Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

Posted August 4, 2016 by Wendy in Reviews / 2 Comments

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten WhiteAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
Published by Random House Children's Books on June 28th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Medieval, Religious, General, Royalty
Pages: 496
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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three-half-stars

The New York Times Bestseller!
This vividly rendered novel reads like HBO’s Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story’s atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters and a fearsome heroine. Fans of Victoria Aveyard’s THE RED QUEEN, Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won’t want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in a trilogy.

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.
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.
From the Hardcover edition.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Why Did I Read?

Vlad the Impaler story with a badass female lead? Historical fiction? I was so in.

My Thoughts:

I have really complicated feelings about this book. I really liked most parts of it but some parts really dragged and left me feeling underwhelmed.

The book starts off with our main character Lada as a young child growing up — we see that from a young age she is already fierce, strong and determined. She has a will and she is NOT easily cowed. I thought her childhood was fascinating, especially as she gets a new baby brother and we see that relationship start up. It’s complicated — she loves her little brother but they could not be more opposite. The first 25% is dedicated to their childhood and I enjoyed it, I really did, lots of great character development and back story that really helped me see and understand Lada and Radu. However, I felt like it was a lot of set up and I kept waiting for the moment when the story would really start.

Things DO pick up after the first 25% and we meet Mehmed, the heir to the Ottoman empire. There’s war and politics and scheming and it’s very intricate. On the one hand it was fascinating to see all the character development and events unfurling but on the other, it started to feel really… dry, like an actual history textbook instead of a historical fiction story. It was a weird dichotomy for me because I’d start to feel bored but then I was still interested in what would happen. I guess I expected MORE to occur than what actually did. And this book is LONG. So basically I have very mixed feelings on this book. I enjoyed it because I really did love Lada with all her fierceness and strong will and she’s a fantastic character. And Radu, the perfect sweet complement to his sister. I want to see what these characters will do but the book as a whole was just a bit too dense and too long.

In Short…

The character development for all the main characters is phenomenal. But there is a lot of dryness to push through too and parts of it really dragged for me. I can tell it was so well researched though! I still want to read the sequel because I feel like a lot of the set up is done and I am interested to see where things go.

My Rating: mario_star_three 1/2

What are your thoughts if you’ve read this? I’m curious because I’ve been seeing quite a range of reactions. Leave me your thoughts!

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2 responses to “Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

  1. This book seems to bring on mixed feelings. Either people feel like you do or they seem to be polarized between loving it or hating it. I have to say that I have mixed feelings about it now, I’m not sure if I want to dedicate the time to this one^^ Loved reading your thoughts on it though! xx

  2. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed AND I DARKEN! I think, in part, it’s because I had only a very vague idea of what to expect from it – and it surprised me in a really good way. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next.