'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 15 August 2016

Review: And I Darken (The Conqueror's Trilogy #1)

Lada Dragwlya is the daughter of Vlad Dracul, the warlord prince of Wallachia. But she is most definitely not your average princess. Smart, cunning, vicious and with an instinctive awareness of how to wield power, Lada is everything her sweet-natured younger brother Radu is not. While Radu's smile can light up a room, drawing friends to him like a moth to a flame, Lada's barely controlled brutality makes her an isolated figure, always feared and often hated.

When Lada and Radu are abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman court, Lada's world is turned upside down. All her life she has longed only to please Vlad, to win his affection and admiration, to make him see that his daughter is actually the 'son' he always wanted. Now he has discarded her as a worthless pawn in a political game of chess. Lada realises that if she ever wants to rule Wallachia in her own right, she will have to fight everyone who stands in her path — including her family.

And then there is Mehmed. Son of the sultan, Mehmed is destined to one day rule the Ottoman empire. But he is also the best friend Lada and Radu have ever had — and both brother and sister long for him to be even more.

Loosely based on actual historical figures, this is a gripping adventure that sets a cracking pace from the opening chapter. The characters are finely crafted, their period in history is brought vividly to life, and the intricate web of love, deceit and betrayal that ensnares Mehmed, Lada and Radu is carefully spun. It's perhaps not a book for the squeamish — Lada's actions alone result in copious blood loss for many of those unlucky enough to encounter her! — but it's also not a gore fest. And Lada is by no means a one-dimensional bloodthirsty heroine; she's a complex, intriguing, engaging woman whom I look forward to meeting again in the next book in the trilogy.

Title: And I Darken (The Conqueror's Trilogy #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: Corgi Books, $19.99
Publication Date: July 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780552573740
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction