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.
AND I DARKEN is one of the most high-intensity, compelling reads of 2016. Each page brings new intrigue and action, all the while remaining entirely readable. It's bolstered by two main characters that, although entirely different, completely slay the story and were the main factor in pulling me deep into this book.
I don't normally read historical fiction, I won't try to hide that fact even a little bit. History has always been my worst and most hated subject. The reason I initially took an interest in And I Darken is because I read that it was a fantasy novel. If we’re being completely honest, it's totally historical fiction. And as a non-lover of the genre, I think my love of this story is a testament to just how well it’s written. It’s highly engaging and well-balanced, with just the right amounts of action, description, dialogue, and character building.
And the characters! Oh, these characters. From the beginning of the book, I latched onto both Lada and Radu with rapt attention. My love for reading about them grew with every chapter and I didn't want to stop. Both are fleshed out so well. Being able to see inside their heads to their motivations and fears is really what made And I Darken go from great to incredible.
AND I DARKEN has easily been one of my favorite reads of the year. I eagerly, eagerly await the next installment in this fantastic series, and only hope that it can be as good as this one.