Title: And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga, #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Publish Date: June 28, 2016
# of Pages: 475
(From Goodreads) 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, 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.
Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 10
Pace – 6
Plot Development – 7
Ending – 8
Characters – 9
Enjoyability – 7
Ease of Reading – 7
Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
And I Darken by Kiersten White is the first book in The Conqueror’s Saga . . . and what a way to start a series!
I’m really glad I finally picked up this book! It’s been on my TBR shelf for a while. It’s vivid in details, rich in character development, and delightful from the first page to the last.
The quality of writing in this book is out of this world. The author is gifted with the written word and paints a world that tingles all of your senses.
While I thought the pace of the book was on the slower side, I think it works for this book. And I Darken‘s strength is in the details and breadth of character development, which wouldn’t have been achieved with a break-neck pace.
The characters in this book are so, so good! The characters are complicated and multi-dimensional. There are no flat, dull characters in this book! Lada is my favorite character. Early on in life, she recognizes that boys get the most favor, so she spends her early childhood shaping herself to live the life of a male to get approval from her father. While she may have been trying to earn her father’s approval early on, this shapes her future. She’s no wilting flower and guards her heart with bricks and stone. She fights, bites, and speaks bluntly–the very opposite of what women were supposed to be during that time period.
Radu, Lada’s brother, is another character I enjoyed. I’ve read multiple reviews where people didn’t like Radu, but I found him fascinating. I didn’t think he was weak–I thought he was sensitive, and his sensitively allows him to be useful later on in the book. More than any other character, I think Radu changes the most from the start of the book to the end. He really comes into his own character and understands who he is and what he wants in life (even if he can’t have it!) I’m really curious about how his character continues to develop in the next book.
The plot development of the book was methodically planned. Each event serves to advance the storyline, shed light on a character, or make you think. Even something as simple as Radu walking on thin ice early on in the book has ripples throughout the rest of the story. I liked the complexity of the storyline and the web of lies and underhandedness.
I really enjoyed the ending of the book. It wasn’t a fairytale ending where the prince and princess ride off into the sunset–there’s heartbreak, unrest, unknowns, and a healthy dose of “girl power!” The ending makes me anxious to start reading the next book (which I already have on hold at the library!)
This book was such an enjoyable read. If you haven’t read this book already, you need to check it out!
Have you read And I Darken? What did you think about the characters in the book?
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