2017 Reading Challenge Book 4 – And I Darken

Hi, Hey, Hello!

I am back at it again with the book reviews because currently I am escaping into the world that is books and they are proving a great reprieve. And also, for the most part reading and plotting something else is all I am actually doing besides going to work and binge watching things on Netflix/Amazon. So, yeah, book 4 is this beauty.

2017 Reading Challenge, Book 4, And I Darken
2017 Reading Challenge, Book 4, And I Darken

In a strange turn of events I am going to start by talking about the ending. We all know how I feel about them, they make me feel some kind of way. The final sentence of this book may be one of my favourite final lines ever. It was both conclusive but also leaves so much scope for a sequel. The sequel for which I am very excited for, although currently have no hope of owning (one because its only a pre-order right now because it has yet to be published and two because it classifies as buying a book and I’m banned (by myself) from doing that). I just liked the ending of this book very much a lot.

Moving on, I basically summed this book up by saying that it was about a badass princess, which is true. It is, but it is also so much more than that, but at the time that just happened to be all I knew about the book before I read it. However, it is basically a book told from two perspectives. Lada’s and Radu’s.

It was an unexpected element of the book, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I like that from the get go you can tell that these two characters are basically two sides of the same coin, one the slightly blurred, charred impulsive side, the other more calculating, shy and rational (there’s a 1995 Batman Forever reference in there somewhere). I liked that that never changed throughout the whole narrative. It was the one thing really that remained consistent. Lada wanted the throne, Radu did not. At all. Swinging back to that ending, it was all the more satisfying because of this.

The interplay between Radu and Lada was one of my favourite elements of the whole book. It exists solely on that fine line between love and hate. It’s fascinating how they both seek validation in their world but in totally different ways. Lada wants to prove that she is more than just a ‘weak girl’ and Radu wants to prove that he is worthy of Lada’s love. That then somehow gets all the messier when Mehmed gets involved and what both siblings feelings for him mean in the grander scheme of things.

The way that White weaves their stories together and how it all alters to the backdrop of the Ottoman court is brilliant. Seeing Lada continually confronted with a world and an element of power that she does not want because it is inherently linked to her femininity was a really interesting element of the book. Seeing her conflict with Mehmed’s mother and the women in the harem in general and how she is so resolute in her dislike for their apparent ‘weak’ status but also is forced to accept that on some level they hold the most power.

Lada herself is brutal. And I mean Brutal. She takes no prisoners and ultimately no shit, and although sometimes it was a bit too much you had to on some level have a massive amount of respect for the fact that she knew what she wanted and she was going to fight tooth and nail for it. And by the end, it seems that she has a version of it. Which was great, but my gosh was she brutal in getting there. I think I was as shocked as she was when she first killed someone but then once the dust had settled in kind of made sense. The rest of her progression from that point just seemed natural.

Radu on the other hand is more gentle. At some points he felt almost too gentle. Like he was just destined to be broken by the world around him. It was slightly frustrating because he was always in direct contrast to Lada and yet he always just seemed so…timid. I mean he had moments of strength and brilliance and it was definitely clear that he knew how to play the long game better than Lada did and that he was going get far. But there were times when I wanted him to be a bit more bite than tail between the legs. Although I definitely think that is coming in future books and I am so ready for it.

Mehmed was a weird for me. Obviously for the most part we only ever really see him through the lens of Lada and Radu and both of them love him in some way so he somehow remains an enigma. And I kind of liked that about him as a character, but then also in true me fashion I wanted to know more about him independently from the siblings. However I fully understand that part of the suspense created is because we only see him through the eyes of Lada and Radu.

It’s a historical fantasy book. I guess. Kind of. I use the term fantasy very loosely I think, I mean I wouldn’t consider it a fantasy personally. The genre that this is in actually doesn’t make that much difference though. It’s a book that hooks you from the get go and yeah, it’s confusing at points, but it is worth the investment of reading. The characters alone are enough of a pull to keep you involved and they help pull you through the points where it all gets a bit confusing.

As I said earlier, this is a book that I cannot wait to read the sequel to, but alas I will have to.

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

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Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

4 thoughts on “2017 Reading Challenge Book 4 – And I Darken

  1. […] 2) And I Darken – I fell in love with this book so hard and fast it was just so great. It’s kind of a genre that I don’t really tend to mess with as I try and avoid things that play too much with historical elements because that’s just not my thing. I dunno, a module at uni nearly 6 years ago really did history in for me and I just can’t cope with it or something. […]

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