Published: June 28th 2016 by Delacorte Press
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 have had this book on my TBR for a while now – even before its release! I know nothing about the Ottoman Empire, or Vlad the Impaler for that matter – so I basically went into this book blind. I mostly enjoyed this book, but some parts felt slow and dragged way too much!
Lada is scary. Right from the very beginning of the book, she is someone who I would not want to cross in the middle of a dark alley… or really anywhere. Just don’t cross her… she will most likely stab you.I loved the fact that Lada was trying to make more of herself despite the fact that she is a woman. She understands that she most likely won’t get very far, but she doesn’t let that stop her! However, she was really really really stubborn. Like, really stubborn. I kept wanting to bang her head against the wall! I mean, seriously, why can’t you just accept what is??
I loved Radu. He was so cute and fluffy and I just want to adopt him! Is that possible? I think he made the most change and came the furthest throughout the book. While he was a man, everyone ignored him and saw him as weak because he didn’t act like the shabby brother Mircea. Or his father for that matter – therefore he was ridiculed and bullied throughout his entire life. He came the furthest, however, because he made something of himself and turned to what he was good at: which appeared to be somewhat like Lord Varys from GoT. He accepted who he was and what he was and his feelings for certain things and certain people and, while he struggled with them, he was the honest one out of all of them.
I loved the relationship that the two had with Mehmed. They were all in their own way, privileged captives and they all wanted to be free of one thing or another. However, their relationship became way too complicated with adulthood and feelings; with bouts of unrequited love and not knowing that someone is in love with you, whilst being in love with someone else… It was all pretty much a secret mess. I don’t want to give too much away, but some of it was cute and some of it made me sad and some of it made me angry.
There were way too many supporting characters to keep track of! I was introduced to a character somewhere around the beginning and then, when re introduced to him, I couldn’t remember who he was because there were just so many names and faces to remember! It got confusing at some points trying to remember who was who and who hated who etc. It was tiring – I needed a nap. That’s all I am saying! Maybe I should go into the next book with a notepad and pen?
The plot felt a little dry and slow at some points. There were times where I couldn’t put the book down and others that felt like I was dragging myself through the mud to get to a better point in the book. Even at some points I had to put this book down because it all felt like too much! There was a major info dump and I am not the best at remembering that much information!! I was going to give this book 3 stars, but I felt like the twist at the ending deserved a star all on its own because I just wasn’t expecting it. I felt betrayed and everything!
This book was a little slow in places, better in others with way too many supporting characters. I am not exactly pining after the next book, but I will read it when it comes out! I gave this book 4/5 stars.
Have you read this book? What did you think?