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And I Darken Hardcover – June 28, 2016
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—The first in a trilogy from best-selling author White, this historical adventure set in the mid-15th century tells the story of Lada and Radu, the children of Vlad Dracul, prince of Wallachia (modern-day Romania). Shouldered with the inescapable curse of being female and the unrelenting burden of her beautiful, sensitive, and physically inept brother, Radu, Lada is perpetually spoiling for a fight. When her father tries to secure his throne by giving the children as hostages to the Ottoman Empire, Lada and Radu must find a way to survive and thrive in a world where no one cares if they live or die. They befriend the young Ottoman heir Mehmet, and the three form a bond of friendship that saves their lives and ultimately shapes their adult destinies. Full of sword fights, assassination plots, and palace intrigues, this novel is ambitious in scope and concept and reveals a fascinating, important, and somewhat obscure slice of history. Compared to White's painstaking development of her characters and the fantastic world they inhabit early in the novel, the ending sequence that sets up the next book in the series seems rather abrupt and haphazard. However, as a whole, the novel is breathtakingly good. The brutality and carnality of this time and place in history are faithfully rendered here, making the volume more appropriate for older teen readers. VERDICT Highly recommended for all high school collections.—Kelly Kingrey-Edwards, Blinn Junior College, Brenham, TXYA Graphic Novels
“A dark jewel of a story, one that gleams with fierce, cunning characters—absolutely riveting.” —Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Passenger
“Kiersten White at her absolute best. The epic story will thrill you, the Transylvanian setting will transport you, and the characters (especially the fierce, take-no-prisoners Lada) will capture your heart. Don’t miss it.” —Cynthia Hand, New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly series
“Sweeping and epic, AND I DARKEN is a gender-bent take on history that gives us a fierce and brutal heroine, a fascinating time period, and a beautifully intelligent look at love, family, and power. I loved every twisty, bloody moment of it!” —Rachel Hawkins, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“As richly complex and glittering as the Ottoman Empire itself, AND I DARKEN is daring in its scope and brilliantly executed. The fiercely dark Lada is a razor-edged sword tempered in the blood of family betrayals and the fire of her own passions. I was instantly and utterly smitten. She haunted me long after I turned the final page and left me craving more.” —Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin series
“A jewel of a book—a jewel embedded in the hilt of a blood-soaked sword. A brilliantly envisioned alternate history that is meticulously detailed but compulsively readable, this is a story I could not put down. I demand the sequel like Lada demands Wallachia!” —Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe series
"An intense, risky, passionate novel that dragged me through love and danger with the force of its heroine’s heart and the power of its hero’s faith.” —Tessa Gratton, author of the Gods of New Asgard series
“Girls with teeth and priorities. I want to read this book forever.” —E. K. Johnston, author of A Thousand Nights
★ "Full of sword fights, assassination plots, and palace intrigues, this novel is ambitious in scope and concept and reveals a fascinating, important, and somewhat obscure slice of history…the novel is breathtakingly good.” —School Library Journal starred review
★ "White deftly weaves historical fact into this complex concoction of love, war, politics, homosexuality, religion, loyalty, and friendship." —Booklist starred review
"White excels at presenting an anti-hero who contrasts conventional female heroines. Readers expecting a typical love triangle tale will be surprised, for Lada’s characterization is executed in a far-from-stereotypical manner as White challenges femininity and explores the types of power women can wield. White also succeeds in crafting an accessible setting that brings complex historical figures to life."--VOYA
Praise for Kiersten White’s novels:
“A fast, flirty roller coaster of a ride. I’m in love!” —Becca Fitzpatrick, New York Times bestselling author of Hush, Hush
“The perfect blend of light and dark. I can’t wait for more!” —Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of Daughter of Deep Silence
★ “A tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
★ “Brilliant.” —The Bulletin, Starred
“An exciting gem.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black
“Sharp, heart-wrenching, and fabulously fun.”— Laini Taylor, bestselling author of the National Book Award Finalist Lips Touch: Three Times and Daughter of Smoke and Bone
The Chaos of Stars:
“Eloquent in its mixing of Egyptology with the experience of being a teenager . . . the character development, action-packed climax, intriguing family dynamics, and heartfelt romance will draw in fans.” —VOYA
Illusions of Fate:
“An absolute delight—a magical, sparkling, dangerous world with witty repartee and a romance that will light your heart on fire. Kiersten White’s best yet.” —Stephanie Perkins, internationally bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss
“This well-written historical fantasy has romance, suspense, a fairy-tale feel, and a great ending that will leave readers cheering.” —SLJ
“Deliciously original in its intriguing plot and irresistible characters. ILLUSIONS OF FATE may be filled with spells, but it’s Kiersten White who is truly magic.” —Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade series
In the Shadows:
★ “An enthralling, page-turning gothic mystery infused with hair-raising horror.”—Booklist, Starred
Top customer reviews
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This book was long. So long. Almost 500 pages. And you feel it. Fast paced? Not so much. This isn't a light paranormal YA that it might first appear to be. It is more along the lines of a dense historical, political drama. It probably took me six times longer to read it than other books of the same length because it dragged. Year pass, politics happen, and events unfold in slow motion. I thought that it was going to be incredibly gory as well. It is a Dracula retelling. There is violence but most of it is implied, and even the scenes of torture have a dispassionate tone that robs them of their horror.
I am a bit torn about Lada. I love that streak of vicious practicality. There are very few female characters who break things down the way that she does. She finds her ultimate long-term goal and is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to get to it. Deliberately. The betrayals and deaths aren't accidents that just happen to come about. She carefully plans them to meet her own ends needs. She is a bit like the proverbial wolf gnawing away at a leg to get free of a trap. The loss of the limb is painful and might cause the animal to bleed out, but all they see is the ultimate goal.
When reading a character like this, it is impossible to get away from "likability". Yes, that old foe of powerful women raises its head yet again. Lada is unlikable. There, I said it. I wouldn't want to be her friend, and she flirts along the edge of being an antihero. She isn't sympathetic. I don't care. Whatever she did, I found understandable, and I wanted her to succeed. I mean, I also want to get her some therapy because she is emotionally constipated, but that is just the teacher in me.
I love Radu. Radu was likable. In fact, he is so likable that Radu liking Lada in the early parts of the book is one of the few reasons for liking Lada. Radu uses this as his weapon. The ability to make other trust and love him becomes a blade in his hand. He used it to get what he needs. Information, influence, and loyalty. In his way, he is just as ruthless and cold-blooded as Lada. For example, at the beginning of the book, he is bullied and manages to get revenge after months of planning using a servant boy whom he befriends to manipulate. It turned out well for the serving boy, but Radu still manipulates him. I liked this because I think that often people who are soft and lovable do this unconsciously. We all use the tools we have available.
If you like historical fiction, antiheroes, and a unique setting then And I Darken should go on your TBR right this minute.
Lada and Radu are the children of Vlad Dragwlya, a contender for Worst Father Ever. He gives his children to the Sultan in exchange for securing his homeland's borders, and so the kids grow up under the fragile protection of their one friend, Mehmed, the sultan's third son.
While Lada is Arya Stark in season five of Game of Thrones, Radu is the softer-hearted sibling. Still, it's not a case of Lada = bad and Radu = good; they both make terrible choices. You are cheering them on one minute and facepalm'ing the next. Radu has converted to Islam and made the palace his home while Lada dreams of returning to Wallachia. Both of them are devoted to Mehmed, but at a cost.
This world is entirely fascinating, one of ever-expanding empire and political intrigue. It's a world where women have to learn how to survive, even if it means sacrificing their freedom or desires; the politics of the harem were fascinating!
I can't wait until next June when the sequel comes out. Just how dark will Lada become in her evolution into Vlad the Impaler?
Lada and her younger brother, Radu, form a fascinating gender-reversal pair. Lada has all the characteristics that would be admired in a man: physical strength and skill, fascination with military matters, leadership ability, and a singlemindedness that shades into ruthlessness. Radu, conversely, is physically weak but very attractive in an effeminate sort of way, peace-loving, and adept at skills that have often helped traditional women: getting people to like and trust him, and using the fact that people pay him no attention to allow himself to eavesdrop on key conversations.
Lada and Radu grow up, not in Wallachia, but in the Ottoman Sultan’s court, where their father is forced to leave them there as hostages for his continued loyalty to the empire. There they meet Mehmed, the youngest and least favored of Sultan Murad’s sons, and the three become close—very close—friends. The story centers on the conflicting tides of emotion that surge among the three as they go through adolescence together, complicated by the equally complex political machinations in which Mehmed, and to a lesser extent Lada and Radu as well, becomes increasingly embedded.
The book is a fascinating three-way character study—and a study of the different forms love can take and the damage that can occur when those loves conflict with one another. I greatly look forward to reading the sequel.
Most recent customer reviews
I absolutely adored and hated all of the characters in this book because the author developed...Read more