2018 Reading Challenge, Book 31 – Bright We Burn

Hi, Hey, Hello!

And so here we are with the final book of this series and my god was this was a book and a half.

Let’s start with the ending, which by the time I got to I had totally forgotten that on some level this book is based in history. Which means that basically the ending is a forgone conclusion to some degree. So on the one hand I was disappointed with the ending, but I think it might have just been mostly because it didn’t come from Lada…which makes no real sense because why it, she’s dead. But I dunno, something about it while satisfying also left me feeling some kind of way, maybe it’s just because her death was like a footnote when it felt like it should have been a hoo-ha, but then also that was never going to happen. I don’t know, the ending left me feeling confused and I’ve still not quite processed what I felt about it.

I loved the book though.

My god did I love this book.

The drama, the politics, the tension.

Seriously this book stressed me out and to be honest I was worried for the health/life of a  lot of my faves. There was a very long period of time when I was convinced that Cyprian was going to be a goner and the way that made me feel. I just wanted Radu to be happy. I never would have seen that coming, but the character development on Radu has just been insane. Like I mentioned yesterday, Radu is playing this game. And he is playing it well. There was that one moment when he was finally confronting Lada where it became really apparent that he knew how to beat Lada and hurt the most. And in doing so also hurt me. Don’t get me wrong I saw the moment coming just before it happened because Lada looked like she was going to get a nice thing and that just doesn’t work here. But still it felt like a wound was ripped into my reading soul.

Radu played this game to win and by the end it felt like he kind of did on some level. He seemed to be the one who had the most growth of all the characters. He was so focused on pleasing others and was so conflicted as to who’s side he should be on between Mehmed and Lada that to see him finally take control of his own situation and ultimately pick himself and his happiness was so satisfying to see unfurl. I just really appreciated the journey that Radu went on.

Same goes for Lada. She somehow got even more brutal. Sometimes the kind of brutal that was almost hard to read. I kind of loved it. And then also hated her for it. She is the most brilliant anti-heroine. And I really mean it when I say anti. She’s almost unapologetic, she’s ruthless, she’s really into making statements and yet she continues to have these weak pockets that can be used against her. She’s all about the power and that is where the difference between her and her brother is. And yet they so deeply care for each other and it’s all just so heartbreaking. Real talk, I honestly almost forgot that Mehmed was even such a key character in the first one, it was just all about these two siblings.

I could honestly keep going on and on about all the characters, there are so many that I’ve not mentioned. Nicolae, Bogdan, Nazira. All of them have really messed with me in some way. Their relationships with Radu and Lada were fundamental to the way that those two characters moved through the whole damn series.

The plot itself was epic. It was somehow slow and yet fast. It really takes you on a ride where the stakes feel high for one party and less so for the other. Where these two characters and the journey that they’ve been on are somehow the same yet different. This series is so character driven and these characters have come so far and have been written so beautifully that I kind of cannot put into words just how much I loved it.

I think the thing that bummed me out the most about the ending was the fact that it was over. And that I had to leave these characters behind because come the end I loved Lada and Radu so much that I didn’t want to leave them. And it ended with one of them dead, which was the way it was always going to go but still. I hoped. But Radu got a nice thing so it wasn’t all bad (seriously Chapter 36 made me feel legit giddy).

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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Sophie

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.

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