“The last time she was up here, she had been… staring up at the sky and dreaming of stars. Now, she looked down and plotted flames.”
-Kiersten White, And I Darken
So, as you know there are three of us that run this blog. That being said we often disagree about some of the books we read. When this happens we do a dueling book review. Recently I read And I Darken by Kiersten White. Though Eden already wrote a review on it here I have some differing opinions I would like to share. So, it’s time for a duel.
You guys, I don’t even know where to start with this book. I have to start off by saying that I put off this book for a long time. I heard so many rave reviews about it that I was worried about reading it. A lot of times when books receive this much hype I am completely underwhelmed in the reading experience. That being said I enjoyed this book. However, it was not as life changing as I was told it would be.
This book has an amazing premise. Seriously, what is not to love about a genderbent Vlad the Impaler? I was obsessed with the idea of having this no holds barred antihero as our protagonist of this story. I was met with Lada who I really adored. For the whole first half of the book I couldn’t get enough of Lada. She was ballsy and unapologetic. She was everything I want in a main character. I love a strong female character. But, what I love even more than that is reading about a character who doesn’t have to feel justified in their actions.
Lada does what she does because it makes the most sense to her. There’s no apologies or need for justification. She is Lada and doesn’t care if anybody likes it or not. I loved that about her. What’s more, I loved her relationships with other characters in her life.
I especially adored her relationship with the Janissaries. The camaraderie and equality between Lada and these soldiers is everything I could ever hope for. Kiersten please write at least a novel with just Lada and her crew. I need it. I didn’t know I needed it. But, I need it.
That being said I had some issues which made me rate this book a 4 rather than a 5. First of all, Radu. That kid killed me. I really did not like reading from his point of view. I found him annoying and really unlikable. (And that says a lot considering some of my favorite characters) I’m hoping that with the next book we will get less whining from Radu and more character development.
Speaking of character development, I did not like the path that Lada took. I felt as though she took a million steps backward after meeting Mehmed. She was no longer the wily warrior that I loved. She became obsessed with Mehmed and that seemed to diminish her. Honestly, I think I would have preferred this book if I could get rid of Mehmed and the romance altogether.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I gave it a 4/5 stars on Goodreads.com I have high hopes for the next book. What I’m hoping I see more of in the next book is Lada kicking more ass and taking names.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?