Bilingual Book Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

Title: And I Darken
Series: And I Darken #1
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: YA Historical
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published:  June 28th, 2016
Page Count:  496 pages
Format:  eARC
Source: From publisher


Summary:
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.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4/5 stars
.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.

And I Darken is a definite work of art that will stay on the minds of every reader who comes upon its pages. It's wildly dark and alluring, a fierce read that reimagines the life of Vlad the Impaler but on the shoes of a young girl as vicious as a mighty dragon and her brother who is as gentle as the softest breeze.

I was unfamiliar with the story behind Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia before reading And I Darken, so I couldn't tell then if And I Darken stays historically accurate or not besides the gender switch, but after finishing it, I immediately researched a bit about this enigmatic character since I was left highly fascinated with Lada and I wanted to know more. I'm still no expert on the subject, but I can see now how certain things were tweaked to fit the storyline better and I'm in awe with the way Kiersten White pulled these changes.

My favorite aspect of this book is how the author handles the character growth between Lada and Radu. Both characters start off as opposites and they remain that way throughout the story, but they each find middle ground in their strengths by the end of this installment. The way I would describe their dynamics is by picturing them as a see-saw or scale. In the beginning you can can find Lada at the bottom since she is headstrong, defiant, ruthless and the one working hard to claim what is hers. Meanwhile, Radu can be found at the top of the scale or dangling his feet up high on the see-saw, weightless for his gentleness and kind soul who is only seeking to be loved and cared for. However, while the story progresses, they each level up and become stronger in their own ways, enhancing their skills and personalities for the better good.
  
I also love how this book portrays greatness. How even back in those times where women were only viewed as wives and replaceable, Lada manages to seek and forge her own power. Beauty is not on her side, yet this doesn't bring her down, even from finding someone worthy of her passion. She's not by all means a nice person, but she is someone that gains respect. The same goes for Radu, who wonderfully grows up into a charming man that uses this to his advantage, as a weapon.

Although the pacing of this book comes off as slow, and at times, uneventful, it doesn't ruin the chances for the reader to enjoy the story. The captivating words of Kiersten White make a full comeback in this tale about birth rights, vengeance, slow-burning passion, and the odds of embracing what you are meant to be.

*Spanish Book Review/ Reseña en Español*

And I Darken es sin duda una obra de arte que quedará en las mentes de cada lector.  Es una lectura oscura, seductora e intensa que re-imagina la vida de Vlad el Empalador (quien inspiró la famosa historia de Dracula por Bram Stoker, por cierto), pero esta vez en la piel de una joven tan viciosa como un poderoso dragón y su hermano que es tan suave como la brisa más gentil.

A decir verdad, yo no estaba familiarizada con la historia detrás de Vlad III, príncipe de Valaquia, antes de leer ésta novela, así que no puedo decir si And I Darken se mantiene históricamente exacta o no (sin contar con el cambio de género), pero después de terminarlo, inmediatamente investigué un poco más acerca de este enigmático personaje ya que quedé fascinada con Lada y quería saber más. Todavía no soy experta en el tema, pero puedo ver ahora cómo ciertas cosas se ajustaron para adaptarse mejor a la historia de Lada y no puedo más que admirar la creatividad de la autora Kiersten White.

Mi aspecto favorito de este libro es cómo la autora maneja el crecimiento de personalidades de Lada y Radu. Ambos personajes comienzan como opuestos y permanecen así durante toda la historia, pero cada uno llegan a un término medio en sus puntos fuertes para el final de esta entrega. La forma en que yo describiría su dinámica es imaginando como un sube y baja o una escala. En el principio me imagino  a Lada en la parte inferior ya que ella es terca, desafiante, implacable y trabajando duro para reclamar lo que es suyo. Mientras tanto, Radu se puede encontrar en la parte superior de la escala o colgando sus pies desde lo alto del sube y baja, sin peso por su dulzura y gentileza que solo busca ser amado y cuidado. Sin embargo, mientras que la historia avanza, cada uno de ellos se nivela y se hacen más fuertes en sus propios caminos, mejorando sus habilidades y personalidades (por lo menos en esta novela). ;)
  
También me encanta cómo este libro retrata la grandeza. Cómo incluso en aquellos momentos en los que las mujeres sólo se veían como esposas y reemplazables, Lada logra buscar y forjar su propio poder. La belleza no está de su lado, sin embargo, ésto no la desanima, ni para encontrar a alguien digno de su pasión. Debo recalcar que Lada no es una buena persona, pero ella es alguien que gana respeto. Lo mismo ocurre con Radu, quien gana respeto al crecer maravillosamente en un hombre encantador que utiliza su encanto como un arma.

Aunque el ritmo de And I Darken es en ocasiones lento, no arruina las posibilidades de que el lector disfrute la historia. Las palabras cautivantes de Kiersten White hacen una reaparición en esta historia acerca de los derechos de nacimiento, venganza, pasión, y sobre el arte de abrazar tu destino.

3 comments:

  1. Aw, yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I started to get worried after other reviews, but I'll be checking it out anyways and now I'm so hesitant. :D

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    Replies
    1. If you don't mind going slow in order to appreciate the characters in this book, then it'll be no problem at all. ♥

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  2. Ahhh, no puedo esperar para leer este libro! Aunque debo admitir que estoy un poco preocupada porque los libros anteriores de Kiersten me dejaron un poco decepcionada :/
    Pero este suena diferente y eso me hace querer leerlo mucho mas.
    Me encanta tu reseña, Meli!

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