Author: Kiersten White
Pub. Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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.
Let’s get this out of the way. If you’re looking for a paranormal story about vampires, you’re not going to get it here you’re not even going to get a magical fantasy so I’m not really sure why the book is being compared to Game of Thrones since most of this stuff really happened.
This is a historical tale about the heirs to the Drăculești throne. And here’s where it gets fun, it’s not a pure historical since Kiersten flipped the script and did a gender swap, Vlad Dracula is now Lada, a girl. If it were a pure historical I may be reviewing this differently since I am such a nerd about the real Vlad Dracul and have studied him and his family for a long time. There’s things that would really make me unhappy with this book but since it’s a gender swap I took my issues off the table and just enjoyed what I was reading. And I loved what I read! I honestly think this is Kiersten’s best book to date!
There’s not much known about Vlad’s life in the Ottoman empire so Kiersten had room to play with Lada’s life there and it was really brilliant! But what historical aspects she did write she wrote well! Kiersten definitely did her research and it showed. She took the historical and blended it with her “twist” into a completely enjoyable story! I will say that the “love triangle” (oh yes there is one) did kind of make me mad because historically there is no proof of a certain character’s sexuality (only speculation) but, there is proof of his undying loyalty to the Ottomans though and therefore I get why she did it. It increases the tension and makes for a good read.
I’m not going to talk about the romance except to say that it was swoon worthy but this wasn’t the heart of the story, at least not in my opinion. This story was about Lada and her strength to become what she needed to be. A warrior, comfortable in her own skin as a woman, and a ruler. I loved her time in the Ottoman empire but I am really looking forward to the next installment when she is back in Wallachia! If Kiersten follows history (as accurately as she can) that’s were all the interesting/fun things start! I NEED BOOK 2 NOW!