And I Darken by Kiersten White
on Expected publication: June 28, 2016
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.
First off, this is NOT a vampire book. No Count Dracula coming to suck your blood. And, while that may seem unfortunate at first (especially the 350+ people who marked this book “fantasy” on Goodreads…oops.), you’ll quickly lose that sense of no-vamp disappointment as you get wrapped up in Lada Dragwlya’s story as she learns to survive in the harsh world into which she finds herself. Second, this is a historical but not a historically-accurate historical, as White has gender-flipped the “Dracula” character — our MC, Lada — as well as a couple of other items (most of which I really didn’t notice until I read about it later, as I am not overly familiar with that region of the world or the politics of that time). Third, is that not the most gorgeous cover? I brought that sucker into my classroom, and my readers oohed and ahhed over it then bickered amongst each other as to who was taking it home.
Lada and her much quieter brother, Radu, wind up being raised in the Ottoman courts (due to tricksy political reasons), something that Lada is completely pissed about. She hates everyone there. She hates that she’s no longer in her beloved Wallachia. She hates that her father abandoned them to be raised in this terrible place. I tell you, this girl is fierce. Always has been and, if she lives up to her “Vlad the Impaler” historical title (and if White continues along the path she started Lada down), always will be. But, if she’s going to survive, she has to adapt and change and she’s a survivor, if nothing else.
Her evolution is nail-bitingly fascinating to watch. While she’s always been a warrior (since the cradle she scared her nannies and dominated her family), she evolves into the kind of ruthlessly fierce leader that harkens to what her future self will be like when she finally returns to her homeland…and conquers it. Because you just know she’s going to get back there and kick some serious ass against all who’ve wronged her.
There is a love story — a bit of a triangle, even — but I pretty much glossed over that whole aspect because, even though it was a decent-sized storyline. I was too interested in seeing this rather unlikeable antihero as she struggled against all the restrictions, rules and boundaries that were holding her back throughout the story. Being a girl in an incredibly masculine world and in a male-dominated time period as well as a prisoner and bargaining chip amongst powers (powers out of her control, as much as she hates that), Lada has a lot to fight against and she learns how to play the game, while still retaining her incredibly fierce personality (yeah, I wouldn’t want to run into her in a dark alley. She’d kick my ass.). I do have to admit, I was expecting a lot more blood and gore and violence in this story. There really wasn’t a lot — it was mostly political shenanigans — but there’s tension in the air and the anticipation White builds throughout the story kept me turning the pages. It was just so different than what I expected. I’m intrigued as to what’s next for Lada.
CLAIM THE THRONE. Visit AndIDarken.com to order now!
AND I DARKEN Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, May 30th: Icey Books, Review
Tuesday, May 31st: Bookiemoji, Guest Post (Character Profiles)
Wednesday, June 1st: Seeing Double in Neverland, Review
Thursday, June 2nd: Alexa Loves Books, Playlist Post
Friday, June 3rd: Awesome Book Nut, Review
Monday, June 6th: Jessabella Reads, Review
Tuesday, June 7th: The Eater of Books!, Top Five Roundup
Wednesday, June 8th: Across the Words, Review
Thursday, June 9th: Pandora’s Books, Sneak Peek for Book Two
Friday, June 10th: Tales of the Ravenous Reader, Review
Monday, June 13th: A Midsummer Night’s Read, Review
Tuesday, June 14th: The Irish Banana Review, Top 10 Guest Post
Wednesday, June 15th: Stories & Sweeties, Review
Thursday, June 16th: Jenuine Cupcakes, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, June 17th: The Soul Sisters, Review
Monday, June 20th: Winterhaven Books, Review
Tuesday, June 21st: Two Chicks on Books, Q&A
Wednesday: June 22nd: The Book Swarm, Review
Thursday, June 23rd: Read. Sleep. Repeat., Top Five Fantasy Books Kiersten Loves to Re-Read
Friday, June 24th: Please Feed The Bookworm, Review
Monday, June 27th: Comfort Books, Review
Tuesday, June 28th: Fitshun, Q&A
Wednesday, June 29th: Addicted Readers,Review
Thursday, June 30th: Lindsay Cummings, Movie Casting Post
Friday, July 1st: Rabid Reads, Review
Monday, July 4th: Reading Teen, Review
Tuesday, July 5th: YA Bibliophile, Guest Post (Trip to Romania)
Wednesday, July 6th: Carina’s Books, Review
Thursday, July 7th: Mundie Moms, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, July 8th: My Friends Are Fiction, Surprise Post!
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