And I Darken

And I Darken

Book - 2016
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In this first book in a trilogy a girl child is born to Vlad Dracula, in Transylvania, in 1435--at first rejected by her father and always ignored by her mother, she will grow up to be Lada Dragwlya, a vicious and brutal princess, destined to rule and destroy her enemies.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, ©2016.
Edition: First Edition.
ISBN: 9780553522310
Characteristics: 486 pages :,maps ;,24 cm


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Jul 01, 2019

Kiersten White is a client of Wolfson Literary

May 25, 2019

Started off a little slow, but it picked up halfway through once Lada and Radu got drawn into all of the political machinations. I could have done without the first 100 pages or so, but I loved reading a historical fiction/alternate history set in the Ottoman Empire, and I'm hoping that the next book is faster-paced.

Mar 01, 2019

I got completely swept up in this world, story and the dynamics of Lada, Radu and Mehmed. I thought this book could've been more concise but I forgive it for that and cannot wait to continue the series.

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 26, 2019

I recently watched a negative review of this. The reviewer said that she wanted more women characters who to be able to be strong while still in a traditional female role. I guess the problem with that, is that in the 1400s most women didn't have a lot of power, and those that did gain power, by trying to beat men at their own game, usually wound up dead. Just ask Joan of Arc.

So I think that this historical re-imagining is both entertaining and historically interesting. Lada is the young daughter of the Wallachian prince. She will grow into a female version of the historical Vlad the Impaler. She and her brother, Radu (based loosely on the historical brother of Vlad, Radu the Handsome), are given over to the care of the Ottoman sultan as security against him attacking the expanding empire. Lada and Radu become friends with one of the sultan's sons, Mehmed, being raised and educated with him.

In this retelling, White explores what might drive a character like Vlad/Lada. Lada sees that her mother is weak and her father has no respect for that. When he tells her that her mother is the country, that she is born of Wallachia, she takes that to heart, putting her country before all else except trying to achieve the approval of her father, never realizing that she's had it all the time. Her feelings of invisibility are what drive her to train as the men do, hoping one day he will see her and value her.

After being abandoned to the Ottomans, Lada and Radu must make a new life. Here's where the book slows down somewhat. There are intrigues, but if you're looking for a typical YA fantasy or adventure, this isn't it.

White does look at the power women held in the Ottoman Empire. Here the women of wealth are kept in a harem. It is clear that many of the wives and concubines have power within and outside the harem, yet in the end, they are subject to the authority of their husband.

White uses this novel to really explore the questions of how our loyalties can be divided. How we can love an individual but hate what they stand for. How history, and even contemporaries, can see a person, or a country, as bloodthirsty and power-mad, while from another perspective he/she can be seen as a freedom fighter, a great leader, or a country bringing enlightenment and peace to the divided nations around it.

This is asked in the big questions like the historical figures of Mehmed and Vlad. While Mehmed would go on to be Mehmed the Conquerer, strengthening the Ottoman Navy and bringing Constantinople and therefore the remains of the Byzantine Empire into his fold, Vlad would go on to fight for Wallachian freedom for the remainder of his life, becoming Prince of Wallachia three different times.

But it's also asked in smaller ways, like the relationship between Lada and Radu. What Lada sees as necessary, Radu takes as coldness. Lada and Radu must both come to terms with people they care for and respect working for different ends than their own. And both Lada and Radu must decide where they stand in the dispute between the Ottoman Empire and their Wallachian home.

I'm excited to see how White continues this saga, now that Lada has reached adulthood and settled her priorities.

Dec 03, 2018


I mean, it’s frustrating when Lada is torn between Wallachia and Mehmed. Like, GIRL, chose your country or your lover boy! I love and hate this book. Like at first you want her to be with Bogdan—her long-time childhood friend— and then you want her to be with Mehmed—the sultan’s son— and then you want her to be with Nicolae— her sparring buddy who’s a Janissary solder. BUT her ‘love’ for Mehmed is ‘too strong’ to see that Bogdan still loves her, but it’s more than a best friend now. And nicolae only sees her as a sister lmao. Then there’s Mehmed. He is too selfish and manipulates Radu’s—Lada’s brother—love to get what he wants. Radu is gay—yes pople—GAY. I mean, I’m reading the second book “Now I Rise’ and SO FAR, it’s okay. Not a fan of Mehmed and Lada’s love. But I ship Bogdan and Lada.

4 star

Jul 16, 2018

Halfway through and it's an excellent read. Basically this is an alternative history of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) as a woman. The perspectives are from her and her brother after being taken as collateral for their father's loyalty by the Ottomans. T

kirstd31 Mar 06, 2017

I was disappointed with this book. It was drawn out and boring.

Jan 30, 2017

If anyone really likes historical fiction, here is your prize! The story centers off of three characters in the time of the Ottoman Empire. Lada, a fierce princess of Wallachia, is raised a warrior more dominantly than a girl. Her younger brother Radu inherited the good looks, but clearly not the fire inside of Lada. Enter the Sultan's youngest son, cast off to the side of his family because of his mother's status. When the Sultan holds the siblings in captivity, they form a bond with Mehmed. But with him representing a life unlike what they ever imagined, they must choose what they are willing to sacrifice, and whom. Excellent read, but the bloodshed and gore was a bit much at parts. 4/5 stars
- @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

And I Darken combines fantasy, action and emotions into a tight-packed bundle of pure amazement. As a reader I was hooked from the first page and just couldn’t stop flipping the pages after that. Every small paragraph in this book was interesting and well thought out, never left the reader in boredom or repeated customs that have become mandatory in most teen books nowadays. Vlad Dracula has gone to every height and measure to secure himself the throne as prince of Wallachia, but what he never expected was a daughter to get in the way of his legacy of sons. Unable to give his younger children attention, and his wife Valissia in a constant state of sickness, a nurse upbrings Ladislav and Radu alongside her own son Bogdan. Lada and Radu are separated by a mere year but the two could not be more different in their hearts; Lada with her strong fists and Radu the punching bag for the troublesome boyar sons. On a day in which Lada meets her father for the first time, as a young girl, she begins to worship him and treats her country Wallachia as her mother; always feigning to come in the eyes of her father as she grows and show him who she has become. But when Vlad exchanges Radu and Lada to the sultan of the Ottoman empire for the security of his throne, Lada comes to realize he is not the dragon she once believed he was; and he is weak. With a knife nicks away from falling down upon their necks, Radu and Lada begin their journey in the Ottoman empire and meet the fiery son Mehmed; and that is what joins and breaks them apart. I absolutely loved Lada, Radu, Mehmed, Halima, Mara, Huma, Nicolae and all the different threads the author has ties together in this story that touched base on religion, love, and war to encase the reader in a world in which the enemy cannot be seen easily. I loved Lada especially at the end when she defied every stereotype that I have encountered in books and neglected love for her own country, for her own self. Rating 5/5
- @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

ArapahoeCatherine Aug 31, 2016

I was dubious when I saw the rather uninspiring cover but am glad to say, it defied all of my expectations. This is a dark account of the children of Vlad the Impaler. Lada is fierce and independent and her brother troubled and often-overlooked. Fantastic historical fiction!!

ArapahoeKara Aug 24, 2016

I loved this alternate historical tale of Vlad the Impaler's daughter. Lada is a fierce, prickly, unconventional female character and so refreshing for the YA category. Looking forward to the sequel!

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May 25, 2019

Sexual Content: Some innuendo, a lot of kissing, but pretty much everything is fade to black.

May 25, 2019

Violence: Executions, battles, assassinations, attempted rape.

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May 25, 2019

stepha89 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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