You know that feeling when you’re completely besotted with a book? When the other books you read, to be honest, are just not as good? Or, even if they are good, you find yourself comparing thr book you’re reading to that amazing book?
That, my friends, is what happened to me while I was reading/after I read And I Darken by Kiersten White. If you didn’t know, I had been anticipating this book for quite a while. When I had seen it about two years ago, I was pumped for it because it was set in the Ottoman Empire. I’m Turkish, and I ALWAYS love it when there are Middle Eastern aspects set in books. So I had really high expectations—which were met.
Anyways, here’s the beautiful US cover:
My heart is broken. Not broken, but as if its been stretched too tight, it hurts. You’ve probably seen this book around, as a lot of people have been raving about it, but I want to give you guys my reasons. Reasons why YOU, my friend, should read this book:
1. Its incredibly dark and complex. Lada is a DARK character. She’s an actual anti-heroine (I love her even more than Adelina as of now). She doesn’t take shit from anyone, she’s fierce and BRUTAL. She’s ugly and not kind, but she’s strong. She’s like my favorite female character right now.
2. The other characters. I thought they were all amazing. Beautiful Radu, and then Mehmed…I’m in love with him oh my god. I saw a lot of people talking about how much they hate Mehmed, but I don’t understand why. Yea, he’s not perfect and super handsome and all, but he’s more realistic than a TON of YA love interests. Unlike a lot of YA love interests, he accepts Lada for who she is. Not once does he tell her to calm down, to stop being so fierce, to stop fighting, to be nicer. He doesn’t want her to go to war, but that’s reasonable especially for the time period. Spoiler in italics: Even at the end, even though his heart is breaking, he allows Lada to leave because she wants to. He’s not an evil controlling freak.
3. Diversity & Time Period. All the characters, as I said, were extremely complex, and forget all that, but how many books do you see set in the Ottoman Empire? I may be biased, as I’m Turkish and I LOVE learning about the Ottoman Empire, but I thought Kiersten White’s representation of it was very accurate. She showed the beautiful side and the dark side, and she didn’t sugarcoat anything. As wonderful and magnificent as any empire is, there are dark things that lurk in corners and evil traps everywhere, as evident in this one. Also, can we just appreciate how she showed Islam ACCURATELY? Thank you Kiersten White. Thank you.
4. The plot itself was so intriguing. It was a bit slow moving, but it was made up with how well written it was.
5. The ROMANCE. Rhjshsshsjalvdka the ROMANCE. This was definitely NOT a main point of the story, but I savored every bit of it. Every conversation Lada and Mehmed had (especially for the last one because NOOOO) I looked forward to, especially their heated first kiss. I LOVED THAT SCENE SO MUCH.
All in all, this book was worth the wait and the hype. I was so worried about it going into it for a lot of reasons: I had way too high expectations, and I was scared that the Ottoman Empire would be portrayed in a really bad way. Luckily that did not happen.
Yet, my heart is still broken. Now I just want to discuss spoilers in a few sentences so if you haven’t read this book please leave and READ IT!
The ending broke me. I am absolutely in love with Mehmed and Lada. I love Mehmed with all my heart, and how he begged Lada to become his wife broke me. Of course, Lada saying no just proved further how strong of a character she is, but still. I swear. If these two do not end up together I’m gonna cry. I’m serious. I don’t care if the rest of the world dies, I just want these two to be together. Please. Pleeeeease. I just hope that Mehmed does not stop loving Lada. I’m sure Lada won’t, because she consciously chose to leave him, but what if Mehmed does? What if their relationship crashes down???? IM SO SCARED :((((
I think that’s long enough. Now, I must find (or create, if need be) a fandom for this book while I die as my heart is stretched over even further until Book 2 comes out.
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