Release Date: July 2016
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Plot: No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.
After talking to myself (and anyone else who would listen), I’ve figured out what I liked and what I disliked about this book.
Firstly, about 90% of the book I thoroughly enjoyed. It was slow moving, but it just meant that the story was rich in setting, tension, political intrigue and showed how slow the process of rule and politics can be. I loved the characters, how complicated they were and how evil they could become.
But, unfortunately, a lot of that has been relegated to the bench because of how disappointing the romance was. The fact that there was romance alone made it so unfortunate and unnecessary. Is that how back stories to evil characters are? Do they always have a romance that was a bit sad and rubbish and that’s what makes them awful? I liked that Lada was clearly evil and nasty to begin with, but for a potential villain to ‘not know her emotions’ when it came to a boy was honestly just so boring.
And the fact that Radu, sweet and lovely Radu, is friendzoned (I hate this phrase, but I was annoyed for him in this sense) throughout the book and it’s just accepted. It’s a common theme that unrequited love is just a thing that has to happen for some, for who, however, I won’t spoil. Maybe I am just a salty person when it comes to a character not getting the love they deserve? There were so many instances where Radu could have been happy, and he always just chose the wrong way, and it infuriated me how obsessed and blindly in love he was.
It may seem that I HATED 90% of the book, but I still stand by what I said at the beginning.
This book was well written and drawn out superbly, and I am intrigued to see what happens in the next, but it was also really annoying.