First Lines: Lada Dracul had cut through blood and bones to get the castle. That did not mean she wanted to spend time in it. It was a relief to escape the capital.
Hey guys! So I took a little time off there after #HogwartsOctober to get back to reading all the books I’d neglected through October. Now I just have to catch up on my blogging! This was a book that I picked out very soon after I read And I Rise, the second book in this series. That book had been pretty awesome and, while I didn’t exactly care for the first book in this series, I thought this final one would be worth it.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
Radu cannot escape the ghosts of Constantinople. Torn between his duty to Mehmed and his newfound love of the city and its people, Radu ripped himself in half watching the city fall. And now Mehmed is asking him to return to that haunted city, to stand at Mehmed’s side and help him rebuild. Mehmed is more powerful than ever…but Radu also realizes Mehmed is completely alone. Which begs the question, does Radu even want to spend more time with Mehmed? Lada has taken control of Wallachia, her life dream. But Lada can’t rest until she knows that her borders are protected and that no one–including Mehmed–will cross her. Determined to send that message, Lada sends Mehmed an envoy of bodies…a message Mehmed and Radu can’t ignore. They must go to war. Mehmed knows he loves Lada, but that love can be blinding in the worst ways. And Radu fears that he is the only one who is not underestimating his sister…
For the most part, this book continued my appreciation of this series. I fell in love with Radu in the previous book. His sensitive soul and his desire to do the right thing was very compelling, especially when faced against Lada’s unrestrained violence and drive to rule Wallachia.
In this book, both of them played their parts beautifully. Radu is as lovable as ever, perhaps even more so. He realizes by now that he’s probably the only person who sees Lada’s potential; everyone else underestimates her for being a woman.
Lada’s brutality in this book is staggering. Even taking into consideration the brutality of that time period, considering the same brutality Mehmed inflicted on Constantinople in the last book, Lada is violent. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before where a character was this clearly an anti-hero. The amazing thing about White’s writing, though, is that you’re still rooting for her. Even when you’re disgusted by the level she sinks to, you still understand her thought process and that she’s ultimately fighting for a better life for her people. She’s just going about it the wrong way. She does not forgive and she never forgets. It’s beautiful in its brutality. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that’s this violent before. It’s so cavalier about its body count…and for whatever reason, a couple of weeks after finishing it, this is what I remember liking best about it. Probably just because it was shocking.
Because of the fact that this book flips between Radu’s narration and Lada’s, it’s very easy to draw comparisons between the two. I actually really liked that. Their lives diverged so long ago, but here they are on the same Road of Destiny with two very different outlooks on life. It’s a fascinating study in how the way you view the world shapes everything.
The writing is clever and the twists are fun. Sometimes they aren’t as surprising as you expect them to be, but there is still a certain amount of joy to be had from catching them before they are revealed. This was fun to read and the nearer I got to the end, the harder it was to put down.
While Lada isn’t exactly a role model, I have to admit that sometimes we all need to channel her dragon ferocity.