Ah yest talk about a series I never expected to love anywhere near as much as I do! Gosh this series has quickly become one of my favorites!
She has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself.
After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada Dracul is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won…and souls will be lost.-goodreads.com summary
I’m not sure if I mentioned this in my review of And I Darken, but I was super wary of starting this series. I had read another book by Kiersten White and wasn’t too much a fan so, when this one blew up, I avoided it for a little bit. But, now that I’ve finally gave the books a fair shot, I’m here to say that I’m super glad I did! I really loved both Now I Rise as well as And I Darken! The characters throughout the series are all so well developed, and I love learning about each and every one of them, as well as seeing where this crazy plot is going to go. All of the relations between characters are so fascinating and gosh some of them feel like I’m watching a train wreck as I read (but in the best way). Lada and Radu are fabulous main characters (with Radu being insanely more interesting than I ever thought he would be) I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book.
NOW THAT WE HAVE THAT QUICK REVIEW OUT OF THE WAY! Let’s talk a bit about why I believe And I Darken and Now I Rise work so well as character driven novels
Of course, we must start with the obvious fact that And I Darken takes probably the first HALF of it to establish the world and the characters. This made me a little nervous at first, because it starts things really slow, but it really comes to pay off later on in the books when you feel yourself falling in love with everyone. If you would’ve asked me while I was still reading those first 100 pages of And I Darken, I might’ve told you that the many scenes of Lada, Radu, and Mehmed as kids was a bit unnecessary, but now after having finished the book, I see how necessary all of those scenes were. This is a great example of an author using a slower paced plot to develop, not only the main characters, but also the relations a.mong characters.
Now that we’ve established the good a slower plot and some great development can do for the reader’s investment in a novel, time to answer the question: how do you keep an audience’s attention through these slower parts of a novel? For me, there is one simple answer, a good and creative writing style. When I think of all my favorite authors, a single thing stands out about all of them— their writing keeps me intrigued no matter what they are writing. These are the people that could write an encyclopedia and I would find it interesting. So, does Kiersten White fall into that category for me? Ehhhhh kinda. I have nothing against her writing, but I wouldn’t say it captivates me like someone such as Victoria Schwab or Neal Shusterman’s. I love all of Shusterman’s books because he has a very unique style of every now and then switching to the POV of an inanimate object or place to give readers a different view on things. I don’t think there are many other authors that could pull something like that off.
So, if it’s not Kiersten White’s writing style that keeps me captivated through the slower parts of her novel, then what does? In the case of And I Darken, I think the novel’s historical base is something that really captivates me. I love history, so anything that is set in a different time period, particularly one that I don’t know that much about, is fascinating to me. So what can we learn from this point? Eh I don’t know that everyone should write historical fiction novels I guess…? 😂