Thursday, July 21, 2016

And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Release Date - June 28, 2016
Publisher Website - Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 484 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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. 
There are certain characters who break the mold of those that have come before. Those characters who go against the grain and what is typically expected. Kiersten White's Lada is one such character for many reasons. And I Darken, in many ways, also breaks the mold of what we expect from this genre and the events within it.

Women in Lada's time were meant to be seen and not heard. They were meant to be 'proper' ladies and wish to make good marriages. Lada would rather lead an army. Lada is vicious, ruthless, and intelligent. She has a keen eye for military strategy. She may be driven by the desire to prove her worth to her father, but her actions provide her pleasure as well. She is not interested in becoming a wife and mother. She sees her worth as residing elsewhere and strives to prove herself in a male dominated world. Lada's progression from dark to darker feels natural for her character, and Kiersten ensures that we know this character. We get inside her head and heart and she is one of the most fascinating, and well crafted characters I've come across this year.

Radu, and Mehmed are both equally compelling and fascinating. They are also both equally developed. Radu is the golden sun to Lada's wild shadow. He proves himself just as cunning, and just as intelligent as his sister but in vastly different ways. His skills are more subtle but equally as deadly. There is a stark contrast between the two siblings that manifests itself in many ways. Jealousy, bitterness, love and loyalty all get blurred and twisted. Mehmed is the beautiful boy who would be King. He has the weight of his kingdom on his shoulders, and the toll it takes on him is evident. He is a mess of contradictions that equates to a fascinsting character.

The 'toxic triangle' mentioned in the blurb should not put you off. This is not really a love triangle. At least not in the way we're used to them. If this is a triangle it is one that is open ended. This is unrequited feelings, and longing on one side, and passion and tension on the other. We have three people who love each other in various ways and that creates a complex web of perceived betrayal, desire, and heartbreak. There is also something unique in the typical triangle model of two guys and one girl being upended. We have one guy who is the object of desire and that creates a different dynamic.

You may have noticed I haven't said much about the plot of the novel. This is very much a character driven story where the action is secondary to the characters and their emotions. This is a slower paced read, and at times feels like a lengthy lead in to the heart of the story. It feels like a prologue simply because the events that happen within the pages mostly serve to set other things in motion. There are character driven moments that shine, but it feels like we've only scratched the surface of the plot. I wish the pacing was a little more even as certain parts of it read much slower than others.

A fierce main character who is driven by a desire to prove herself worthy dominates this story of politics, revenge, redemption, betrayal and love. Kiersten White has created an intriguing start to a series that I believe will fair better when looked at as a whole. If you're into well crafted characters, and slower paced reads this one definitely holds appeal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...