Title: And I Darken ***
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror’s Saga, #1
Cupcake: Strawberry Hi-Hat
Quick Rating: 2 stars
I’ve been stalling with this one. There was so much potential and it just didn’t work for me. I started in February and intended to just explode through it- it was A GENDER SWAPPED VLAD THE IMPALER. OF COURSE I WAS GOING TO LOVE IT. And then…I got about 1/3 through and kind of…stopped. For several months. Then all of a sudden I read another 1/3- and stopped again. The second time, I decided to just give up. It was going nowhere fast, the characters were annoying me, and I just didn’t see any end– any time when Lada was going to, well, conquer. She was just a sad, mean girl.
I mean, the plot wasn’t bad, and if I hadn’t started the book with the expectation of reading a head-rolling, heart-breaking novel, I probably would have enjoyed the political intrigue and palace head games.
But I wanted conquering. A girl. Conquering. I didn’t realize it was a trilogy until after I had given up, so this makes sense now. But the characters just grated on my nerves.
Maybe it was the lull of a 500 page novel, that stereotypical slow spot. Or maybe it wasn’t slow, and I just stopped caring. But I was so frustrated with the inconsistency of Lada’s character, for one. First, she was bloodthirsty, determined to take back her country, to destroy those who had tried to destroy her. The next, she’s drooling over Mehmed.
Okay. Stop. I get it- she’s a girl, she’s allowed to have feelings, and this is great complex character development. BUT I DIDN’T CARE. This would have been great AFTER she did some conquering.
But my biggest problem was Radu. I HATED HIM. He was seriously the most annoying character I have read in a long, long time. There were SO MANY chapters from his POV, and say what you will, but I started And I Darken to read about female Vlad the Impaler, not Vlad’s little brother having an identity crisis or political awakening or spiritual enlightenment or whatever was going on with him. That may have been what made me put it down- after so much information about Radu, and Lada only being weak and sort of crazy (not in a conquering way), I was just kind of over it.
This review is getting too long.
Let me just end by saying this: I think a lot of people will REALLY like this book– but only if you go into it with the idea that it’s only going to be the introduction to a character and all the development of the world and surrounding cast, not a rip-roaring, head-rolling explosion of a book. So it fell flat for me- but if this book appealed to you, and you want to give it a try, I fully support that. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t for you!
Just like Lada, these dipped cupcakes seem simple, straightforward, and easy to read at first glance. But also like her, they are surprising when examined more closely. The strawberry jam filling and strawberry buttercream frosting are a burst of sweetness when you least expect it. Get the recipe by Molly Yeh at the Betty Crocker website.
What are your favorite cupcake recipes? Any that you think would fit the last book you read? Let me know and keep cupcaking!
***by the way, that there is the UK cover of And I Darken, which I absolutely love. You probably are more familiar with the US cover, which is a blade cutting through purple flowers and also awesome.