I can’t decide if I like this one better than “And I Darken”. On the one hand, “And I Darken” was excellent until the plot revolved purely around how in love with Mehmed everyone is. And this book has far, far less Mehmed in it (a good thing). However I think the plot was a bit weaker in this second instalment; it really does feel like the middle book. Not sure where the story is going to go from here, but I’m invested enough in the characters that I want to find out. The characterization is this series’ strongest point, and it’s as well-done here as it was in the first book. Lada is as formidable and uncompromising as ever, and I really love that as a female character, she acknowledges her love for Mehmed but doesn’t let that stand in the way of her goals. Radu’s blind obsession with Mehmed continues to annoy me, but it leads to some interesting conflict when he’s sent away to Constantinople as a spy. Both siblings do terrible things—in the name of power and in the desire for love—but that’s what makes this series so captivating. The world building is also a series strong point, so much so that I feel a bit lost now that I’m not in that world anymore!
I don't find myself reading historical fiction too often because I often find myself liking it a lot or too little. In this scenario, it was in between. I really liked the character developments in Lada and Radu across the pages, as they choose against each other. Both with ties to Mehmed, they go on completely different paths as Lada is willing to kill all for "her" Wallachia, and Radu is willing to die for who he believes he loves. More characters come into the picture, and readers will marvel at the world so long ago Kierstin White has brought alive. This second installment justifies again that love and desire are not just some fickle feelings, but strong enough to tear down walls.
- @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Don't let the cover fool you - this book is straight up historical fiction. Author Kiersten White continues her story of two siblings who are complicated and fascinating. There are no easy choices in this world. Themes of loyalty, love, friendship, and faith infuse the story. The last two chapters are perfect for the story - I would be content if she ended her series here.
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