My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What if I told you that I almost put this book aside to read later, because it was starting to bore me?
I am so glad I didn’t, because this this book was definitely intriguing!!
This is the story of Lada Dragwlya, daughter of Vlad Dracul (yes, that Vlad Dracul), prince of Wallachia, and sister of Radu, a kind – but unfortunately weak – boy. When Lada and her brother are used as bartering pieces in order to ensure that the Ottomans allow Dracul to continue to rule Wallachia, Lada decides to use her own strengths in order to find a way home. But it’s when Lada and Radu meet Mehmed (son of the sultan of the Ottoman empire) that Lada begins to question her fight to get home, and for Radu, his need to earn his sister’s love and respect, when he has finally found a place to call home.
As I said before, I am so glad I continued with this book! Lada was very different from the typical YA heroine (if you can really even call her that…) and that made her so much more interesting to read about!
No one expects a princess to be brutal.
That line is what best describes Lada. She is brutal, willing to use violence as a means to show how powerful she is. She does not care about being liked, nor is she touted as a beauty (she’s described as ugly a few times throughout this book), but she is someone who would rather garner respect. Having respect and fear for her is much more important than having people love her. She is a beast, but she is an amazing one.
Radu was a great secondary character in his ability to balance out Lada’s rough edges. He’s kind and described as beautiful. His ability to listen and compliment others tend to work to his advantage (and Lada’s) when the occasion calls for it. He loves his sister, though more often than not she’s completely horrible towards him, and would do anything to get her respect. That is, until Mehmed comes along…
Mehmed is also shown to be kind and considerate, but for whatever reason, he can’t help but be mesmerized by Lada. I was so interested in his interactions with her and did enjoy the camaraderie that developed between himself, Lada, and Radu.
I loved reading about a time in history when empires ruled supreme, and each fought to be the ruler of them all. This was such a fascinating time period for the author to have chosen to write about, and I can’t say that I remember ever reading anything similar in the YA world.
Overall, And I Darken is such a compelling read with tons of excitement throughout. The characters keep you on your toes (especially Lada) because you never know what they’re going to choose to do in any given situation!
I’m definitely looking forward to reading book 2 and I can’t wait to see how the cliffhanger on this book plays out!!!