C.G. Drews's Reviews > And I Darken

And I Darken by Kiersten White
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Jul 05, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, read-2016, young-adult, 4-star, read-2017, reread
Read 2 times. Last read June 1, 2017 to June 21, 2017.

REREAD: Because when it comes to needing to read a sequel...do I remember the first book? HA. I know nothing, Jon Snow. But this is the kind of book that really grew on me the more I thought about it. Several things still bugged me with my reread, but truuuuly I love this story. <3 It is the finest of historical fiction and the characters have caught my heart.

This news just in: Radu is the most kind and precious and beautiful cinnamon roll of ever and also totally a cunning Slytherin. I call it.

I really appreciated the world building more this time! And the detail with the historical elements! I listened to an audio so that also helped me focus a lot more. I do think the ending was a teeny bit slow and Mehmed is so frustrating (he is just a spoiled prince tho) and I wish Radu would find someone better to love him as he truly deserves to be loved <3 RADU NEEDS ALL THE LOVE. I also wonder if Lada is possibly asexual? I feel like she liked Mehmed because he treated her as a person, not an object, but I still don't feel like she had any sexual want for him?

OKAY I NEED THE SEQUEL BADLY.I'm so ready for this. Bring on my dragon queen Lada and my slytherin rainbow Radu and hopefully the chance for them to rule the world. I'm just sayin'.


WELL. WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN WITH MY MAMMOTH TEAPOT LOAD OF THOUGHTS??? Because I have many, my fiends. The trouble is this book had an enormous load of potential with all the epic characters and much stabbing -- and yet???? It felt dry. Although at the same time I appreciate how UNIQUE the story is and how amazing all the historical elements are.

So basically I am like so:

Me: This was deadly boring.
Brain: But the characters were precious violent cinnamon rolls.
Me: But I napped.
Brain: But gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler.
Me: ...
Brain: RIGHT???

(Myself and I have very stimulating conversations btw.)

BUT ONWARDS SINCE I SHOULD PROBABLY REVIEW THIS BEAST TOO. Today I'm going to give you a list of Things This Book Is About: So you know what to expect when you read it! Because I'm sure it would appeal to a LOT of people. But I think you also need to know what you're in for because it ain't your average YA.


It is NOT fantasy.
Whoever is bopping around the internet saying "Ooh fantasy!" is WRONG and needs to sit down. This is historical fiction. Granted it is gender-swapped, but I don't call that fantasy! I call that a retelling. So it's a sort of historical fiction retelling. But there is zero magic okay? OKAY. I think this needs to be cleared up!!

• It is very very very political.
It almost reminded me of Game of Thrones in that respect? Because basically it is 90% about who is at war with who and who wants to stab and impale who (spoiler: EVERYONE WANTS TO STAB EVERYONE) and alliances and broken alliances and who gets the throne and yadda yadda ya. I mean it was interesting but at the same time it was deathly confusing. I napped. I did. Guilty as charged, Marge.

Like this is definitely not a bad thing if you like historical facts. Except (A) not all the facts ARE historical (the author mentions this in her note at the end) so I don't know whether to run around spewing details about this era or not, which is a bummer. And (B) there was too much. It actually drowned the story at times because we were too busy being told all these DETAILS about all these PEOPLE GROUPS who hated each other. Like seriously, please summarise: EVERYONE DISTRUSTS EVERYONE AND THERE'S STABBING. <-- Look I wrote the book in 6 words. I fully admit that it was so plot driven at times that I just felt my brain switching off.

• But the characters were precious murderous darlings.
Often I read books where the book crows "this character is so bad!" and the character, like, sneezes on a puppy and doesn't apologise or whatever. YOU GET NONE OF THAT HERE. Lada is downright CRUEL. She stabs and bites and she's 100% feral and wild and omg, she's amazing. I loved her. She is the most violent thing I've read in a long time. (And, that saying, the book isn't actually written very graphically, so rest your wee hearts in peace.) But BOOYAH! Lada is not the only narrating character. It's actually 50% Lada and 50% Radu. I loved this because Radu was probably my favourite thing ever. He's the "weak" one. He spent his childhood being abused and neglected (chiefly by Lada) and yet they still have this really strong bond? They are the only ones who trust each other. I REALLY LOVED THEIR SIBLING DYNAMICS. I honestly put these 2 characters as some of my favourites of ever. Which is why it pains me that the PLOT WAS SO DAMN BORING.

• Romance? We gotcha romance.
It is a love triangle. But I'm going to call it an Unrequited Oblivious Triangle Wherein No One Expresses Feelings And Everyone Is Somewhat Awful. <--- Much more accurate tbh. You're welcome.

See, there is this young Sultan named MEHMED who is actually a little beast but also a winning little battling hellion. He loves Lada. Lada takes a loooooooooooooooooong time to love him back. Radu? RADU IS SO FREAKING IN LOVE WITH MEHMED THAT RADU BASICALLY PACKS HIMSELF OFF SO HE CAN NEVER SEE MEHMED AGAIN. #logic Mehmed has 0% of an idea that Radu loves him so much. Do you see what I mean??? It ain't your average triangle. Considering most of the parties don't even realise the other parties have feelings.

And tbh, who has real feelings around here???? They're all so insane and stabby. (Except for Radu who is only 16% stabby and the rest of the time he's charming people and manipulating and spying. GO RADU. But I digress.)

• It's 500 pages.
That, in itself, tells you a lot. AKA = it's tooooo loooooooong. Like I said, there is a TEAPOT LOAD of just explanations about political things. Like, I don't even know, mate, I was so bored. Then there are scenes of wars and battles and running for your life and assassination attempts. There is, obviously, impaling. But not as much as I expected. My favourite scenes were the conversations between Mehmed and Lada and Radu. They were such an awesome and complex and dynamic trio. I will squish them. But I honestly wish the book had been half as long and involved MORE ACTION instead of so much telling vs showing. (I want to SEE, not just be told!) Also there were far too many minor characters. I'm talking DOZENS OF 'EM. I don't even know who was who and heaven help me before I can recall any names. There's a grand betrayal at the end and when it happens I'm like "Say who now does what and why?" because I remembered NO ONE.

• It's actually not super graphic.
I thought it might be?? And while sometimes, stylistically, it read like an adult historical fiction....it really kept the murder and mayhem to TELLING you about it rather than showing. I mean, don't get me wrong, we do have scenes where people are impaled. And stabbed. But altogether, I don't think it was really that bloody. (Well, apart from Lada really torturing eveyrone around here, but she didn't kill them. She was a brutal kid.)

You know what? I'm going to have fond feelings for this book. It wasn't an easy read. It was gritty and brutal and cruel and it was intense and actually kind of emotional?! I FREAKING LOVED THE CHARACTERS SO VERY MUCH. I will definitely read more books because I want to know what happens! Even though I am rather confused about the details! Huzzah confusion! It is my middle name apparently!

Definitely try this one if you like (A) historical fiction, (B) actually brutal characters, (C) stabbing, (D) tragic precious darlings who turn out to be wicked intelligent, and (E) complex worlds.

Although, confession, I'm horribly disappointed it's not Vladette the Impaler. I mean, MISSED OPPORTUNITY THERE. Apparently Ladislav is the female version of Vlad. Which is probably more logical than Vladette, but, ya know. #disappointed
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Reading Progress

July 5, 2016 – Started Reading
July 5, 2016 – Shelved
July 5, 2016 –
page 100
21.05% "I feel like this is more history book than actual story. PLENTY OF IMPALING SO FAR THO."
July 5, 2016 –
page 247
52.0% "The characters are epic stabby creatures (whom I would not want to be friends with EVER btw because hello I like life) but the actual plot is very very very very...dry."
July 6, 2016 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 6, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
July 6, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 6, 2016 – Finished Reading
July 23, 2016 – Shelved as: 4-star
June 1, 2017 – Started Reading
June 1, 2017 –
page 20
4.21% "RE-READ TIME.

Also I have a slight opinion that both Lada and Radu are Slytherins, but just showing it via really different methods. I mean, they're both cunning, right?! Or Radu is a Slytherpuff.

Hush, yes this is important."
June 3, 2017 –
page 300
63.16% "raise thine hand if you think Radu IS THE MOST PRECIOUS CREATURE IN THE WORLD AND MUST BE PROTECTED"
June 21, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
June 21, 2017 – Finished Reading
July 3, 2017 – Shelved as: reread

Comments (showing 1-36 of 36) (36 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Abigail That describes exactly how I feel about it! I feel rather knowledgeable now on the art of impaling >_<

Lia  This review is downright hilarious x) And I kind of love boring historical facts and very political books, so I think I might like this one? Still, incredible review!

message 3: by Rbooks (new) - added it

Rbooks Hilarious review ! Your sense of humor is the only humor I need in my life

message 4: by Emily (theBookishLounge) (last edited Jul 06, 2016 03:44AM) (new) - added it

Emily (theBookishLounge) Hilarious review but now I'm torn. I don't like when authors tell rather than show and when there are too many minor characters, but it sounds really intense and I love when promised stabbiness is delivered at epic levels. Bummer about the lacking graphics though :(

message 5: by Julia (new)

Julia Ember If mine doesn't arrive today I will curl in a ball and sob.

Ketiana Osias I love your reviews so much lol :-D Is adored this book! I gave it 5 stars because I'm one of those people who love politicals, history, and Brut characters! This book was perfect for me!

C.G. Drews @Giulia: omg thankyou!


@Emily: Yes, eep, it's a hard one! I definitely liked it, but I think there was a lot of missed potential which is sad.

C.G. Drews @Julia: I WILL SOB WITH YOU.

@Ketiana: I'm glad you loved it so much!! I think it was wonderful and I enjoyed it, I just felt a bit lost and befuddled too often hahha. XD

message 9: by Fadwa (new)

Fadwa (Word Wonders) I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS REVIEW SO MUCH ! I actually love all your reviews. I'm eager to read this book just for the characters' sake because everyone says they're awesome cruel things. GIMME NOW !

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Fadwa: AWWW THANKYOU! YOU ARE KIND. :') And I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

Alexa Awesome review! It's funny, everything that didn't work for you worked for me SO WELL. This is my favourite book of the year! I love how Lada is ACTUALLY ruthless and badass. I find there was a lot more showing than telling than you seem to think, especially when it came to Lada's ruthlessness, but agree to disagree!

Are you going to pick up the next one when it comes out? :)

Ketiana Osias omg all the grammar errors on my comment :-( sorry about that!

message 13: by mali (new)

mali basically all the things you listed was what I thought, except that I didn't finish the book though.

message 14: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Alexa: Just goes to show how subjective reading is, right?!? XD And YES. I was so impressed with Lada actually. I said it in the review! I'm really glad she was actually ruthless.

@EatTheBooks: Aw, well, I understand! Not every book is for everyone.

message 15: by evi (new) - rated it 4 stars

evi YES to everything in this review, because it's so so accurate. The characters (and descriptions) were honestly great, and then the history was kinda interesting but mostly like "WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING WHAT OH LOOK SOMEONE'S DEAD WHAT"

Cassie I'm sad you didn't love this as much as I did, but YAY for the stabby characters!!

message 17: by Mary (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mary This review is perfect. You managed to capture exactly how I felt about it as well.

Alexa You and I have the same feelings about this book instead I think I gave it like 4 or 5 because I was like YES ALL THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AHAHAHAH. It was super slow but to me it was comfortably slow and I didn't really mind it because the characters were so good. Also that love triangle amiright?

Shelbie Ammirati I just finished this and I love this damn review. I laughed the whole time. Can we be friends and teach me your great reviewing ways (plus you're awesome, no reviews involved) I could have cake too...bribery? Nahhhh..not me

message 20: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Shelbie: AWW THANKS. I'm glad you like my reviews.

message 21: by Esther (new)

Esther Fantasy) Um. THANK YOU FOR THIS REVIEW. No magic??? No thanks. HISTORY? I'm running the other way. POLITICS/GAME OF THRONES???????? Okay I'm already long gone by now. I am so glad because I was so on the fence about this (pretty cover and murderous people??? come on!). Needless to say NOW I AM NOT.

message 22: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars


message 23: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Jilmer Great review. I've read this book last September and enjoyed the hell out of it. It didn't bore me but maybe that's because this is my first time reading a Historical Fiction/Retelling book. I did think it was hardcore fantasy when I picked it up (because the cover looked magical to me??) but that did not stop me from having a great time!

I think the 2nd book will involve a lot more action because of the ending. Here's to IMPALING!

message 24: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Mark: YAS. I cannot wait for the next books!! It actually has grown a lot on me over time and I want to give it all the stars and plan to re-read it soon. afjdksal the stabby little psychotic darlings.

message 25: by Charley (new)

Charley Robson A'ight, I'm getting my grubby little paws on this one. Stabbing and sneaking and politics and history? YAAAASS.

Fantastical Geek (Atarashii Sekai) Great review! I love your style of reviewing. :3

And lol, I love all of those things in a book. Except for the homosexual bit, but it's everywhere these days.

I think I'll go add this to my TBR (and the first.)

Fantastical Geek (Atarashii Sekai) The sequel. Totally meant the sequel. Sorry, I'm on my kindle. XP

Katie (Bookwise) *throws myself out of my chair bc simply raising my hand isn't enough*

message 29: by Bara (new) - added it

Bara Finally someone who doesn't hate Radu. I feel so bad when characters are misunderstood. As in, not that one shall pretend everyone even the evilest villain is absolutely sweet and perfect but even those have depths and then there are readers who just dislike someone because of some insignificant detail and argh! it's so frustrating. I'm like: wait, the story arc and character development isn't over yet.

message 30: by Camillea (new) - added it

Camillea ok, ok, I'm gonna give this book I read!

Stella (Paper Wings) "Precious violent cinnamon rolls" 😂 sig

Stella (Paper Wings) n me up!

Stella (Paper Wings) (no idea why that split in two... :/ )

message 34: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars


@Stella: XDXD I hope you like it!

16SKhanaggs.Bfet.Uk Mehmed is possibly the worst character in the book. I mean he claims to love lads but has TWO KIDS with other women and freaks out when Ladas "husband" bogdan is found! Like wth! I hope lada and mehmed meet in the next book to CRUSH HIS HEART,MWAAHAAHAA!!!!

16SKhanaggs.Bfet.Uk Also lads is SUPER BADASS and I also like radu;mehmed does not deserve either of them

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