Thursday, 5 January 2017

And I Darken by Kiersten White

'Fantasy' is not necessarily the best description of this book. It is more like an ‘alternative history” (or maybe a gender swapped historical fiction), set in Transylvania at the height of the Ottoman Empire. It is imaginative, it is political, and it is brutal.

What if Vlad the Impaler was a young woman?

Lada is an amazing lead character. She is strong, and passionate, and kind of psychotic. She has grown up hating the fact that she was not born a man. She has spent her life being told that her brothers will get power, lead armies, and rule over the Kingdom, while her only purpose is to get married to someone who would be a strong ally. But she wants what her brothers have. She wants the power and position that would have been passed to her on a silver platter if she had been born a boy. She works harder than any soldier in the Ottoman army just to be considered a fighter, while her younger brother (who is called Radu the Handsome, is very effeminate, and has no battle skills) gets handed his own troop of soldiers to lead. While Lada makes a huge amount of bad choices, I can’t help but be inspired (and at times afraid) of how viciously she is prepared to go after what she wants.

At times it was very dark, and Lada is not a likeable character. But I devoured this book. I have seen it described as ‘Game of Thrones’ without the magic or dragons, and honestly, I think it’s a fair comparison.

Posted by Sas

Catalogue link: And I Darken

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