And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Lada Dragwlya and her younger brother are left at the mercy of the Ottoman Court, abandoned by their father in his quest for power, and left to their own devices. The first time I heard of this book it was described as a gender-bent Vlad the Impaler. A what if the Princess was the vicious killer kind of thing?
The honest truth? At the point- I kind of like her. This is a longer one and it felt like that at times, some parts were pretty boring and some parts I just wanted to slap people but White does a really good job of putting you inside the head of Radu and more impressively Lada.
She’s young in this book but that’s the thing. You can see her thought process forming. You can pinpoint where she learns certain lessons and how they are twisted. She starts out with a deep desire to win her father’s love and be everything he wanted and when she’s dumped at the Sultan’s court despite her anger she pays careful attention to the threads of power, who has it and why, and what you have to do to keep it.
So when she allows someone to be beaten just to prove a point yes it’s vicious and cruel but I could understand why she was doing it. I actually think at this point she’s kind of a young (book) Cersei Lannister in some ways.
She constantly outpaces and surprises everyone but all too often finds she’s held back still just by being a girl. When she and her brother meet the Sultan’s son things get somehow both better and more tangled for them. I don’t know a great deal about the time period but the politics were pretty interesting. I hope (and think) they’ll get further into that in other books.
This book was very much an origins story to me with the ending leaving a lot up in the air but that’s fine in this case because I actually want to read more of Lada, Radu and Mehmed’s story. So despite some weak spots I’m intrigued by where this is going.
FYI: this book does contain violent elements including impalement, children being beaten, attempted rape, murders and multiple attempted murders but I didn’t find any of it explicit. (Except maybe the description of the impalement.) All things considered, since this was described in some places as a YA Game of Thrones, I was expecting worse.