Series: The Conqueror’s Saga #1
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA
Length: 484 pages
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Personal Rating: 3/5 stars
Lahko to knjigo najdem v slovenščini? Noup
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.
Spoilery Review by Yours Truly
She plucked a rose and held it to her face. She hated the way roses smelled, their sweetness too fragile. She wanted a garden of evergreens. A garden of stones. A garden of swords.
I expected And I Darken to be more brutal, more bloody, more … well, more. We never discussed Vlad the Impaler in school but from what I know about him, he wasn’t a nice dude, certainly not nice when it came to killing people. So when there was a lot of mercifulness in this one, I did not like it. There was a lot of talk and discussions about war and political issues, but we never actually got to see the actual battles and the political talks sometimes confused and also bored me. There were like 759032 names and 279615 titles and I literally have a memory of a gold-fish so sometimes it was hard reading, not even knowing whom they were fighting/killing/threatening (or you know, talking). Thank God for the guide at the end. But there was also diversity which I absolutely loved. Different setting, different religions, LGBT? I’m there. I also did not expect Ilyas to be the traitor, I always thought Kumal was on to something. So great plot twist!
Her spine was steel. Her heart was armor. Her eyes were fire.
I absolutely loved Lada when she was younger. Just the first pages of her made me love her the most. Mean children scare the poop outta me. I can say she was in some way brutal, always answering with violence. She had a goal – Wallachia – and she would do anything for it. But do you know that The Mortal Instruments quote, ‘to love is to destroy’? Yeah, this is what happened when she met Mehmed. Although she was still fierce and she fought as any man would and got to the point of leading the Janissaries, Mehmed an his safety became her weakness. Yes, she picked herself over Mehmed at the end but she could’ve fled and go to Wallachia a long time ago, but she stayed behind for him. Ugh. I admit, I’d like that if the guy wasn’t Mehmed, oh, I don’t know, maybe Radu? Or Bogdan? Despite what I said, she is definitely the best part of the entire book.
And so she cut out her heart and offered it as a sacrifice. She would pay whatever price her mother Wallachia demanded.
”Make me prince,” she said without feeling.
Love triangles can fluff a book up, but poop is going down(er?) if there are siblings involved. And, well, if you don’t like two of the three involved in the triangle.
Love was a plague.
I didn’t like Radu from the very beginning. He was boring, a mamma’s boy (or nurse’s boy, I guess?) and he cried a lot. And when he grew up, one would expect him to change and finally stop crying. Spoiler alert, he didn’t. I was always on Lada’s side when they were fighting so when he chose Mehmed over her I fluffing lost it. I loved how he and Lada still had a strong bond after all those years of Lada bullying him. But when it came to choosing he himself knew how much Radu meant to Lada, knew that he was the only person in Lada’s life for a long-ass time that she loved and cared for in her own special way and he chose a boy for whom he knew he’ll never get the same love and care from as he would from Lada. Idiot. Okay, maybe I’m a little bit too harsh on him, Lada was really bad at expressing her feelings towrads Radu and he did deserve better and Mehmed was in some way better – even though I hate the guy -, but still, I’m mad. But as much as I was mad at him after this decision, I actually felt sad for him when he was realising he was in love with Mehmed because Mehmed doesn’t deserve Radu. Ah, poor Radu. He just needs another man who, well, isn’t Mehmed. He deserves happiness
You can clearly see that I did not like Mehmed. Not once did I though of him as a cool dude. He was in Lada’s way and he made her (feel) weak, in Radu’s way and made him make wrong decisions, in Lada and Radu’s relationship’s way and made them hate each other. Okay, maybe it isn’t only his fault but Lada’s and Radu’s aswell but I don’t like to blame Lada and Radu is way better then Mehmed, so in my head, it is all Mehmed’s fault. Basically I want him killed off. (harsh much?)
I was just thinking about upgrading my progress on Goodreads with a ‘where the fluff is Bogdan???’ with only 50+ pages left when the guy showed up. Coincidences such as these scare me, I feel like I live at 300 Fox Way. But I was so happy I literally squealed like a little girl. I’m not even a little bit ashamed. I don’t even know why I was suddenly so hopeful he would come back. Maybe I thought he would replace Mehmed. Maybe I wished Lada would be totally okay with that. Maybe I secretly shipped him with Lada from the very beginning. But sadly, we didn’t get much of him afterwards. Rude. Yeah, okay, Bogdan and Lada’s joyful reunion and he was happy to see her, she was happy to see him and they hugged blah blah blah but then he was just there, literally doing nothing, Lada never seeing any emotions on his face. Ummm, okay…? Hope to see more of him in the next books.
I usually don’t grab for historical fiction. I’m working on that, dontcha worry. But I thought this was a fantasy book and that is, safe to say, my favorite genre. Ummm, it’s not fantasy? At all?
And I got through it without putting it down and picking another book up as I do with other historical books? Who else is proud of me? I’m saying this because rating And I Darken is a confusing progress to me. I often write more hate than praise in my reviews and then give the book 4 stars. I don’t get me either. And from what I’ve written above it seems like I hated every second of it. I actually enjoyed it, I really did. I don’t know why or how but when I’m reading a book, I just let it consume me and I don’t think of reviewing the book. I still have opinions, of course, but my inner true reviewer comes to life when I actually open WordPress and start writing things down. Still with me? No? Me neither. So while reading And I Darken, I let it grip me, let it trick me into thinking I’m a part of the story and it didn’t let me go until I finished it in retun. In other words: I enjoyed it very much. Even the drama.
Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.
Fun fact: the artist who did the wonderful work on the paprback edition is the same artist who also did the work on Throne of Glass books. I’m telling you this because I know you need this information in order to survive. 😀 😀 😀
To sum up: