And I Darken⭐⭐⭐⭐ (WTF is this, and why do I like it so much?)

Author: Kiersten White
Pages: 475
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Conqueror’s Saga #1
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780553522341

”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.”

Goodreads Synopsis

How to describe this book… No clue, so bear with me!

Welcome to a gory gender bender story about the origins of Vlad the Impaler! And the younger sibling… Neither of whom are very likeable to me, but I still got very invested in the story and could get some feministic rage out of my system through it. Because Lada is a cold ass bitch. Come on in and don’t let the YA category fool you, because this will be brutal!

Ever read these books that starts when a character is almost an adult and recaps their childhood and traumas in the beginning or during the story? (Yes, that is most books) This ain’t it. From birth to late teens, you’re with the characters. There’s some time jumping going on that does not bother me, because an infants thoughts are not that interesting and there’s years where nothing huge happens in. So I’m grateful that those periods were glossed over. The story is still a bit slow to progress, but does not really drag. I feel that it is building tension and laying a stable foundation for the next books. Of course that’s not a guarantee that the next one will be a great work of art, but it does make the possibility stronger in my opinion.

The dynamic between the two siblings Lada and Radu, to say that they are very different is an understatement. I believe that if they were not related one would have left the other to die LOOOONG ago.

Lada is the embodiment of many of my darker urges. She is ruthless and in all honesty could not give a single fuck about anybody else’s feelings if her life depended on it. The only reason she protects or ”cares” for others is because they serves a role in her life. And I mean if she needs something, don’t want to be completely isolated or just feels like an individual belongs to her. And I was into it!! You go you little sociopath!

Radu is a little piece of shit. I can’t stand him!! He’s the one with the softer more spiritual journey who wants to make a home and friends and spread love. But he’s still an annoying piece of shit! Does that take away from my love from the book? Nope, I’m deeply invested in this dislike. And I’m going to sit here and smirk every time something bad happens to him or he’s proven to be wrong. Not die though, he’s not that bad.
Mehmed.. Meh. That’s all folks!

As you can probably tell, I struggled to find anything to write about in this review. ”WTF is this, and why do I like it so much?” is still an unanswered question to me. I can’t say why I’m so into this book! It’s feels so uncomfortable at time and have not provided me with a single character to care for. But I really do enjoy reading about Lada just ruthlessly cutting down a path to her goal. I get some weird satisfaction out of that. This book is definitely unique in the world of YA. So if you are like me and keeps on rereading series like ”The Song of Ice and Fire” partly because you love how fucked up the characters are. Here’s a ”softer” quick read for you. I’m into it, 4 stars.

Kiersten White // Goodreads review // Instagram


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