White, Kiersten And I Darken, 496 pages. Delacorte (Random), 2016. $19. Language: PG-13 (26 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG (concubines); Violence: PG-13 (heads on pikes, some fighting).
Lada and her half brother Radu are being held as hostages in the Ottoman courts, abandoned by their father, Vlad Dracul. Each tries to find a place for themselves; Radu by embracing the Muslim religion of the region, Lada by constantly trying to show the men of the court, and proxy her father, that women can be as tough as men. Her best friend in court is Mehmed, who turns out to be the son of the sultan.
I am so glad that I didn’t read the reviews and blurbs about this book before I read it, because I despised this book. I picked it up because of the author – who hasn’t loved the Paranormalcy seres, right? I gave it 100 pages to set up what seems to be a sweeping series – any book that includes Vlad Dracul has to have danger and intrigue, and at almost 500 pages there was room for back story. Unfortunately, the rest to the time I kept kicking myself because I was slogging through a whole bunch of nothing. All I could think was – what’s the point? Vlad Dracul was a non-character, so why even bother setting him up as the parent? I didn’t find Lada, the main character, interesting or engaging at all and I didn’t care about what happens to her. After reading, I did some research on Vlad Dracul and figured out that the author hijacked Vlad’s real life story and gave it to a girl, probably so that she could write a girl power book. I felt robbed of 500 pages of my time. Feel free to disagree, but you’d better have concrete reasons about why this book was so wonderful to you.
NOT RECOMMENDED. Cindy, Library Teacher