Hello Book World, Libby here,
I am still suffering from a book hangover after And I Darken so I thought I’d write a little midweek blog post about it. The characters are holding on tight in my mind and I’m googling ‘Ottoman Empire’ to try to find out what might become of them, unable to wait patiently for the next book with everyone else.
Lana, or Ladislav Dragwlya, is traded by her father and abandoned alongside her sweet-natured brother Radu in a foreign land only to accidentally make friends with the future Sultan of the whole Ottoman empire, Mehmet. This book is epic. Lada’s character is so well formed, she’s brutal from birth, but becomes all the more bitter and twisted as the book goes on and yet I still managed to really vouch for her. Her confusion over her feelings towards the people she loves seemed really believable. And Radu, poor sweet Radu; he has a pretty hard time emotionally in this book and his character is one I think lots of people can relate to. I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers here but anyone out there who has read it will know what I mean, I’d hope Radu would fare a little better if he were born now.
I’m a bit of a History geek. I studied Classical Civilisations and Latin for A-level (so random, I know!) so when I heard And I Darken was set in the Ottoman Empire, I was sold. It’s a history I have never really studied which is a real shame. Those guys were so interesting and powerful and, in many ways forward thinking. Schools really should study them as standard, And I Darken (and my post read googling) gave me a real insight into the history of Islam too which is fascinating and something school age teenagers could really benefit from. I loved hearing about all the political intrigue and Harem power plays. This book would make an awesome TV series, a sort of Ottoman GOT with added eunuchs and 40 degree Turkish heat. Sounds good to me.
The writing is brilliant too. Detailed, but not overly so. The plot is complex but seriously compelling. I love it when books are told from different perspectives and the swapping between Lada and Radu here works really well because their voices are so different. Even though we never hear the story from Mehmet’s point of view we see him through the eyes of both narrators and that paints a picture of him that is in turns loveable and cruel, venerable but intimidating. It’s very cleverly done.
That ending, though, so much drama! If you guys have read it then PM me or something on insta/twitter so we can talk about it without spoiling it for everyone, Suffice to say; I need book two now! Does anyone have any ideas when it might be out? I want everyone to read it so I have people to discuss with. I’ve even lent my copy to my Mum in the hope that she’ll want to chat with me about it!
Lots of bookish Love,