“And I Darken” Gleams


Set years in the past, Kiersten’s White, “And I Darken,” is a work of historical fiction that combines well-developed characters and a cunning plot, weaving them together to create a wicked story. It follows the lives of Lada and Radu, sister and brother as they struggle to find a place for themselves in the Ottoman’s society. When they meet Mehmed, the future sultan, their lives change in ways that neither of them would have ever expected.

Thanks to extensive research, White is able to recreate how the world would have been back then. However, she makes a major change when she gender bends Vlad the Impaler and makes him Lada.

What stood out to me about this book is how Lada is an anti-hero, you can see her struggling with her decisions throughout the book and how the world shapes her. This makes the story all the more thrilling and different from other Young Adult (YA) novels. White’s way of narrating the story as the siblings grow is completely believable, and the reader is able to see how they mature as the years pass.

Another great thing about the book is that it combines events that actually happened, but does this in a way that captivates the reader and creates a story. There isn’t a wide variety of historical fiction for teens because it’s difficult to combine the events and still make a story that has enough things happening for the YA audience.

I would give this book five out of five stars and recommend it to anyone who would like to read, as Alexandra Bracken, bestselling author of Passenger, said, “A dark jewel of a story, one that gleams with fierce, cunning characters. Absolutely riveting.”