And I Darken by Kiersten White (The Conqueror’s Saga #1)
Published by Delacorte Press on June 28th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Action & Adventure
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, 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 by Kiersten White is a historical young adult novel about Vlad the Impaler, but gender swapped so Vlad is now Lada. It follows her as she grows up in a kingdom where she doesn’t belong and is constantly having to prove herself as a ruthless leader because she is female.
I am going to be honest and say I didn’t really enjoy this one all that much. I was confused about what was going on for the most part. For such a big book, not a lot of interesting things occur. For a synopsis that suggests Lada being ruthless and bloody brilliantly (no pun intended), all we really get is 500 pages of bland story and dry dialogue.
One of And I Darken’s saving graces was the inclusion of a gay character, Radu. I enjoyed him the most out of all the other characters. I found him to be intriguing and the one that goes through tremendous character growth. He goes from being weak and hiding behind his sister to being smart and a political force to be reckon with.
I don’t think White’s writing our talent for storytelling is lacking. I just think I didn’t connect with the subject matter at hand. I can tell White knows how to tell a story, it’s evident with how expansive And I Darken is. A story this grand takes a lot of time to plan out and put together, so kudos to her. Hopefully other readers were able to connect more to the story than I was.
I won’t be recommending this one to anyone, but I won’t talk bad about it or deter anyone who wants to read it in doing so.
Let me know what you guys thought of And I Darken by Kiersten White! I would love to hear your opinions as well!
Until next time,
KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; and Illusions of Fate. She also coauthored In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further away times. Visit Kiersten online at kierstenwhite.com and follow @kierstenwhite on Twitter.