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, 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.
I heard mixed reviews of this book and when I checked it out I thought it be something I enjoy and it be something I don’t read much of, historical fiction. After reading it I can say while it is not my go to genre I still really enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. We follow Lada and her brother Radu basically since birth. As they being used as pawns in a major political power struggle. Mehmed, the son of a sultan is also a main character. Lada is the coldhearted, cruel and calculating one. She will stop at nothing to protect herself but also Radu her brother. While she is pretty cruel and cold, you can’t help but feel for her as you follow her through life. She is born in a time where girls where nothing more than a breeding machine, but she doesn’t want anything to do with that stigma. She wants to fight along the men. We also have Radu her brother; he is the complete opposite to her. At first he seemed weak and whiney but as you get to know him better you see that is not the case. He has other strengths he uses in this ongoing battle. You also can’t help to feel for him. While he is not cruel at all he still has his own battles . I jusat wanted to hug him and tell him everything will be fine…. I hope/ Next we have Mehmed and I must say I kept flip flopping with him. One time I liked him and the next I doubted him. One thing is for sure he grew in character the more powerful he became. I must say he was rather funny and actually brought some humor in this rather darkish book. Overall I really enjoyed this book. While it was rather slow paced it still kept me glued to the pages and I had hard time putting it down. Romance is also a big part of it. There is sort of a love triangle but yet not. It is hard to explain without spoiling it . It is also political and some religious aspects as we go through their time in the Ottoman Empire. But I was never bored and it has many unique twists and turns in it which kept you asking for more. I look very much forward to the next book.
I rate it 4★
Some of my favorite quotes:
“The last time she was up here, she had been... staring up at the sky and dreaming of stars. Now, she looked down and plotted flames.”
“..If anyone is going to kill you, it will be me. Understand?" Radu nodded, snuggling into her shoulder. "Will you protect me? "Until the day I kill you." She jabbed a finger into his side, where he was most ticklish, and he squealed with pained laughter.”
“She plucked a rose and held it to her face. She hated the way roses smelled, their sweetness too fragile. She wanted a garden of evergreens. A garden of stones. A garden of swords.”
“The sooner you stop fighting, the easier your life will be. That is what your purpose is." Lana stood so abruptly she nearly fell backward. "No.”
KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; and Illusions of Fate. She also coauthored In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further away times. Visit Kiersten online at kierstenwhite.com and follow @kierstenwhite on Twitter.