Buddy Read – Book Review: And I Darken

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I buddy read this book with the ever amazing Icebreaker694

Original Release Date:

June 28th 2016

Date I Read The Book:

December 2016

Chronology:

First in a series

My Star Rating:

3.5 or 4 Stars

Official Summary:

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, 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.

Discussion Questions/Thoughts:

Icebreaker’s Questions:

1) Who was your favorite POV?

Icebreaker: My favorite POV at first was Radu, but then I slowly leaned towards Lada’s.

RiverMoose: I preferred Radu’s POV, under Lada’s POV it seemed like it was trying too hard to make her brutal. Radu was also the more relatable character as well.

2) Would you continue reading the next book when it comes out?

Icebreaker: I don’t think I’d continue the series. There wasn’t really anything that stuck in the first book, and so I’m not in any hurry to read the second book.

RiverMoose: I think I will continue the series just to see what happens, because though I ha some issues with the book, I did ultimately enjoy it.

3) Do you think this is a book everyone would enjoy?

Icebreaker: I heard some great reviews from a lot of people, and I heard some that weren’t. I’d think that this book would be enjoyable for some people, but not everyone, sorry.

RiverMoose: I think it depends on the person, if you really like historical fiction/what ifs or if you really like stories where you are supposed to root for the brutal killer (think Black Widow type) you’ll like this. But if you aren’t a fan of the strong heroine for the sake of it or of period drama or even the writing style, you might not.  People either love it or hate it really.

My Questions:

1) Do you think this book was accurate as historical fiction?

Icebreaker: To me it was very accurate. They mentioned Theodora of Byzantine, and she was indeed an actress, and her father was really a bear tamer. (I studied her for my final.) That’s just an example, the accuracy of the time period was what I really enjoyed.

RiverMoose: I don’t know much about the history, but it seemed as accurate as it could possibly be. Though usually I hate historical fiction and this didn’t really feel like historical fiction. If I hated known it was based on real history, I never would have assumed.

2) What did you think of seeing the progression of the characters childhoods, did you like that?

Icebreaker: I was sort of open minded to them growing up. I liked to see them change and grow, and see their past. However I don’t normally read books that show a character growing older, and it seemed a bit slow paced that way. But it really was interesting to see the change in them.

RiverMoose: I loved it! I liked seeing them develop as characters and their motivations and relationships from childhood to current age. It meant the story took a while to get going, but I like seeing it.

3) What supporting character stood out as your favorite, why?

Icebreaker: I’m not even sure if she counts as a supporting character, but Mara was my favorite. She wasn’t what Lada expected her to be, and Mara could have been a favorable ally to Lada if she chose to be.

RiverMoose: I really liked Bodlyn, he was interesting as Lada’s childhood sidekick and Radu’s rival for her attention. I hope we get to see more of him.

My Review: 

Lets start with the good:

I loved the writing. The imagery was vivid and character motivations were clear. The dialogue was great. The characters, even minor ones, gave the world a large scope that felt real, all the characters had depth and were vastly interesting. I loved seeing the relationships and characters grow and change as the characters aged, it was unique, and very interesting to me.

And now my issues…

It was SLOW. I loved seeing the characters age, but so little of plot relevance happened in the first half or so that it began to drag on and on. It felt like she was showing rather than telling us that Lada was brutal and Radu was kind. That it was too forced, and robbed them of complexity at times. Most plot happened towards the end and maybe its because I don’t particularly like historical fiction, but it didn’t grab me much. It felt more like a set up then a story. The first 30 minutes of backstory for a movie before stuff gets good.

Conclusion:

I did like the book, despite by problems with it. It took me a while to get through. I did like it overall, and I do intend to continue the series. It is a very character driven novel, which I tend to enjoy, but other might not. I am intrigued as to how the series will progress though.

What do you think?

Favorite Quotes:

“Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.”
― Kiersten White, And I Darken

“Lada looked up into her father’s eyes, deep-set and etched with years of cunning and cruelty. She nodded, then held out her hand. “The daughter of Wallachia wants her knife back.”
Vlad smiled and gave it to her.”
― Kiersten White, And I Darken

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Buddy Read – Book Review: And I Darken

  1. I also tend to really enjoy books that are character driven. I have seen so many mixed reviews on this and enjoyed how you presented it with the buddy read. Great post! I think this is one I will just have to read and decide. I feel in the beginning that many were lead to believe it was more fantasy based so they ended up disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

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