A while back I was at Target to waste time before the next thing I had to be at. While I was there I bought Three books. The first was Flame in the Mist by , the second was Heartlessby , and the last was And I Darken by Kiersten White. I recently finished And I Darken, so I wanted to talk about it a little bit.
And I Darken follows Radu and Lada from birth into adolesence, in which tie they make friends, enemies, and even find love along the way. Overall the books was great, and I absoluetly loved it even though it took me a while to read.
The book starts off with Lada’s brith, and instantly compares it to her younger brother Radu’s birth. From there the two grow up a little so that they are children, and have one of their first interactions with their father. From there they move to Wallachia’s main castle and begin to find ways to “help” their father, or try to gain his favor. Lada attempts to win her father’s favor through learning how to fight, command armies, and simply attempt to make up for the fact that she isn’t a boy. Radu on the other hand tends to put more time into studying than anything else, and simply wants to survive the torment from his older sister and half brother Mircea.
In their early teens the two go with their father to find sanctuary in The Ottoman Empire. Both Lada and Radu are left by their father in the Ottoman Empire in order to work more on their studies, and overall just become more acceptable in Court. While the two work hard to study they meet new friends, such as Kumal and Nicolae who eventually help aid them on their adventures. Kumal becomes a great spiritual guide for Radu, while Nicolae becomes a great friend for Lada.
After meeting these two Radu and Lada find a crying boy named Mehmed, who turns out the be son of the sultan. With Mehmed as a friend the two find themselves to be more protected within the empire, and they end up following him to another estate in the country. There they begin the adventures once Mehmed finds that his brothers have been killed and he is next in line for the trone. From there the adventure begins.
Overall I really did like this book, and I think that the layered and complex story line was well relayed and well writen. I fell in love with many of the characters and ended up loving each of their stories. Overall the book was on the slow side, so be warned when you’re starting the book that it may take a while to get into. It’s definatly worth it, though, and you should “push through it”. It’s completly worth it.
From here on out this review is no longer spolier free, so be warned!
Let’s talk about Radu frist. I think that he’s absoluetly adorable, and I love his story line. I fell in love with him during chapter 6, where we meet two pesent children and Radu attempts to make a friend. Unfortunetly it doesn’t work out in his favor, but when the kid falls through the ice and Radu just goes to help him without a second though I ended up falling in love with him. Then to see how Lada takes care of him, it was such a cute scene between the two and it made Radu more dynamic becuase it showed that he could be brave and face his fears.
I also love Radu’s marriage with Nazira. They are so cute, and it’s so awesome that the two of them are able to help one another as friends. It’s really cool that Radu does his best to make sure that Nazira and her hand-maid/love interest are well taken care of and live comfortably. Thought this the two of them are able to live happily, and Radu is able to stay close to his love interest, Mehmed. The relationship between Mehmed and Radu is actually sort of realistic to me. I like that Radu continues to be close to the person he loves even though he doesn’t love him back, and that Radu still devotes his life to helping this person. I also like the bit where Radu has a litle makeout session with someone other than Mehmed, simply because he does want some attention and to feel loved. I feel like it makes the situation more relatable to more people and adds another dynamic to Radu.
Overall I do really like Radu as a character because he really comes into his own during the story. He starts off as a crybaby who is afaid of everything, but ends up a strong young man who is more than willing to not only kill to protect the peson he loves, but is willing to do whatever is within his power to help Mehmed take the throne and be the rightful ruler. He becomes so brave and such an amazing person during this story, I can’t wait to see what happens to him in the second book.
I honestly don’t like Lada as a character that much. She’s very interesting, but I feel like she’s less complex in comparison to her younger brother. Beyond protecting her brother, keeping Mehmed safe, and doing what’s best for Wallachia she has no motives for anything and she doesn’t seem to grow or anything. She seems to accept her love for Mehmed, but beyond that she has very little growth as a character. She’s well written, and the action scenes are pretty awesome, she really does reach her goal of becoming better than any man in the army.
I do relate to her during chapter 37 where she finds out that Mehmed is going to be going to Albania to lead men on the battle feild. Their conversation focuses around if Lada can or can not go with him, and they end up with no she can’t go. Some of the quotes are very similar to something my boyfriend might say, and they focus around Lada being safe and Mehmed not wanting to lose her. Overall I feel like this interaction between the two is my favorite out of all of them because it shows the divide between what Lada wants and what Mehmed wants. This is relatable to many people and almost every relationship beacuse you won’t always want the same thing, and it can be hard when both people feel like they are correct or their way is the bset. It’s the type of fight all relationships have. It makes their relaitonship a little more realistic because fight are always realistic, and differences of opinions will always happen.
Lada’s relationship with Radu is also relatable to me, because of where I am in my life. Lada worked very hard to keep her little brother as safe as possible, but then she turned around one day to see that he wasn’t a little boy anymore. It threw her though a loop and it’s kinda where I am with my little brother right now. I recently turned around and he seemed so adult. To see it written down on paper was cool to me because it showed me that other people go through this too, it’s not just me.
Overall I feel like Lada was a good character, but I wish that I saw her more broken or desperate every now and then, and maybe not just in big situations seeing her broken is smaller situations I think would make her more realistic to me because then you can see her weaknesses more clearly. I also think that if she had more of a reaction to when she killed people it would be more interesting. I still like her as a character, and she is an extremly powerful one, just a little unrealistic to me.
In the next book I hope to see more of the relationship between Lada and Bogdan. I honestly want to see more of these two because it’s been years since the’ve been together and that can really effect your relationsihp. I also want to see how Mehmed acts aroudn Bogdan more, becuase he seemed so pissed when they first met. He seems to have accepted it now, but overall it could really change the relationship betweem Mehmed and Lada so I want to see more of that.
I can’t wait to see how Lada going back to Wallachia will work out in Now I Rise (And I Darken). I also can’t wait to see how the relationship will change between Mehmed and Radu now that Lada is gone. There’s so much of this world to explore that I can’t wait to pick up the next book, but it’s going to have to wait a bit until I can get my TBR pile down.