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.
One thing I really loved about this book is that it is really diverse, and I went in not expecting it the way it was. I don't know how to explain how much I love this book but oh my god, do I love it. Lada is one of my most favorite of favorite female characters ever. She is evil. She is strong. She is cunning. ANNNNND She knows it, and isn't afraid to let you know that she knows she is all of the above things. Lada is based on Vlad the Impaler but oh my gosh. She can stand up as character all on her own.
There is a lot of politics in this book and it doesn't read like your average YA. There were a couple of minor things that happened in this novel that caused me dock a star off, but oh am I looking forward to the sequel "Now I Rise" that comes out in June.
I loved Lada and Radu, but oh Mehmed. I don't like you. At all. I'm not going to hide it. You're a little assclown who can go die in a fire.. <3