Historical Fiction, Reviews, YA Historical

ARC Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken

GoodReads Summary:

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.

My Review:

And I Darken was quite an interesting book for me. It is a retelling of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, or better know as, Vlad The Impaler. This story takes place in the mid 15th century when the Ottoman’s were trying to take Constantinople. It focuses on Lada (female version of Vlad), her brother Radu, and Mehmed- heir to the Ottoman Empire . It is a dual narrative, switching between Lada and Radu.

Lada Dragwlya is one of the strongest female characters I think I have ever read. She doesn’t take crap from anyone. She isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs and even tell the most power man in the world no. Her mind is a thing of it’s own. She is always calculating, planning, evaluating every situation, trying to figure the best way to get her agenda accomplished. She does everything in her power to show that she is equal to any man.

Radu Dragwlya is the opposite of his sister. Where she is night and terror, Radu is sun and calm. While he doesn’t start out as smart as Lada- by smart I mean calculating and conniving- through the teaching is Islam, his mentor, and watching the Ottoman Court, Radu learns to use his beauty and friendliness to develop relationships with the “right” people. Top use those relationships in the same way Lada uses strength and will.

I loved that And I Darken was more a setup for what is to come. In order to understand the end game the characters must be developed and complex.  White does an exemplary job with Lada, Radu, and Mehmed’s growth. They start out as children, barely understanding the world in which they live. But over the ten to fifteen year period the novel takes place, each character grows into their traits. And by the end, they each know their purpose in life and do what is necessary to fulfill it.

I also want to applaud White on her research and detail to Islamic religion. It is quite clear she went above and beyond to understand the religion and portray it in the most realistic way possible. Our society judges Islam as a terrorist religion when, in fact, that is an extreme view of it. White showed the other side, the peaceful side, the true side.

Knowing nothing about Vlad the Impaler, the Ottoman Empire, and Islam I truly enjoyed this book and what Keirsten White had to offer us. Definitely give this novel a try.

Rating: 4 out of  5

I’d like to thank Random House Children’s and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not sway my review.

Blog Signature

 

Advertisements
Historical Fiction, Reviews

Book Review: Imperium by Robert Harris

243607

In his “most accomplished work to date” (Los Angeles Times), master of historical fiction Robert Harris lures readers back in time to the compelling life of Roman Senator Marcus Cicero. The re-creation of a vanished biography written by his household slave and right-hand man, Tiro, Imperium follows Cicero’s extraordinary struggle to attain supreme power in Rome.

Goodreads Summary:

On a cold November morning, Tiro opens the door to find a terrified, bedraggled stranger begging for help. Once a Sicilian aristocrat, the man was robbed by the corrupt Roman governor, Verres, who is now trying to convict him under false pretenses and sentence him to a violent death. The man claims that only the great senator Marcus Cicero, one of Rome’s most ambitious lawyers and spellbinding orators, can bring him justice in a crooked society manipulated by the villainous governor. But for Cicero, it is a chance to prove himself worthy of absolute power. What follows is one of the most gripping courtroom dramas in history, and the beginning of a quest for political glory by a man who fought his way to the top using only his voice — defeating the most daunting figures in Roman history.

What I liked:

This book was a masterpiece. Robert Harris made history fascinating. I, a person whose worst subject in school was history, has fallen in love with historical fiction. This book made me cheer for Cicero from his meager beginnings to the moment he became a consul, a freaking consul. Cicero reached Imperium. The characters were really well built and executed throughout the book. It was a bit like reading a memoir. I think this book would be amazing as a movie. The world needs to see this on screen.

What I “disliked”:

This book is so brilliant that I cannot say one bad thing about it. I may be biased because it gives rhetoric and communication high importance, and I am about to obtain a BA in Communication Studies at the end of May. I guess the only thing I “disliked” was the difficulty I had with the names. Apart from Cicero and Tiro, the names are pretty abnormal for this time and age.

Rating: 5/5

Rating System:

1/5: I hated it

2/5: It had some redeeming qualities but overall, not a good book

3/5: I liked it (A fun read)

4/5: I really like it, but something was missing

5/5: I love it! It’s as close to perfection as it can get!