And I Darken

Kiersten White

Shelfie Score: 65%

Likeminded Reader Score: Login

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 496


The New York Times Bestseller! “Absolutely riveting.” —Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Passenger This vividly rendered novel reads like HBO’s Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story’s atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters and a fearsome heroine. Fans of Victoria Aveyard’s THE RED QUEEN, Kristin Cashore’s GRA...

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4.7/5 stars.... THE ENDING!!!! MY HEART HURTS!!!

Plot: 4/5 - And I Darken is NOT a fantasy book- I don't know why it's labelled as one- but a historical reimagining with our main character, Lada, being the female version of Vlad the Impaler. This first book begins with her birth and continues until she is about 16? 17? Some of the chapters have years on them but I'm too lazy to do the math right now. Anyways, the concept is fantastic. The plot is rife with politics and warfare and family drama. The loss of one star here is because the romance plots were FRUSTRATING BEYOND BELIEF. I'll talk about this more when I get into characters, but I think there were some huge missed opportunities. HOWEVER.... after reading these books and then scouring the Wikipedia pages for these historical figures, I'm blown away by how much research Kiersten White did and how accurate she stayed to history in many ways. Brava.

Characters: 4.5/5 - Oh.. my children...

First off, I have to talk about Lada. Now I have a penchant for loving the purest, sweetest little jellybean characters. From what I knew going into this book, I assumed that her brother Radu would be my favorite and that I'd just have to put up with Lada. But this girl snuck up on me!!! I love her!!!!! Lada is unapologetically selfish and strategic. She gets what she wants through physical force, or threat of it. She fights every single day to live how she wants to live and to be herself, and I love her for it. Her fierce protectiveness of Radu gave me life. Best of all Lada refused to let anyone else make choices for her, and I loved watching her grow from a troublesome child to a young woman who was shaping her own identity.

Then of course we have my darling boy Radu, the aforementioned jellybean. He is a beautiful cinnamon roll, too good for this world, too pure. Like Lada, I really enjoyed watching him grow up, because he grew savvier without losing his sweetness, which makes me SO HAPPY. Honestly, Radu just wants to be loved and he is so deserving of love and I'm sad for him on the daily.

The next most important character is Mehmed. He is the son of the sultan of the Ottoman Empire and, as a kid, I liked him a lot! My issues with Mehmed are not against him as a person/character but rather how his presence/actions messes with the characters I love. It's hard to explain without spoilers, but I'll keep it at this: double standards everywhere.

There are many many minor characters I could also discuss but the only one that matters and who is getting a spotlight is Nicolae, a Janissary originally from Wallachia who is Lada's close friend and fellow solider. I love him to pieces.

Pacing: 5/5 - I was super addicted to this book, okay? I think it covered a large enough span of time to be interesting but not too many years too overwhelm the reader.

Writing: 5/5 - Love the writing. There were so many beautiful lines, mostly about Lada, but I'm especially partial to "His eyes were bright enough to light gunpowder without a flame." So lovely. I think the dialogue and narrative were equally strong, and I loved that White was able to incorporate so much cultural and historical vocabulary without overcomplicating things. There was a glossary in the back of the book but I only needed to refer to it once.

Enjoyment: 5/5 - Um yeah I freaking loved it, have I not made this clear? I read a copy from my local library and the day after finishing ordered this and the sequel off of amazon because I needed to have them for myself and know what happens next. Lada and Radu must be protected at all costs.


Bookaxe Characteristics for And I Darken

Character and Plot:

Characters in depth

Fast-paced plot

Language and Style:

Straight to the point

Language and style central

New Information:

Pure entertainment

Introduces you to new ideas


Explores the darker side of life
Light-hearted and optimistic


No swearing or violence etc
Frequent swearing and violence etc

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