Just Not for Me | And I Darken by Kiersten White

Friday, July 07, 2017

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 6/28/16
Pages: 475
Source: purchased
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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.

Lada and Radu were born royalty of Wallachia. However, when their father gets into a bit of trouble with neighboring countries, he sells his children away to ensure a bargain. Lada and Radu only have each other. Navigating a world where they have to make their own futures, the two children set upon the task and find unexpected friends (and enemies) along the way. In this bold and dramatic story of Vlad the Impaler, And I Darken by Kiersten White will have you on the edge of your seat.

Gorgeous World Building

  • The tremendous amount of research done for this book is purely evident in its intricate world building. White avoids the major info dumping a lot of world building falls prey to. However, And I Darken is constantly adding new places and new people to the story. White does a fantastic job with weaving them in but it can get extremely overwhelming. What I didn't find until midway through, there is a glossary in the back of the book which definitely comes in handy when facing all the characters and settings
  • Unfortunately, the beginning dragged for me. It was building this new complicated world with all these characters and so much politics that really put me off from the start. It didn't pick up until after page 100. The beginning was just too much set up and too little plot to keep me interested.

High Expectations

  • I adored White’s Paranormalcy series so I had very high expectations for this new series. The book is set in Romania, at the height of the Ottoman Empire. It is the origin story of Vlad the Impaler. I’m not too familiar with that time period or Vlad the Impaler so much of the setting and plot line was extremely new to me. 
  • When I read the Paranormalcy series, I found the books to be hilarious, fun and light. I was expecting something similar in And I Darken. More specifically I was hoping to find White’s hilarious writing style and was greeted with absolutely none of her sass which I enjoyed in her other series. And I Darken is extremely dark (which I should have guessed, considering the title 😜). It, however, goes deep into the story reeking of politics and a coming of age story with unlikable characters. 

Unlikable Characters

  • Most of the characters, though in depth and layered, were unlikable. Lada, a girl who—we are reminded time and time again—is ugly has a rather brilliant mind but a feral mindset. Most of the time, I questioned, despite her intelligence in strategy and politics, if she was as crazy as she was feared. Radu was a bit more likable but was less developed than Lada. He seemed to be a polar opposite of her in every way which balanced the siblings out well.
  • There was such a large cast of characters, it was difficult to keep everyone straight. The glossary did help. I did like some of the side characters which made reading scenes with them that much more enjoyable. A lot of characters also brought on a slew of extra questions which most did not get answered. I can only hope that the questions will be answered in the next book, As I Rise.

The Upside

  • The writing is what had me turning pages, despite not warming up to the plot. The writing was beyond astounding. It was different from the hilarious voice used in Paranormalcy, yes, but without comparison, it was certainly gorgeous and riveting. White’s style in this book was very fluid, almost poetic.
  • The last 80 pages made the entire book worth reading. It was finally action packed, bringing all the non-ending discussions to a battle that I've been waiting for. It leaves the sequel entirely open for a new chapter. The ending wrapped everything up nicely into a bow.


And I Darken was, unfortunately, not the book for me. The beautiful writing paired with elaborate world building seamlessly carved a place inside my heart. However, the unlikable characters and endless talk of politics made it impossible to love. And I wanted to love this book. And I Darken by Kiersten White is a dark coming of age story that will have you checking over your shoulder at any sudden movements.

And I Darken (6/28/16): 2 stars
Now I Rise (6/27/17): TBA

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