Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: June 28th, 2016
Recieved: Signed copy from a Giveaway!
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.
This book is not at all what I expected it to be. I thought there would be some violence, I got violence. I thought there was going to be some cool adventures, this was some political, assasination, court intrigue of epicness! What floored me was the complexity and the family drama with some fabulous inputs of humor and complete happy moments. Every piece of plot balanced on top of each other and weighted our two amazing main characters and put them under stress and I loved it!
I loved going through and living inside of their childhood for such a long time. Seeing them grow made me fall in love with the sibling pair all the more and at the same time, made my heart break for both for so many different reasons.
Let’s talk about Lada first. Ferocious, ugly, amazing Lada. I had a hard time picturing her ugly though, to me she was simply a really cool person that isn’t afraid to literally take your eyes out if need be. I loved her point of view! Her caring lives deep, deep, deep, deep, deep inside of her, almost to the point where it is impossible for an outsider to tell how much she cares. She has such an incredible protective instinct, even if her protection can be physically and possibly mentally painful to have. No one could ever cause her harm without enduring her wrath ten-fold and it was so cool to see her be simply who she was at all times.
Then there is Radu. Sad, fluff ball, emotional Radu. He is someone that you always want to protect. However, there is a dark side to him too. A side that I don’t really hear anyone in the Bookish community talk about, because as he gets older and plays his own part in the Ottomen empire he makes some decisions and deceptions that made my eyebrows raise. That is the kinda dark streek that really tied him to being Lada’s sister and a Dracul (though he himself would forever deny it). I was really sad when I found out that he had his eyes set on Mehmed. Not just because I preferred Mehmed’s and Lada’s relationship, but because I really wanted him to find real happiness with another man, and Mehmed and Radu simply don’t work as a pair for me. (Actually now that I think about it Lada and Mehmed as a pair while lovely in the short term did not work for me that well either). I really wish Radu would give other men a chance, but his self-imposed torment will continue breaking my heart for a very long time.
Another really lovely thing about this book is how authentic to the time it reads (at least for me) I really felt I was there and experiencing a real account of the terrible times they were. The empires are brutal and all the usage of the names, titles, and description of places made me feel like I was there. I’m so curious about how much research went into the writing of this story. I’m absolutely fascinated.
Overall this book was terrible in the best way. Terrible in the way it rips out the heart and tears your emotions into pieces and fixes it only to rip them to pieces again. I’m so excited to be reading Now I Rise right after this review is over. This book is amazing. If you haven’t read it yet, do so as soon as you can. I recommend it with all my heart (or really what’s left of it).
Thanks for reading! If you have read And I Darken, please have a chat with me on the comments about it. I’m dying to discuss this book more.
-Till next time!