the lengths people would go to for love, approval and just the thought of being forgotten. It was captivating and dropped you into a vivid and brutal world that you might not want to get out off.
Have you read And I Darken? Did you like it? Are you going to read it? Have you read any other Kiersten White books? Did you like them?