ARC Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

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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.

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★★★★★★(6 stars)

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I have received an advance readers copy of this novel from Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review.

“So the question becomes, Daughter of the Dragon, what will you sacrifice? What will you let be taken away so that you, too, can have power?”

Ladislav Dragwlya is born with the ferocity of the dragon and the face of a witch. She was never an asset to her father. Because for him, marrying her off to someone with great power is the only way for her to be useful. Until, Radu was born.

Radu Dragwlya is the exact opposite of Lada. He was born gentle and the handsomest among all men. But when their father sells them off to the Ottoman empire, both knew that their father, the prince of Wallachia, is the last person they want to return to.

Now that the game has started to play on them, both must learn how to adapt and survive in the empire’s culture and the future that awaits them.

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  • This book is simply amazing. For days, I have been struggling to review this thing! Honestly, I’m speechless. (Laughs) But anyways, when I came across this one on Buzz Books and I swear, the excerpt made me so curious that I have to request it on the spot. Lucky am I to have this book accepted.

  • The setting. Being set in the 15th century Ottoman empire, the author executed every fact and detail into something that is extraordinary. I for one, have never been able to study this empire in highschool but never the less, it is not an hindrance for me to understand and marvel at the wonders of this era.
  • The characters. This is the fun part. As I have said, I read the book without having any idea that the characters in this book existed in real life. Truth is, none of them were familiar to me except for Vlad, the impaler. In fact, he is the only person I knew in the whole book! Which is odd. (Laughs). Anyways, moving on, here are the main characters and their distinctive characteristics.

Ladislav Dragwlya

She is the female version of Vlad, the impaler. She is the most diverse character in the book and also the most interesting of them all. She is fierce but ugly. Not your normal female heroine.

Mehmed II

He is the heir to the throne of the Ottoman Empire and also, the love interest of Lada and weirdly, her enemy as well. Mehmed in the real history of the Ottoman Empire is branded as, The Conqueror  because of his conquest to Constantinople which is also known now as Istanbul.

Radu Dragwlya

He is the younger brother of Lada and her exact opposite. He is kind, gentle and handsome, but also, the most shocking character in the book. For those who have known him in history books, you know what I mean when I say shocking. But if you haven’t known him anywhere, surprise! (Laughs)

  • The novel is based on the true events that happened in history. Honestly speaking, I was shocked when I found this out. In inclination with real events, this book gives us a view of what really happened in history and at the same time, gives us the element of fiction rolling with the story.
  • Feminism. One of the things that I have read after reading the novel is a letter from the exclusive editor of Delacorte Press in the first part of the book, saying:

“Several years ago, Kiersten traveled through Romania. She climbed 1,300 steps to visit the remains of Vlad the Impaler’s mountain fortress. She bought a spoon, hand-carved with the wolf-headed serpent, symbol of ancient Wallachia. She walked through the capital’s ruins at Tirgoviste, where Vlad displayed 20,000 impaled Turkish corpses to welcome the invading Ottoman army.

Back home, Kiersten couldn’t stop thinking about Vlad. And then it hit her: What if Vlad had been Lada? What if this ruthless, justice-obsessed, pathologically nationalistic leader had been … a girl?”

After reading, I had this question rolling in my head. If Vlad really was a girl, what will she do to gain her power? Of course, women of their time wasn’t supposed to be equal with men. They have no power to overide them. So, I was extremely intrigued on how the author will elaborate the power of women in her series. In fact, some of Lada’s actions has been bold from the start.

  • Reading the book feels like watching a TV series. Yes! This book is like the series, Game of Thrones. It just so real. The way the author writes it makes the readers visualize the events without ever having any difficulty whatsoever.


It has been days since I read this novel and it still gives me that fangirl feeling whenever I go. Well, for a history lover as myself, And I Darken is a jewel. Maybe one of the reasons for the 6 star rating.

As you have noticed, this is the only novel that makes me defy my own book rating system by which I rate them from 1 to 5. As you have also noticed, there are so much of this book that I liked that 5 stars never seemed enough.

This book really brought YA fuction into a whole new level making it an excelent novel to read not just for history geeks and Game of Thrones fans but also for those book nerds who are hungry for a very diverse read.

I personally love this book to the core and I am very excited to read the next book of the series soon. Well, I do hope everyone check this book out on it’s release day, June 28. It will be a great experience and that is a promise!

Till my next review guys!

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16 thoughts on “ARC Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

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