I’m obsessed with this story!! OBSESSED. I NEED MORE LADA AND RADU AND MEHMED.
This book was wonderful, and dark, and violent, and historically accurate, and so not what I was expecting from Kiersten White! Since birth, Lada Dragwyla has been a violent little thing; everyone expects her to be meek and gentle because of her gender, but THAT IS NOT THE CASE. She is a warrior, and desperately wants her father to love her, despite being female.
On the other side is her brother, Radu, who is a gentle, cunning soul. Lada is very protective of Radu, not letting anyone else pick on or torment him—that, she says, is her privilege only. Both are complicated characters—each have strengths and weaknesses that I thought complimented each other.
When their father brings them to the heart of the Ottoman Empire and abandons them there, they can only rely on each other. The relationship between Radu and Lada was one of my favorites! Seeing their complicated relationship throughout the story develop and strengthen, but then weaken and turn toxic, had me turning the pages!
Normally, I do not like love triangles. But this story has a very intriguing love triangle. Mehmed is the heir to the Ottoman throne, and he befriends and protects the siblings. Overtime, both begin to fall in love with Mehmed, and things become complicated. The relationships and characters in this book are some of my favorites! They are so complicated and involved, its hard to know who you want to end up with who, or if you even want any to end up with each other. The relationship that I really cared about was Lada and Radu, and I need the second book to see what will happen next for them.
This book had me cringing at times when it would describe some of the torture/executions that would happen. Let’s just say that the Ottoman Empire was not exactly kind in how they would execute a person. *shudders* Not pleasant.
What I love most is where this story originated from. In the beginning of the story, in the ‘Dear Reader’ section of the arc copy, Wendy Loggia mentions that while travelling through Romania years ago, Kiersten couldn’t stop thinking about Vlad, and thought: what if this “ruthless, justice-obsessed, pathologically nationalistic leader had been a girl?” I love seeing the origins for thoughts for books! [quote from the arc copy]
BUY IT. READ IT. LOVE IT.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
I received an arc copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.