Review: And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1) by Kiersten White

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And I Darken by Kiersten White | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Do yourself a favor, and check out this book. ASAP. I don't normally start my reviews with statements like that but And I Darken is bound to be the exception to my rule. Ditch all thoughts you might have about what this book may be like. It exceeded even my wildest dreams and, while it had some flaws, this is entirely due to the pace Kiersten White maintains during all 475 pages. Not only is her worldbuilding vivid and striking, her characters are  developed in strength, wit and viciousness, and the plotline is incredible.

Darkly enticing, the very definition of alluring, it signals what is sure to be a standout series and I'm so sad it has taken me so long to pick it up!

And I Darken reads less like a YA book and more like a standard fiction/fantasy novel, albeit a little cleaner cut. White has a prose that stands out amongst many YA authors (this isn't to say that YA is bad writing, mind you) for its crisp and full of life intelligence. Marked by its premise as a re-telling of sorts (Vlad the Impaler, for example, is now a young woman named Lada) it still feels like its own story.

Where to begin? The characters are all fantastic and fit a different archetype that keeps the story true to life. Lada, Radu and Mehmed are all vastly different. When we first meet them, we see the three as they are: children. And I Darken does an excellent job in showing the strengths and weaknesses of each of these characters.

Not only are they interesting as they grow up, literally before our eyes, but the complexities of each of their personalities offer a different sight for readers. We see them together, in the good times, and the bad times which put their clashes at center stage. And I Darken has a lot of hostility, but also a lot of heart and soul, a lot of romance, a lot of hope; making it impossible to hate any of the three main characters... even in the moments you want to.

It's unexpected. Which makes the use of "No one expects a princess to be brutal" at the start of the synopsis perfectly. No one expects it. Perhaps, this is White's biggest strength--creating certain elements that are unexpected, but making them feel right. 

Ultimately, And I Darken is many things. A tale of family, of friendship, of coming of age, of loss and of finding your own destiny. I adored this book and cannot recommend it enough--I am so excited to read the series further! 

One things certain--anyone who knows Vlad the Impaler knows that things are only going to grow that much more darker in this series for Lada. And I'm so excited to see how White portrays it.

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