Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the ARC!
And I Darken was all I wanted it to be and more. It’s a deep, dark and unique alternate history novel, set in the Ottoman Empire of the 1400’s, just before the fall of Constantinople. Kiersten White takes Vlad the Impaler and replaces him with Lada, Princess of Wallachia.
Previously, I didn’t know much at all about this era in history, especially from an Eastern European perspective, so the setting of this book was so refreshing. It took facts from history and brought them to life with complex characters, political intrigue, wars, and intricate relationships.
I absolutely loved Lada as a heroine, and the way that Kiersten White slotted her into the history of Wallachia and the Ottoman empire was flawless. The secondary characters – especially Lada’s brother, Radu, and Mehmed, the sultan’s son, also added so much to the story and I think the third person narrative worked so well in this book, as it meant that these characters thoughts and feelings weren’t overlooked. The plot constantly kept me on the edge of my seat with its twists and sudden revelations, as well as the culturally relevant issues that it presents throughout, such as the way that Lada is constantly overlooked by everyone just because she is a woman.
And I Darken is definitely one of my favourite books of this year so far – I loved it so much that, despite having the ARC on my kindle, I had to order the hardback today – and the only negative thing I can say about it is that I almost wish I hadn’t read it so fast, as now I have to wait even longer for the sequel!