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Product Description

The New York Times Bestseller!

“Absolutely riveting.” —Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds

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 and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won’t want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in the And I Darken series.


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.

“A dark and twisty fantasy . . . think Game of Thrones, but with teens.”—Seventeen
 
“Sinister, suspenseful, and unapologetically feminist.”—Buzzfeed
 
“Will completely spin you into another time and place.”—Bustle
 
“Takes no prisoners, offering up brutal, emotional historical fiction.”—NPR.org

An ALA Rainbow List Top Ten Selection

Review

“A dark jewel of a story, one that gleams with fierce, cunning characters—absolutely riveting.” —Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Passenger

“Kiersten White at her absolute best. The epic story will thrill you, the Transylvanian setting will transport you, and the characters (especially the fierce, take-no-prisoners Lada) will capture your heart. Don’t miss it.” —Cynthia Hand, New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series
  
“Sweeping and epic, AND I DARKEN is a gender-bent take on history that gives us a fierce and brutal heroine, a fascinating time period, and a beautifully intelligent look at love, family, and power. I loved every twisty, bloody moment of it!” —Rachel Hawkins, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author 

 “As richly complex and glittering as the Ottoman Empire itself, AND I DARKEN is daring in its scope and brilliantly executed. The fiercely dark Lada is a razor-edged sword tempered in the blood of family betrayals and the fire of her own passions. I was instantly and utterly smitten. She haunted me long after I turned the final page and left me craving more.” —Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin series

“A jewel of a book—a jewel embedded in the hilt of a blood-soaked sword. A brilliantly envisioned alternate history that is meticulously detailed but compulsively readable, this is a story I could not put down. I demand the sequel like Lada demands Wallachia!” —Beth RevisNew York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series

"An intense, risky, passionate novel that dragged me through love and danger with the force of its heroine’s heart and the power of its hero’s faith.” —Tessa Gratton, author of the Gods of New Asgard series
 
“Girls with teeth and priorities. I want to read this book forever.” —E. K. Johnston, author of A Thousand Nights

★ "Full of sword fights, assassination plots, and palace intrigues, this novel is ambitious in scope and concept and reveals a fascinating, important, and somewhat obscure slice of history…the novel is breathtakingly good.” —School Library Journal starred review


★ "White deftly weaves historical fact into this complex concoction of love, war, politics, homosexuality, religion, loyalty, and friendship." Booklist starred review


"White excels at presenting an anti-hero who contrasts conventional female heroines. Readers expecting a typical love triangle tale will be surprised, for Lada’s characterization is executed in a far-from-stereotypical manner as White challenges femininity and explores the types of power women can wield. White also succeeds in crafting an accessible setting that brings complex historical figures to life."--VOYA


***

Praise for Kiersten White’s novels:
 
Paranormalcy:
“A fast, flirty roller coaster of a ride. I’m in love!” —Becca Fitzpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of Hush, Hush

“The perfect blend of light and dark. I can’t wait for more!” —Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of Daughter of Deep Silence
 
Mind Games:
★ “A tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred 
 
★ “Brilliant.” —The Bulletin, Starred
 
“An exciting gem.”#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black
 
“Sharp, heart-wrenching, and fabulously fun.”— Laini Taylor, bestselling author of the National Book Award Finalist Lips Touch: Three Times and Daughter of Smoke and Bone
 
The Chaos of Stars:
“Eloquent in its mixing of Egyptology with the experience of being a teenager . . . the character development, action-packed climax, intriguing family dynamics, and heartfelt romance will draw in fans.” —VOYA
 
Illusions of Fate:
“An absolute delight—a magical, sparkling, dangerous world with witty repartee and a romance that will light your heart on fire. Kiersten White’s best yet.”Stephanie Perkins, internationally bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss

“This well-written historical fantasy has romance, suspense, a fairy-tale feel, and a great ending that will leave readers cheering.” —SLJ

“Deliciously original in its intriguing plot and irresistible characters. ILLUSIONS OF FATE may be filled with spells, but it’s Kiersten White who is truly magic.”Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade series


In the Shadows:
★ “An enthralling, page-turning gothic mystery infused with hair-raising horror.”—Booklist, Starred

About the Author

KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken, Now I Rise, the Paranormalcy trilogy, the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies, The Chaos of Stars, Illusions of Fate, and In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo. Her books have won several awards, including the Utah Book Award, the Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, and the Whitney Award, and have been named an ALA-YALSA Teen Top Ten Best Book, a Florida Teens Read Selection, and a Texas Lone Star Reading List Selection, among other accolades. 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.
 
 
kierstenwhite.com
@kierstenwhite on Twitter.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

 

 

1435: Sighisoara, Transylvania

 

 

Vlad Dracul’s heavy brow descended like a storm when the doctor informed him that his wife had given birth to a girl. His other children—one from his first wife, now nearly full grown, and even a bastard child from his mistress, born last year—had been boys. He had not thought his seed weak enough to produce a girl.

 

He pushed through the door, into the close, heavy air of the tiny bedroom. It stank of blood and fear and filled him with disgust.

 

Their home in the fortified hill city of Sighisoara was a far cry from what he deserved. It sat next to the main gate, in the suffocating press of the square, beside an alley that reeked of human waste. His retainer of ten men was merely ceremonial, rendering him a glorified placeholder. He might have been the military governor of Transylvania, but he was supposed to be the ruler of all Wallachia.

 

Perhaps that was why he had been cursed with a girl. Another insult to his honor. He was in the Order of the Dragon, sanctioned by the pope himself. He should be the vaivode, the warlord prince, but his brother sat on the throne, while he was governor of Saxons squatting on his own country’s land.

 

Soon he would show them his honor on the end of a sword.

 

Vasilissa lay on the bed, soaked in sweat and moaning in pain. Certainly the weakness that took root in her womb had been her own. His stomach turned at the sight of her, princess now in neither demeanor nor appearance.

 

The nurse held up a squalling, red-faced little monster. He had no names for a girl. Vasilissa would doubtless want something that honored her family, but Vlad hated the Moldavian royals she came from for failing to bring him any political advantage. He had already named his bastard Vlad, after himself. He would name his daughter the same.

 

“Ladislav,” he declared. It was a feminine form of Vlad. Diminutive. Diminished. If Vasilissa wanted a strong name, she would have to bear him a son. “Let us pray she is beautiful so we can get some use out of her,” he said. The infant screamed louder.

 

 

 

Vasilissa’s royal breasts were far too important to suckle from. The wet nurse waited until Vlad left, then held the babe to her common teats. She was still full of milk from her own child, a boy. As the baby latched on with surprising fierceness, the nurse offered her own prayer. Let her be strong. Let her be sly. She looked over at the princess, fifteen, lovely and delicate as the first spring blossoms. Wilted and broken on the bed.

 

And let her be ugly.

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

Vlad could not be bothered to be present for the birth of his second child by Vasilissa: a son, a year younger than his sister, practically chasing her into this world.

 

The nurse finished cleaning the newborn, then held him out to his mother. He was tiny, perfect, with a mouth like a rosebud and a full head of dark hair. Vasilissa lay, glassy-eyed and mute, on the bed. She stared at the wall. Her gaze never even drifted to her son. A tug on the nurse’s skirt brought her attention downward, where tiny Lada stood, scowling. The nurse angled the baby toward his sister.

 

“A brother,” she said, her voice soft.

 

The baby started to cry, a weak, garbled sound that worried the nurse. Lada’s scowl deepened. She slapped a dimpled hand over his mouth. The nurse pulled him away quickly, and Lada looked up, face contorted in rage.

 

“Mine!” she shouted.

 

It was her first word.

 

The nurse laughed, shocked, and lowered the baby once more. Lada glared at him until he stopped crying. Then, apparently satisfied, she toddled out of the room.

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

If Vasilissa saw her daughter wrestling on the floor with the dogs and the nurse’s son, Bogdan, the nurse would lose her position. However, since the birth of Radu four years ago, Vasilissa never left her rooms.

 

Radu had gotten all the beauty their father had wished on his daughter. His eyes were framed by thick lashes, his lips full, his gentle curls kissed with a hint of Saxon gold.

 

Bogdan screamed as Lada—Ladislav, now five, refused to answer to her full name—bit down on his thigh. He punched her. She bit harder, and he cried for help.

 

“If she wants to eat your leg, she is allowed,” the nurse said. “Quit screaming or I will let her eat your supper, too.”

 

Like her brother, Lada had big eyes, but hers were close-set, with arched brows that made her look perpetually cross. Her hair was a tangled mass, so dark that her pale skin appeared sickly. Her nose was long and hooked, her lips thin, her teeth small and—judging from Bogdan’s angry cries—quite sharp.

 

She was contrary and vicious and the meanest child the nurse had ever cared for. She was also the nurse’s favorite. By all rights the girl should be silent and proper, fearful and simpering. Her father was a powerless tyrant, cruel in his impotence and absent for months at a time. Her mother was every bit as absent, withdrawn and worthless in their home, incapable of doing anything to help herself. They were an apt representation of the entire region—particularly the nurse’s homeland of Wallachia.

 

But in Lada she saw a spark, a passionate, fierce glimmer that refused to hide or be dimmed. Rather than trying to stamp out that fire for the sake of Lada’s future, the nurse nurtured it. It made her feel oddly hopeful.

 

If Lada was the spiky green weed that sprouted in the midst of a drought-cracked riverbed, Radu was the delicate, sweet rose that wilted in anything less than the perfect conditions. Right now he wailed at the nurse’s pause in spooning the thin gruel, sweetened with honey, into his mouth.

 

“Make him shut up!” Lada climbed over her father’s largest hound, grizzled and patient with age.

 

“How should I do that?”

 

“Smother him!”

 

“Lada! Bite your tongue. He is your brother.”

 

“He is a worm. Bogdan is my brother.”

 

The nurse scowled, wiping Radu’s face with her apron. “Bogdan is not your brother.” I would sooner lie with the dogs than your father, she thought.

 

“He is! You are. Say you are.” Lada jumped onto Bogdan’s back. Though he was two years older and far bigger, she pinned him to the ground, jamming her elbow into his shoulder.

 

“I am! I am!” he said, half giggling, half crying.

 

“Throw Radu out with the chamber pots!”

 

Radu wailed louder, working himself up to a fit. The nurse clucked her tongue, picking him up even though he was much too large to be carried around. He put a hand in her blouse and pinched her skin, which was loose and wrinkled like an old apple. She sometimes wished he would shut up, too, but when he did speak it was always so sweet it made up for his tantrums. He even smelled nice, as if honey clung to his mouth between meals.

 

“Be a good boy,” the nurse said, “and you can go sledding with Lada and Bogdan later. Would you like that?”

 

Radu shook his head, lip trembling with the threat of more tears.

 

“Or we could visit the horses.”

 

He nodded slowly and the nurse sighed with relief. She looked up to find Lada gone. “Where did she go?”

 

Bogdan’s eyes widened in fear and indecision. Already he did not know whose wrath to fear more—his mother’s or tiny Lada’s.

 

Huffing, the nurse tucked Radu onto her hip, his feet bouncing against her legs with every step. She stalked down the hall toward the narrow stairs leading to the bedrooms. “Lada, if you wake your mother, there will be—”

 

She stopped, holding perfectly still, her fearful expression matching Bogdan’s own. From the sitting room near the front of the house, she heard voices. Low voices. Men’s voices. Speaking in Turkish, the language of their oftentimes enemy, the Ottomans.

 

Which meant Vlad was home, and Lada was—

 

The nurse ran down the hall and burst into the sitting room to find Lada standing in the middle of the room.

 

“I kill infidels!” the child snarled, brandishing a small kitchen knife.

 

“Do you?” Vlad spoke to her in the language of the Saxons, the tongue most spoken in Sighisoara. The nurse’s Saxon was crude, and while Vasilissa was fluent in several languages, she never spoke with the children. Lada and Radu spoke only Wallachian.

 

Lada waved the knife at him in answer to the question she did not understand. Vlad raised an eyebrow. He was wrapped in a fine cloak, an elaborate hat on his head. It had been nearly a year since Lada had seen her father. She did not recognize him.

 

“Lada!” the nurse whispered. “Come here at once.”

 

Lada stood as tall as her short, stocky legs allowed. “This is my home! I am the Order of the Dragon! I kill infidels!”

 

One of the three men accompanying Vlad murmured something in Turkish. The nurse felt sweat breaking out on her face, her neck, her back. Would they kill a child for threatening them? Would her father allow it? Or would they simply kill her for being unable to control Lada?

 

Vlad smiled indulgently at his daughter’s display, then bowed his head at the three men. They returned the bow and swept out, acknowledging neither the nurse nor her disobedient charge. “How many infidels have you killed?” Vlad’s voice, this time in the melodic romance language tones of Wallachian, was smooth and cold.

 

“Hundreds.” Lada pointed the knife at Radu, who hid his face against the nurse’s shoulder. “I killed that one this morning.”

 

“And will you kill me now?”

 

Lada hesitated, lowering her hand. She stared at her father, recognition seeping across her face like milk dropped in clear water. As quick as a snake, Vlad snatched the knife out of her hand, then grabbed her by the ankle and lifted her into the air.

 

“And how,” he said, her upside-down face level with his, “did you think you could kill someone bigger, stronger, and smarter than you?”

 

“You cheated!” Lada’s eyes burned with a look the nurse had come to dread. That look meant injury, destruction, or fire. Often all three.

 

“I won. That is all that matters.”

 

With a scream, Lada twisted herself up and bit her father’s hand.

 

“God’s wounds!” He dropped her on the floor. She tucked into a ball, rolled out of his reach, then crouched, baring her teeth at him. The nurse cringed, waiting for Vlad to fly into a rage and beat Lada. Or beat her for her failure to keep Lada tame and docile.

 

Instead, he laughed. “My daughter is feral.”

 

“So sorry, my lord.” The nurse ducked her head, gesturing frantically at Lada. “She is overexcited upon seeing you again after so long an absence.”

 

“What of their instruction? She does not speak Saxon.”

 

“No, my lord.” That was not quite true. Lada had picked up Saxon obscenities and frequently yelled them out the window at people in the busy square. “She knows a bit of Hungarian. But there has been no one to see to the children’s education.”

 

He clucked his tongue, a thoughtful look in his shrewd eyes. “And what of this one? Is he as fierce?” Vlad leaned in to where Radu had finally peered outward.

 

Radu immediately burst into tears, burying his face once more in the nurse’s shoulder and shoving his hand beneath her cap to wrap it in her hair.

 

Vlad’s lip turned up in disgust. “This one takes after his mother. Vasilissa!” he shouted, so loud that Radu was terrified into silence interrupted only by hiccups and sniffles. The nurse did not know whether to stay or leave, but she had not been dismissed. Lada ignored her, wary eyes fixed on her father.

 

“Vasilissa!” Vlad roared again. He reached out to snatch Lada, but this time she was ready. She scrambled away, crawling under the polished table. Vlad rapped his knuckles on it. “Very good. Vasilissa!”

 

His wife stumbled into the room, hair down, wrapped in nothing but a dressing robe. She was worn thin. Her cheekbones jutted out under grayed, empty eyes. If the birth of Lada had nearly killed her, Radu’s had drained whatever life she had left. She took in the scene—Radu tearstained, Lada under the table, and her husband, finally home—with a dull gaze.

 

“Yes?” she asked.

 

“Is that how you greet your husband? The vaivode of Wallachia? The prince?” He smiled in triumph, his long mustache lifting to reveal thin lips.

 

Vasilissa stiffened. “They are making you prince? What of Alexandru?”

 

“My brother is dead.”

 

The nurse did not think Vlad looked much like a man in mourning.

 

Finally noticing her daughter, Vasilissa beckoned to her. “Ladislav, come out from under there. Your father is home.”

 

Lada did not move. “He is not my father.”

 

“Make her come out,” Vasilissa snapped at the nurse.

 

“Can you not command your own child?” Vlad’s voice was as clear as a blue sky in the freezing depths of winter. The sun with teeth, they called those days.

 

The nurse shrank further into herself, shifting so that Radu, at least, was out of Vlad’s sight. Vasilissa looked frantically to either side, but there was no escape from the room. “I want to go home,” she whispered. “Back to Moldavia. Please let me.”

 

“Beg.”

 

Vasilissa’s tiny frame trembled. Then she dropped to her knees, lowered her head, and took Vlad’s hand in her own. “Please. Please, I beg of you. Let me go home.”

 

Vlad put out his other hand and stroked Vasilissa’s lank, greasy hair. Then he grabbed it, wrenching her head to the side. She cried out, but he pulled tighter, forcing her to stand. He placed his lips against her ear. “You are the weakest creature I have ever known. Crawl back to your hole and hide there. Crawl!” He threw her down, and, sobbing, she crawled from the room.

 

The nurse looked steadily at the finely woven rug that covered the stone floor. She said nothing. She did nothing. She prayed that Radu would remain silent.

 

“You.” Vlad pointed at Lada. “Come out. Now.”

 

She did, still watching the door Vasilissa had disappeared through.

 

“I am your father. But that woman is not your mother. Your mother is Wallachia. Your mother is the very earth we go to now, the land I am prince of. Do you understand?”

 

Lada looked up into her father’s eyes, deep-set and etched with years of cunning and cruelty. She nodded, then held out her hand. “The daughter of Wallachia wants her knife back.”

 

Vlad smiled and gave it to her.

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4.4 out of 54.4 out of 5
679 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

K. Bird Lincoln
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
reimagined Vlad Dracula as a tomboy girl who learns to fight as hostage of Ottoman empire-- YA sensibility, great details
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2017
I was just posting in a Historical Fiction group that the world needed more non-Western European historical fantasies. And guess what? Kiersten White''s got a good one right here for you, folks. Ottoman empire and the Draculas! If you liked Rae Dawn Carson''s Girl... See more
I was just posting in a Historical Fiction group that the world needed more non-Western European historical fantasies. And guess what? Kiersten White''s got a good one right here for you, folks.

Ottoman empire and the Draculas! If you liked Rae Dawn Carson''s Girl of Fire and Thorns or Renee Ahdieh''s The Wrath and the Dawn or Shannon Hale''s Book of a Thousand Days you should definitely check out this series. (although it''s not a Scheherezade retelling, but definitely non-Western European in focus)

Historically, Vlad Dracul and his brother, Radu the Handsome, spent time as child hostages under an Ottoman Sultan. In this book, White reimagines Vlad as a girl-- Lada Dragwlya-- who becomes an aggressive, fighting tomboy to get the attention first of her father and second to survive the Ottoman court.

Only this is a YA love story, albeit with excellent historical context and political details of the times, and the story is just as much about Lada''s brother, Radu, and the Sultan''s son, Mehmed. The three of them form a complicated emotional tangle of love, resentment, and fear. And the ever present danger Lada and Radu face due to their hostage status keeps you reading just as much as the question of how these three passionate and emotionally wounded people will manage to live with each other.

The press says "AND I DARKEN—the series that reads like HBO’s Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. " And while there''s a bit of gory blood, a off-screen reference to Mehmed and his harem, there''s nothing onscreen but some kissing a bit of heavy petting to keep it out of older YA hands. Definitely not as crazy as Game of Thrones, yet somehow more compelling because of its historical basis. I''m about to go get myself the sequel.
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ashelynn
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
WOW
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2017
AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White is probably going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017. It was February when I read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the historical re-telling of Vlad the Impaler as a teenage girl. Ottoman Empire, violence, and a girl who is a total babe? YES.... See more
AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White is probably going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017. It was February when I read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the historical re-telling of Vlad the Impaler as a teenage girl. Ottoman Empire, violence, and a girl who is a total babe? YES. Sign me up.

Now, let me preface this review by saying And I Darken is a long book (nearly 500 pages) and it starts off slowly. It’s also not a plot-driven story, but a character-driven story. The first 60 or so pages are just of Lada and Radu growing up in Wallachia. By page 69, they have arrived at Edirne in the Ottoman Empire, where they are pawns in their father’s trade for protection of his throne in Wallachia. If their father is to break the treaty, Lada and Radu will be killed. I mean, how awful would you feel if your father cared so little about you but realized you were valuable only by securing his throne?

In Edirne, Lada and Radu meet Mehmed, the third and least favorite son of the Sultan to the Ottoman Empire. They become friends as they grow up in the Ottoman Empire together. Lada is forever longing to go back home to Wallachia. Radu loves Islam and the Ottoman Empire and believes he is home. And as they grow, feelings also began to develop. Radu and Lada both fall for Mehmed.

Yes, this means Radu is gay or potentially bisexual as his sexual identity is never mentioned on the page. He only seems to have feelings for Mehmed though.

Siblings falling for the same person is like my favorite trope, guise.

However, Mehmed doesn’t share the same feelings toward Radu – at least not in And I Darken. Mehmed instead has feelings toward Lada and an intense relationship blooms between them. I loved their passionate scenes.

The characters in And I Darken come to life on the page; Lada becomes friends with Nicolae, a Janissary who is “a member of an elite force of military professionals, taken as boys from other countries, converted to Islam, educated, and trained to be loyal to the sultan.” (White, 480-481.) Radu becomes friend with Lazar, another Janissary, but Radu met Lazar in his father’s palace in Wallachia. Nicolae is also from Wallachia. The tight friendships make this story come to life because, again, it’s character-driven, not plot-driven. I’ve seen some reviews of people saying there’s too many characters, and that may be the case for them, but it wasn’t for me. There is a whole cast of characters, but I found it easy to keep them apart in my head because each character had an influence on Lada and Radu’s story. They weren’t throwaway characters. The characters all have a role, especially those in the Ottoman Empire, including the concubines in the Sultan’s harem. There is also a glossary of characters at the end on page 476.

And I Darken is told between Lada and Radu. I think this helps with appealing to a bigger audience because Lada is extremely violent and selfish. She could be seen as an unlikable narrator. Radu is sweet and innocent, and his chapters brought light to what could have been an extremely dark book. It’s still a dark book – the title says it all.

It’s also good to note that because of the period (1450s ish) and because of the extreme violence, this book isn’t for everybody. There is physical violence (and right away – Lada bites a cousin because he and his brother are beating up Radu) and sexual abuse including: grabbing a breast and a near rape scene.

I would recommend And I Darken to readers of White’s previous books (especially those who loved Mind Games), fans of dark, gritty, and complex stories, and fans of historical fiction a la His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers. I am extremely happy that And I Darken is the first book of a trilogy, and I am eager for the sequels.
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Delta High School Library
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tumultuous historical fiction!
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2018
Tumultuous historical fiction! And I Darken by Kiersten White, book one of the Conqueror’s Saga tells the story of Lada (a female version of Vlad the Impaler) and her brother Radu, as well as Mehmed, who will become a great Conqueror. Lada was born with an intense and... See more
Tumultuous historical fiction!
And I Darken by Kiersten White, book one of the Conqueror’s Saga tells the story of Lada (a female version of Vlad the Impaler) and her brother Radu, as well as Mehmed, who will become a great Conqueror. Lada was born with an intense and strong personality; this is the only way to catch the attention of her father. The only time she’s kind or shows weakness is in helping her younger brother. Their father wakes them before dawn and takes them to a different ruler’s home for protection, but he ends up leaving his children to receive an education. This education consists of cruelty along with their lessons. As Lada and her brother Radu grow, they each find their particular talents and tend to go their separate ways. Lada is outspoken, boisterous and skillful in fighting and Radu is quiet and personable and enjoys religion. I learned more about Islam because of this book and my appreciation of Islamic beliefs grew. The author used the historical information that she could find on two great leaders- Vlad the Impaler and Mehmed the Conqueror- to create this interesting series of intrigue, action and danger. I love when authors explain their process of creating their books and share the research they discovered. Kiersten White lists historical books of information on her subjects and also tells readers why she chose to make Vlad the Impaler a female character- Lada. Lada adds depth, drama, love, loyalty and intensity to the story. And I Darken is the beginning of the turmoil of The Conqueror’s Saga, 4 stars!
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Heather
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A new favorite!
Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2018
TW: attempted rape, gore/violence, Islamophobia, homophobia. I am so mad at myself for putting this book off for so long because I am absolutely in love with everything to do with this story. Between the reviewers I deeply trust, half of them loved it and half of... See more
TW: attempted rape, gore/violence, Islamophobia, homophobia.

I am so mad at myself for putting this book off for so long because I am absolutely in love with everything to do with this story. Between the reviewers I deeply trust, half of them loved it and half of them either hated or DNFed it, so it made me apprehensive about picking And I Darken up. I don''t typically read Historical Fiction stories and I know very little about Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) other than he was prince of Wallachia and that he was known for being a very violent man (hence the nickname). When I heard it was a Vlad the Impaler retelling with Vlad actually being a woman, I was intrigued but because I wasn''t knowledgeable I didn''t have much of an opinion about reading it. I want to quickly say this here, because I''ve seen this come up in other reviews: this book isn''t fantasy - it is historical fiction, and it is not supposed to be incredibly thrilling or scary. I do think that in the next book we are probably going to get more graphic and violent scenes because of the events in this book are leading to, but I have seen some reviews realize they picked this up for a thrilling or fantasy story and be disappointed.

I think the characters are what really steal the show for this story. We have our two main characters who are sister and brother, Lada and Radu. Lada by far was my favorite character of the story. She is so incredibly complex and interesting. Her character growth throughout the story is such a well written one and I think it made the reader empathize with her so much more. She is so incredibly badass through the entire story and of course it was always impressive to see her be this strong woman in a time when women were treated as a means to have children. But besides her strength I was most impress with how she grew as a sympathetic character. She is so harsh and insensitive at first because she''s young and craves her fathers approval, but as she sheds these naive fantasies about her father and the world in general she becomes grounded. And I think it makes her even more lethal than she was as this wild and feral beast of a child. Radu is a character I highly sympathized for because honestly a lot of the times he gets the short end of the stick when it comes to his family. His sister constantly teases him and his father treats him terribly because Radu is what the internet would like to call a precious cinnamon roll. He''s a bleeding heart, and although he cries less as he grows up I love that his compassion and humility stays with him as he becomes a teenager. However, he drives me incredibly insane sometimes. He was annoying and a bit whiny even as he grows into his teenage years. I love so much about his character. I admire him not only for his charisma but that he uses it to get what he wants. He is so incredibly clever and quick to solve problems to get himself, Lada, or Mehmed out of trouble. I loved that Lada and Radu were two sides of a coin. Lada was fierce and violent. She will destroy everything for Wallachia and the ones she loves. And Radu was cunning and sly, he is quick to think on his feet and prefers to use his intellect than violence to get what he wants. I know not everyone loves Harry Potter and some people hate when people who do tend to sort everyone and everything into their respectful houses. But Lada was such a Gryffindor to me and Radu was a Slytherin. I love their sibling dynamic because although Lada was cruel to Radu when they were children, she had moments where she showed she did love him and Radu latched onto those moments because all he wanted to be was loved. Which was incredibly sad. And as they grow up and conflicts arise I felt incredibly invested in their sibling relationship. I think it''s one of the best sibling relationships I''ve ever read and I cannot wait to read more.

And then we have Mehmed, a character I am actually not sure where I land on just yet. I don''t want to say more than that because of spoilers but I am still trying to figure out my feelings when it comes to him. I love his friendship with Lada and Radu but as the trio grows up and become teens I felt like we couldn''t trust him. I am hoping I will be able to figure him out more in book two, which I have waiting for me on my kindle. There are also a couple side characters I really loved, those being Nicolae, Nazira, and Kamal. I really loved Lada''s friendship with Nicolae and I cannot wait to see more of that in the future books. I also found Nazira and Kamal to be so cute and incredibly kind. I know we don''t get too much of Nazira in this book but I am excited to see more of her later on.

The plot can be considered a slower paced one, but I was never bored with the story. Maybe the combination of me loving Lada instantaneously with the beautiful writing had me hooked and it was just the kind of book I needed, but I never felt like the story was too slow even if looking back it does take some time for things to pick up. I was also listening to the audiobook, which I think is perfectly narrated and I am hoping I can figure out how to get a hold of the second book''s audiobook. I think listening to audiobooks is the perfect way to read a book you''re on the fence about, especially if the narrator is amazing. So much happens in this book and its packed with so many important things, so although it''s a slow burn, everything seems so important and vital to the story. We go through years of Lada and Radu''s lives. When we meet them they''re kids and they''re reaching adulthood by the end this book. So I feel like because the story progresses over several years of their lives it validates the slower moments and the almost 500 page count. However, this book is heavy with it comes to politics and as someone who is not an expert at the subject at times it got a little confusing. I got the overall idea of what was happening but I have to admit there were moments where I was a little confused during the politics. And because I was confused I got bored at times.

The writing is gorgeous and elegant but can also be incredibly fierce and harsh. I think White does an amazing job writing scenery. Every single scene Lada described her home, Wallachia, I immediately felt like I was there with her. The descriptions are rich and filled with nature, warmth, and love. I could feel Lada''s love for her home in every single one of her breaths. Which I absolutely loved reading. It made me feel closer to Lada because of how much she loves, even if she puts on a mask of someone who is cold. I have not read anything else by Kiersten White in the past but from what I have read from author reviewers who have and felt meh about her previous work, her writing has improved so much. So if you read a book of hers in the past and wasn''t a fan I think you should give this book a shot.

Overall, I recommend this book virtually to everyone. I think that it is such an amazing story but it holds a lot of great themes. This is a story about siblings, honor, love, feminism, faith, and so much more. If one or any of these themes sound interesting to you I recommend picking it up. I plan on picking up the sequel as soon as I possibly can and then the third one, which just recently came out a day or two ago! I am so happy to have picked up this story and if you''ve read it I would love to know your thoughts.
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Amanda B
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Overall, I really enjoyed this book.
Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2020
This is an alternate historical fiction retelling of the story of Vlad the Impaler. In Kiersten White’s story, Vlad is a girl named Lada. And damn is she fierce. She is vicious and unforgiving. She cares for no one and nothing except for her home country Wallachia (and... See more
This is an alternate historical fiction retelling of the story of Vlad the Impaler. In Kiersten White’s story, Vlad is a girl named Lada. And damn is she fierce. She is vicious and unforgiving. She cares for no one and nothing except for her home country Wallachia (and sometimes her younger brother, Radu). But being a girl in the 1400s her father doesn’t care much about her at all. She lives to prove her worth and to get his attention. Her life changes forever when her father leaves Lada and Radu with the Ottoman Empire as a sort of collateral to ensure that he sticks to their treaty.
This story was tough because it follows Lada from her birth to her later teenage years. So, there are slower parts of the story and more fast-paced parts. But throughout, you can’t help but like Lada because she doesn’t want to be just another girl to be used to secure a politically advantageous marriage. She wants to be a ruler. She will be in charge of her life. I liked that she was supposed to be unlikable and ugly. I’m definitely excited to see where the next book in the series will go for her.
Now, sweet Radu. I loved and pitied him. It wasn’t hard to feel sorry for him for the first 100 pages or so. He was horribly bullied for being small and sensitive. Lada and her childhood friend were pretty horrible to him, but Lada occasionally stuck up for him against others. It was a confusing relationship. I liked the sibling aspect of the story even though it was certainly not a traditional sibling dynamic. I really enjoyed Radu’s story once he learned more about Islam. I thought that was a great addition to the story as we got to learn a bit about it alongside him. And it’s obvious how he changes after finding faith.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were diverse characters, Radu is in love with his and Lada’s closest friend in the Ottoman Empire (but Lada loves him too which makes it a little weird) and there is another character that’s friends with Radu that mentions being with both genders. There is also a lesbian couple (in hiding because it’s the 1400s, but it’s there). I liked that even though it’s not a time period that these things were generally accepted, White still included them. These relationships would have existed whether out in the open or not. The story was well written and interesting. The characters were both likable and unlikable at the same time (which was weird for me to flip back and forth so many times). I cannot wait to continue onto the next book in the series.
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Donna Bull
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Historical fiction with a fantastic female twist!!
Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2021
Loved this historical fiction with a female twist!! The Ottoman Empire of the 15th century stretched across a vast territory, including Wallachia, Bulgaria and Albania. Vlad Dracul rules uneasily over Wallachia, constantly under threats from other Boyars and the Ottoman... See more
Loved this historical fiction with a female twist!! The Ottoman Empire of the 15th century stretched across a vast territory, including Wallachia, Bulgaria and Albania. Vlad Dracul rules uneasily over Wallachia, constantly under threats from other Boyars and the Ottoman Empire. His two youngest children Ladislav and Radu, do their best to try and survive these shifting alliances. Lada refuses to accept her traditional role as daughter, wanting to fight and to earn her father''s favor and love. When Lada and Radu are taken to Edirne and left as hostages in exchange for their father''s loyalty to the Ottomans, they are thrown into a new culture, with a new religion and new threats to their lives. Lada continues to refuse to play by societies rules as she learns to fight, and to command men. Radu finds solace in Edirne in a new religion and knowing he has found a new home. Lada and Radu come to meet the son of the Sultan, Mehmed and this new friendship will determine the future path of all three of their lives.
This was a truly enjoyable read and I loved that Vlad the Impaler is a woman who fights for what she wants and won''t let people derail her vision just because she is a woman. I was very much drawn to Radu and his struggles with understanding and accepting his own self and desires. The triangle with Mehmed and the how flawed each character is, yet how loyal the three of them are to each other is the heart of the story. I love seeing history thru the eyes of Lada, Radu and Mehmed and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

"Well, are you ready, Lada Dragwyla, daughter of the dragon? Fire burned in her heart, and her wounded soul spread out, casting a shadow like wings across her country. This was hers. Not because of her father. Not because of Mehmed. Because the land itself had claimed her as its own. "Not Dragwyla," she said. "Lada Dracul. I am no longer the daughter of the dragon." She lifted her chin, sights set on the horizon. " I am the dragon."
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HAL
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Dracula Gender Swap!
Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2017
Pleasantly surprised, though not at all what I was expecting it to be. I’ll be honest, I preordered this one for its beautiful cover and was hooked by the first few pages of the sample. I love the idea of gender swapping Vlad for Lada. She’s ruthless as a child.... See more
Pleasantly surprised, though not at all what I was expecting it to be. I’ll be honest, I preordered this one for its beautiful cover and was hooked by the first few pages of the sample.

I love the idea of gender swapping Vlad for Lada. She’s ruthless as a child. However, as she gets older there’s a bit of a lull where her character starts to change because of a potential romance building. I think this tenderness takes away from the unlovable Lada, who the readers are hooked by in the beginning. I’m hoping book two brings back her fiery passion, the unrelenting princess–since, in the end, she’s decided to sacrifice the one thing that might have tamed her.

I didn’t enjoy Radu nearly as much as Lada, though I did appreciate the feelings he develops for a man close to him. I thought this conflict added great tension to the story and pushed Radu to be braver and stronger.

There’s nothing I didn’t like about the author’s writing style. However, there were times the pacing slows, and I skipped full paragraphs of drawn-out explanations or backstory, which I would have cut out completely.

Overall, the writing is fantastic, the story is unique, the title is badass and so is the main character. I’ll be purchasing the second book (and repurchasing this one since it’s full of sand and salt water from the beach).
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Azia
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book is FIERCE *snaps fingers*
Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2018
*Warning: Long review ahead It took me a bit longer than usual to get through this book and it’s not because I didn’t like it. I was just really busy wrapping up my semester and getting ready to leave university life. However, that wasn’t the only reason. Even... See more
*Warning: Long review ahead

It took me a bit longer than usual to get through this book and it’s not because I didn’t like it. I was just really busy wrapping up my semester and getting ready to leave university life. However, that wasn’t the only reason. Even though this book is very good, it still had some issues.

The strongest aspect of And I Darken is its world building, or rather, the author’s superb application of historical context. While reading, you can’t help but appreciate the effort White has put in to recreate a particular time period and culture not all of us are extremely familiar with.

In her notes, the author mentions having studied Islam and the Ottoman Empire during the 15th and 16th century to include vocabulary, military movement, traditional dress, cultural customs, religious practices, and more as a means to accurately portray a piece of history to the best of her ability while still maintaining originality in her characters and plot.

In regards to the characters, Lada is not particularly kind. In fact, she is vicious and fierce, and determined to prove her worth as a leader and warrior. Being a woman, she is considered lesser, and in order for her to survive a world that does not value women as much as men, Lada believes she must be ruthless and even more dangerous than her male counterparts. Despite her cold exterior, Lada cares deeply for her brother and even though she does not dote on him, it is clear she loves him and wishes to protect him however she can.

Unfortunately, her love for her brother and her love for her birth country pulls her mind and heart in different directions. As a result, her actions oft times contradict one other, making her a wonderfully flawed anti-heroine I can easily appreciate and despise at the same time.

Radu, on the other hand, is much more personable than his sister. He is kind and charming, and much more adept in politics than his sister and compatriots give him credit for. Unfortunately, he is also less battle-savvy, making him an easy target. Lada becomes his protector, and even though he loves his sister, one can see that he is angry with his inability to physically protect himself and that he must rely on Lada for protection. Both he and Lada struggle with their identities, Radu even more so than his sister, I believe. He never felt at home in Wallachia and so he wishes to find peace and a sense of belonging elsewhere. Also, he must come to grips with the fact that his feelings towards Mehmed may be more than just friendly.

Both Radu and Lada have their merits and their shortcomings. The narrative switches between their respective POVs, and so it’s easy to understand how and why each character behaves as they do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating when they fail to understand one another’s feelings and motivations. In this respect, White excelled in creating two very different and complex, multi-dimensional characters who struggle with their identities, their sense of belonging, and their purpose in life.

The issues I have with this book rest with the pacing and Mehmed himself. The pacing is relatively steady throughout the book, but there were sections that seemed to drag as nothing seemed to really change. The ending was certainly the most exciting part of the book, but it felt like it took a while to get there.

As for Mehmed, I couldn’t really see his appeal. Both Lada and Radu care deeply for him, but there wasn’t much about him I saw that would make him a suitable love interest. Both Lada and Radu frequently talked about how amazing he was but from the parts I read about him, all I saw was a somewhat chauvinistic, slightly misogynistic, occasionally self-righteous young man who didn’t treat his best friends as well as he could. I think the story would have benefited from having a third POV from Mehmed so we could better understand him as a person rather than having our opinions formed from secondary thoughts by Lada and Radu. Also, I didn’t like the way he treated Lada later on when they acknowledged their feelings for one another and I didn’t appreciate the way Lada seemed to lose her fierceness after she fell in love. I honestly think Radu and Lada deserve better than Mehmed at this point.

Besides those two things, I’d say And I Darken is a very well-done YA historical fiction. The writing is strong and the story is compelling, and the setting and sibling relationship between Lada and Radu are arguably the best parts about the book. The story isn’t perfect but it’s well-researched and the gender-swap of Vlad the Impaler to Vlada the Impaler is intriguing. Following the end of this book, I can’t wait to see what Lada does next!
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Clive Butterfield
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An unusual yet captivating series of characters. Great story.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2017
An unusual story. Lada the heroine is not pleasant in her demeanor nor is she pleasant in appearance. As a child she is brutal to everyone but in turn is treated brutally by her father the prince, whom she aspires to be respected by. She has a mean older step brother and...See more
An unusual story. Lada the heroine is not pleasant in her demeanor nor is she pleasant in appearance. As a child she is brutal to everyone but in turn is treated brutally by her father the prince, whom she aspires to be respected by. She has a mean older step brother and soft and plyable younger brother who she protects and threatens in turn. They are sent as hostages to the Ottoman Empire to ensure their father keeps to treaty terms. They are adopted as a source of unusual amusement by the Sultan''s youngest son, who in all likelihood will never receive the throne. OK that is a terribly dry description of the plot line. In truth the book is about a complicated tryst between the three children who grow up together and form what becomes a powerful alliance. They have each other, they have a place and in Lada we have a deeply disturbed and yet wonderfully described kick ass female character. I cannot even begin to guess where she will take us in the sequel book. I thought this was a well written book, a complicated plot explained well. However, particularly at it''s beginning and less so towards it''s climax the story didn''t ''flow''. It was more like reading a series of diary entrances rather than a plot. Incidents were described without the dots being particularly joined. I was pleased to note this diminished and ceased altogether as the book progressed. Almost as though the author planned to use all these incidents to establish the rationale of the major characters but wasn''t quite sure how to paste over the gaps between highlights, so decided not to bother and rushed onward toward the meet of the story. Did it matter? Hell no a great book was born. Can I ignore it? Well obviously personally I can''t hence 4/5 stars,
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Vic James
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Radu’s reluctant and all-consuming love for Mehmed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 18, 2016
THAT cover + THAT premise (genderswapped Vlad the Impaler) = my personal definition of irresistible. I didn''t even need to read the blurb, I was that desperate to get my hands on it Vlad is now Lada, the bold, ugly, daughter of the shifty voivode of Wallachia. This book...See more
THAT cover + THAT premise (genderswapped Vlad the Impaler) = my personal definition of irresistible. I didn''t even need to read the blurb, I was that desperate to get my hands on it Vlad is now Lada, the bold, ugly, daughter of the shifty voivode of Wallachia. This book (first in a trilogy) takes Lada and her little brother Radu – to whom history gave a kinder reputation and the nickname ‘the Handsome’ – from childhood in Sighisoara and Tirgoviste, to adolescence as political hostages in the Ottoman court, where they grow up alongside one of the Ottoman sultan’s sons, Mehmed. White has written a fabulous political thriller, with a side-helping of YA love-triangle served up absolutely fresh: Lada’s growing and suppressed attraction to Mehmed, his arrogant yet sincere affection for her, and breaking my heart all over the page, Radu’s reluctant and all-consuming love for Mehmed. It’s a gripping tale, and White doesn’t shirk the detail and intricacies of court and military life. The story propels you along – you pause only to admire delicious turns of phrase. When an ally is shot during an ambush, the victim ‘looked up at Radu, a half smile on his face as though the arrow were the end of the joke he had been in the middle of telling. And then he fell off his horse, tangling under the wheels of the supply wagon behind them.’ The book holds many more rewards, not least a wonderfully nuanced depiction of Islam, and a gorgeous little F/F romance glowingly illuminated in the margins. White brings to life not simply her protagonists, but their whole milieu. I loved Lada, Mehmet, Kumal and Nazira – and especially Radu – and can’t wait for the second in this series.
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Aleksander Cristea
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic retelling, great characters!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 31, 2016
All it took for me to become interested in And I Darken by Kiersten White was the fact that it was a retelling of Vlad the Impaler but with a girl being centre stage as the Impaler whilst her brother was the softer one. Now I’ll be honest in saying I expected at least some...See more
All it took for me to become interested in And I Darken by Kiersten White was the fact that it was a retelling of Vlad the Impaler but with a girl being centre stage as the Impaler whilst her brother was the softer one. Now I’ll be honest in saying I expected at least some elements of supernatural from this, probably because my brain can’t detach Vlad from his supernatural counterpart: Dracula. And I Darken has no such supernatural elements and is a historical retelling of the story. It was also bloody brilliant and definitely would make me consider reading more YA historical fiction. Lada and her brother Radu are the children of Dracul, head of Wallachia. They’ve lived all their young lives there, Lada doing everything she could to get her father’s approval and Radu doing what he could to stay out of the way of his bully of an older brother. But one day their father travels with them to meet the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire before proceeding to leave his children hostage there, to be raised in the foreign court. During their stay, they become friends with the Sultan’s son Mehmed and make friends with the Janissaries, the soldiers conscripted from a young age from all over the empire. Roughly the first third of the book takes place when they are all around the ages of ten to thirteen. I loved the book already by that point but some of those bits had me sitting there clinging to the book in terror of what might happen as these children were thrust into situations they seemed far too young to handle. But already it was impossible not to love Lada: not blessed with her mother’s pretty face, Lada makes me for what others see as lacking in sheer spirit and viciousness. And yet, despite how infuriating she can be—especially later on—I adored Lada. She is brave and unrelenting and uncompromising and so very strong. Meanwhile Radu is her softer counterpart, intelligent and quiet, he observes and learns to manoeuvre the court of their enemy with the efficiency his sister moves around a battlefield. The story is mostly one of political intrigue and romance with both Radu and Lada gravitating around Mehmed and learning to reconciliate—or not—their feelings for each other, the Sultan’s son, Islam, and the country they were forced to live in by their father. And I Darken is a story with heart. Each character is exquisitely crafted with all the contradictions that humans are made of, and become tangled in each other’s desires and needs. I loved the book from the start, there was something about how real everything felt, how much I could connect with the land and characters described that really whisked me away and into the story. But I truly fell in love with this story about a third of the way through, when we skip a few years to re-join Lada, Radu, and Mehmed when they’re older teens. That’s when the political intrigue also really kicks in and oh boy those were my favourite parts. White writes beautifully, capturing the essence of the time and places she describes, building characters in a few strokes of words so that everyone we so much as encounter at a glance has a story behind them. It is hard not to fall in love with the places she presents us in the book, all so alive with history and people. What meant most for me in And I Darken was the fact that Radu is gay. He is also one of the two main characters. And neither if he the only LGBTQ+ character in the pages of this book. There are other gay and lesbian characters that move around him. His storyline is both beautiful and heart breaking and was also very close to my heart. Warning: minor spoiler ahead but I have to gush about that scene. There is this one moment in which Radu sees his sister kissing Mehmed and that’s the cinching moment where he realises he is gay, something he hadn’t fully understood until that point, and was a little frightened of. The scene is from his point of view, that turning moment when his world turns upside down and he realises that he cannot have the man he loves. It is, for me, one of the most poignant scenes in the entire book. Why? Because I have been there. I, too, wasn’t exactly sure I was gay until the guy I happened to like at the time came back to where we were rooming together to tell me he’d kissed a girl who was a mutual friend whilst on the tube with her. The emotions White writes for Radu may as well have been mine on that day. It was so very powerful to find this in a book, to feel so strangely comforted in that my experience was not a lone thing. Spoiler over. I love that White included LGBT+ characters in her work even though we are very much in a historical setting with no supernatural elements. It was nice to see someone recognise that we have always been there, no matter how much people have tried to erase us out of history. And I Darken is a book I want to recommend to everyone. Even if you don’t read historical fiction, even if you usually, like me, favour things with magic and dragons and vampires, you should read this book. This story didn’t magic and vampires because the characters that inhabit it are too wonderful, too deep and interesting not to fall in love with. I adored Lada, but I must admit to be more than a little in love with sweet, lovely Radu. 5/5
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Sophie Barron-West
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Deliciously dark and heartbreaking in the best possible
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 7, 2019
I went into this book with no expectation, but I was blown away. This story is not fast paced, but boy does it take you on a journey. The character development is exquisitely executed, leaving you with a real understanding of the complexities behind each characters...See more
I went into this book with no expectation, but I was blown away. This story is not fast paced, but boy does it take you on a journey. The character development is exquisitely executed, leaving you with a real understanding of the complexities behind each characters decisions and motivations. The plot, whilst based on the historical accounts of Vlad the Impaler, has many twists and turns that will leave you wanting more. I savoured this book but the resorted to greedily devouring the second instalment in the trilogy, because it leaves to you so invested in the characters. Highly recommend.
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Flashy100
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Unique pacy and dramatic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2018
I wasn''t sure what to expect with this book, but downloaded it based on a goodreads review. Really glad I did. As the goodreads reviewer says, it has a feel of the fantasy novel because of a western perspective on history, there are no dragons or magic. Would definitely...See more
I wasn''t sure what to expect with this book, but downloaded it based on a goodreads review. Really glad I did. As the goodreads reviewer says, it has a feel of the fantasy novel because of a western perspective on history, there are no dragons or magic. Would definitely recommend if you like a pacy adventure with complex characters. My only observation were a couple of grammatical issues that made the author clearly from the US which wouldn''t have been apparent other wise as it was so well written. Didn''t detract from my enjoyment though. I''ll definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy.
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