Friday, June 10, 2016

Feature Friday ARC Review : And I Darken by Kiersten White

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to feature YA books that have not yet been released by reviewing them.*
*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Delacorte Press

Release DateJune 28, 2016
Pages: 496
Source: ARC

The Story:

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. Fans of Victoria Aveyard’s THE RED QUEEN, Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won’t want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in a trilogy.

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.
via Amazon


One-word Review ENTICING

Reading Tune Castle by Halsey

Tag Line:

Terrified pawns. Privileged captives. Desperate rivals. 

Opening Line:

Vlad Dracul's heavy brow descended like a storm when the doctor informed him that his wife had given birth to a girl.

My Review


And I Darken started with a bang! The story had bite. Dark and tantalizing, I was so sure I would love the story and rate it 4 Enchanted Roses.

At the beginning, the pacing And I Darken was in harmony with the flow of the story. But then the earlier years of Lada -- and her younger brother, Radu -- dragged on. To the point, I had to stop reading for a bit and try to figure out if And I Darken was a Middle Grade book or Young Adult. The story read like a Middle Grade -- not in the watered-down way but still. On top of that, there was not enough "bang for my buck" elements to hold strong. 

Where was the fierceness that drew me in the first chapter? The passion? The romance? Where was the progression of the story? 

For 200+ pages the story circled around the same plot bits over and over. Radu, the weakling, Lada, the caged lioness and Mehmed, the sultan-to-be with a heart of gold and pocket full of secrets. So, my rating went from 4 Enchanted Roses to 3 Enchanted Roses. Furthermore, White's writing had a strong opening, the historical aspect seemed well-versed and intricate as was the world-building.

All in all, while And I Darken fell short for me, I still think it is worth a try. 

Character Breakdown:

Lada Dragwlya 
Lada was a badass since she popped out of her mother's womb. And so fiercely protective of her brother, he didn't even realize how much.

Lada spoke with a quiet, clear voice, and the room hushed in surprise. No one expected a girl to speak. She was probably not allowed to. Radu knew Lada would not care either way. "On our wedding night," she said, "I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied." -- page 101

Dragwlya - The runt of the litter who could charm even the sultan with a bright smile and delicate cunning words.

The baby started to cry, a weak, garbled sound that worried the nurse. Lada's scowl deepened. She slapped a dimpled hand over his mouth. The nurse pulled him away quickly and Lada looked up, face contorted in rage.
"Mine!" she shouted
It was her first word.
The nurse laughed, shocked, and lowered the baby once more. Lada glared at him until he stopped crying. Then, apparently satisfied, he toddled out of the room. -- pages 3-4

Mehmed - To be honest, Mehmed's character was bland to me. The siblings were both in love with him ... but I felt nothing for him. On a positive note, he was not a douche-bag like the other royal figures.

Meet the Author:

Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, the Mind Games series, The Chaos of Stars, Illusions of Fate, In the Shadows with artist Jim Di Bartolo, and the upcoming And I Darken. Kiersten lives with her family in San Diego, California. Visit her at

***Check out Kiersten White's website for more information about her and And I DarkenHERE

Happy Reading!


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