And I Darken

And I Darken

Book - 2016
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The New York Times Bestseller!

"Absolutely riveting." -- Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds

This vividly rendered novel reads like HBO's Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story's atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters and a fearsome heroine. Fans of Victoria Aveyard's THE RED QUEEN and Sabaa Tahir's AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won't want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in the And I Darken series.

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. 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 that 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.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.

"A dark and twisty fantasy . . . think Game of Thrones, but with teens."-- Seventeen

"Sinister, suspenseful, and unapologetically feminist."-- Buzzfeed

"Will completely spin you into another time and place."-- Bustle

"Takes no prisoners, offering up brutal, emotional historical fiction."

An ALA Rainbow List Top Ten Selection
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, c2016
ISBN: 9780553522310
Branch Call Number: FIC Whit
Characteristics: 486 pages : map, genealogical table ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

This historical retelling takes the story of Vlad the Impaler and brings you Lada (based on Vlad), who is single-minded in her desire to leave the Ottoman Empire and will risk everything--and everyone--to do so. Just like this exquisite cover promises, you'll get a story that is both beautiful a... Read More »

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Oct 27, 2020

And I Darken **
By Kiersten White
Age:14 and up

And I Darken, is sort of a twist on the character of Vlad the Impaler. It's about a ruthless main character, who while may be a little twisted, has a journey and dream which she is willing to do anything to get. Honestly, I was scared going into this book. I had low expectations because of what I'd heard about it, but I am so glad I picked it up. This one has an anti-hero that is more dark than good. The main character is so interesting, and while violent, also someone who you find yourself sympathizing with. The historical setting is also great, you can tell that the author really researched cultures and such. The main character is based on Vlad the Impaler, and I was so glad, to have a book with many different types of cultures represented and to learn about Romania, which is a country I don't often come across in books. However, I can definitely see why it is a mixed reviewed book. Some people may not like such a morally grey standpoint, and some other points in the book.

Sep 07, 2020

I really enjoyed this book, but I'm giving it a 3 because I think the slow start still clings to me when I try to give it 4. White gives each of her characters - particularly Lada and Ragdu - such complexity and dimension. They aren't just the hard-ass sister and crybaby brother. Their lives are shaped by the world around them, and they continue to act and respond in ways that make sense for who they are.

White has a fairly unique writing style from that of other authors in this sphere. Some of my favorite lines feel like they're pulled more from the minds of poets or lyricists. I appreciated the themes of privilege in this, especially in how that directly affects Brogdan and Lada's lives.

This was certainly an interesting journey, and it took place during a time period that you don't see a lot of historical fiction talk about. I loved the handling of religion. The time of the Crusades framed Christianity as a weapon. So in that regard, that is the way Lada and her father saw it. At no point was there an underlying message of Islam is peace and Christianity is death, however. The balance between Lada's skepticism, Radu's studious faith, and the characters before them in Wallachia who focused on Christianity were all allowed to believe how they believed and be their own examples of those schools of thought.

Anyway, this was a fun read. I hope others get the chance to enjoy it as well.

ChristchurchTeens Sep 01, 2020

Lada is the unstoppable daughter of Vlad the Impaler, and a princess of Wallachia. When she and her gentle brother are sent to the Ottoman Empire to be held for ransom, Lada knows the only way to survive is by using her strength and her ruthlessness.

This book was such a pleasant surprise. I didn't know what to expect at ALL and I just loved the vicious world that Lada and Radu live in. It was so full of twists and turns and violence and I just couldn't get enough.

Jul 01, 2019

Kiersten White is a client of Wolfson Literary

May 25, 2019

Started off a little slow, but it picked up halfway through once Lada and Radu got drawn into all of the political machinations. I could have done without the first 100 pages or so, but I loved reading a historical fiction/alternate history set in the Ottoman Empire, and I'm hoping that the next book is faster-paced.

Mar 01, 2019

I got completely swept up in this world, story and the dynamics of Lada, Radu and Mehmed. I thought this book could've been more concise but I forgive it for that and cannot wait to continue the series.

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 26, 2019

I recently watched a negative review of this. The reviewer said that she wanted more women characters who to be able to be strong while still in a traditional female role. I guess the problem with that, is that in the 1400s most women didn't have a lot of power, and those that did gain power, by trying to beat men at their own game, usually wound up dead. Just ask Joan of Arc.

So I think that this historical re-imagining is both entertaining and historically interesting. Lada is the young daughter of the Wallachian prince. She will grow into a female version of the historical Vlad the Impaler. She and her brother, Radu (based loosely on the historical brother of Vlad, Radu the Handsome), are given over to the care of the Ottoman sultan as security against him attacking the expanding empire. Lada and Radu become friends with one of the sultan's sons, Mehmed, being raised and educated with him.

In this retelling, White explores what might drive a character like Vlad/Lada. Lada sees that her mother is weak and her father has no respect for that. When he tells her that her mother is the country, that she is born of Wallachia, she takes that to heart, putting her country before all else except trying to achieve the approval of her father, never realizing that she's had it all the time. Her feelings of invisibility are what drive her to train as the men do, hoping one day he will see her and value her.

After being abandoned to the Ottomans, Lada and Radu must make a new life. Here's where the book slows down somewhat. There are intrigues, but if you're looking for a typical YA fantasy or adventure, this isn't it.

White does look at the power women held in the Ottoman Empire. Here the women of wealth are kept in a harem. It is clear that many of the wives and concubines have power within and outside the harem, yet in the end, they are subject to the authority of their husband.

White uses this novel to really explore the questions of how our loyalties can be divided. How we can love an individual but hate what they stand for. How history, and even contemporaries, can see a person, or a country, as bloodthirsty and power-mad, while from another perspective he/she can be seen as a freedom fighter, a great leader, or a country bringing enlightenment and peace to the divided nations around it.

This is asked in the big questions like the historical figures of Mehmed and Vlad. While Mehmed would go on to be Mehmed the Conquerer, strengthening the Ottoman Navy and bringing Constantinople and therefore the remains of the Byzantine Empire into his fold, Vlad would go on to fight for Wallachian freedom for the remainder of his life, becoming Prince of Wallachia three different times.

But it's also asked in smaller ways, like the relationship between Lada and Radu. What Lada sees as necessary, Radu takes as coldness. Lada and Radu must both come to terms with people they care for and respect working for different ends than their own. And both Lada and Radu must decide where they stand in the dispute between the Ottoman Empire and their Wallachian home.

I'm excited to see how White continues this saga, now that Lada has reached adulthood and settled her priorities.

Dec 03, 2018


I mean, it’s frustrating when Lada is torn between Wallachia and Mehmed. Like, GIRL, chose your country or your lover boy! I love and hate this book. Like at first you want her to be with Bogdan—her long-time childhood friend— and then you want her to be with Mehmed—the sultan’s son— and then you want her to be with Nicolae— her sparring buddy who’s a Janissary solder. BUT her ‘love’ for Mehmed is ‘too strong’ to see that Bogdan still loves her, but it’s more than a best friend now. And nicolae only sees her as a sister lmao. Then there’s Mehmed. He is too selfish and manipulates Radu’s—Lada’s brother—love to get what he wants. Radu is gay—yes pople—GAY. I mean, I’m reading the second book “Now I Rise’ and SO FAR, it’s okay. Not a fan of Mehmed and Lada’s love. But I ship Bogdan and Lada.

4 star

Jul 16, 2018

Halfway through and it's an excellent read. Basically this is an alternative history of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) as a woman. The perspectives are from her and her brother after being taken as collateral for their father's loyalty by the Ottomans. T

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Apr 08, 2020

miraellie thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

May 25, 2019

stepha89 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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May 25, 2019

Sexual Content: Some innuendo, a lot of kissing, but pretty much everything is fade to black.

May 25, 2019

Violence: Executions, battles, assassinations, attempted rape.


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Apr 08, 2020

“On our wedding night," she said, "I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”


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