And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1)
by Kiersten White

Delacorte Press | June 28, 2016
ARC courtesy of First in Line
       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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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 what 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.
I was quite surprised to receive this book and I was quite surprised by this book. Two of my favorite reviewers on goodreads loved this book; however, I found this book rather boring, long, and unnecessary.
Once I received the book, I decided to finally learn what it's about. I found the premise to be very promising and intriguing. The note inside the ARC described this book as if Vlad the Impaler was a woman. (I didn't really get that from the book, so I feel misled). The synopsis also mentions Mehmed and the Ottoman Empire. I was immediately regretting my book choices because I'm not a fan of Historical Fiction and thinking about my AP World textbook. Because this is a Historical Fiction book and I spent 9 months learning World History "in depth", I paid a lot/extra attention to the historical accuracy.

Fortunately, this book was historically accurate and I am quite pleased with everything. The author manipulated history but remained true to it at the same time. The author included: Islam, the conquests/The Crusades, silk, Anatolia, eunuchs, harems, Empress Theodora, Justinian and other history related things. Unfortunately, the Silk Road, the Mongols, the Bubonic Plague, and the schisms (Eastern & Western Europe and Shia & Sunni Islam) can't be mentioned because it would have made the book too religious and because that comes a little later.
Back to why I found this book unnecessary. I found this book rather drab and long I had to force myself to continue this book. Almost NOTHING happens in this book. There's a lot of court drama and some "political intrigue" and nothing else. I enjoyed Lada's pessimism and impassiveness, but it didn't make the story any better. (The characters didn't save the book). There's fighting and some action, but it wasn't exciting. I found myself glossing over the pages just to say I finished this book. I found everything flat, one-dimensional and lackluster. The author's writing is also quite simple. Simple writing is fine, but spice it up and don't leave it bland. The author also dashes a couple of big words, but I thought these words disrupted the rhythm and flow of the words/sentences.

I don't know what the story is. Plot structure was not present. Characters are a pain in the arse. The only saving grace is the slight mentions of LGBT. I don't understand why this is considered a Retelling and Fantasy on goodreads.

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