Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Romance
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N
Synopsis: 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.
“Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.”
I'm almost heartbroken writing this review because I am so in love with Lada and the idea behind this book, but it did not reach its potential. It could have been so much better!
If you're a history buff, you know about Vlad the Impaler. If you don't, well he was the prince of Wallachia, a well known hero in Romania and Bulgaria for protecting them and fighting with the Ottoman. Well this is his story, only if he was born a woman instead of a man.
Doesn't that just sound wonderful? A powerful woman in the 1400's achieving ruler status and fighting among the men? Because that's what I was thinking when I got into the book, but I was a bit disappointed.
First I'd like to make a note on the history in this book. While it is based on historical facts that did happen, not all facts in this book are historical. Either way, there is a lot of history in the book, tons of facts especially about politics, which is great if you're into that stuff, but if you're not (like me) it can get a little bit boring at times. With a 500 page book filled with this many facts, there was a lot of times I just skipped over all the political times just skipping to the parts with Lada.
Now let me tell you about the characters. Lada is a wild, crazy and a bloodthirsty bish! AND I LOVED HER FOR IT! Hoping for the approval of her father, Lada does her best to be an emotionless fighter her father wanted a son to be. She learned to fight better than the boys, and was never afraid to protect her weak little brother Radu. As she gets older, her fierceness and intelligence grows and she becomes such a strong woman. Honestly my explanation doesn't do her any justice but just trust me when I say you'll love her.
On the other hand, theres her brother Radu. He is a complete opposite of Lada. Weak, fearful and scared. He remains like that all the way from birth till about the last 100 pages in the book. Honestly, I don't remember the last time I hated a character so much. On my "Most Hated Book Characters List" He is #2, right under Dolores Umbridge. He is just such a weak little crybaby, he doesn't know how to stand up of himself, and just expects Lada to do all the fighting for him. Now you'd think this is where the character growth would happen, BUT NO! He just keeps making the same mistakes over and over again, hoping for the better but never doing anything to help himself. You'd think he'd take actions into his own hands and learn to fight or do something really smart to make up for it. I guess he does at the very end but, honestly, its a long book and it was really hard to wait that long.
I'm not going to talk about the romance in the story, but let me tell you... IT WAS PRETTY GOOD! I want you guys to be 100% surprised. Just a warning, the romance doesn't start till at least halfway in the book.
Overall, this book could have been so much better if it was a bit shorter and had some super boring historical facts cut out. I would give this book two stars, but my love for Lada bumped it up to 3.
I would still recommend giving this book a try if you have time, or if you are a historical buff.