This month I got my first YA chronicles box, and in it came the YA new release, And I Darken by Kiersen White.
What’s it about: It’s a Vlad the Impaler-based historical fiction if Vlad the Impaler was a teenage girl, who did no actual impaling, but a moderate amount of stabbing. Oh and EVERYONE has serious daddy issues.
What I thought: I wanted to love it, but I just didn’t. I did like it though. Firstly, it was not fantasy, which is fine, but it just shouldn’t be marketed that way.
Firstly, it was far too long, and by halfway through was getting a bit repetitive. This book clocks in at just under 500 pages, and just not that much happens, even when there is plenty of opportunity for some action. When something starts happening, it usually wraps up really quickly, and often even ‘off camera’ so to speak. This book probably could have ditched about 100 pages and been better for it.
Secondly, I hated the romance. Lada, one of our two main protagonists (the other being her brother Radu) was into a guy who was an utter waste of space. He not only had no appealing qualities, he had zero personality at all, and Lada should not have put up with his bullshit, because he’s just an asshole. Move on Lada, you can do better. besides from the love interest being a complete assface, the romance felt forced.
While I did like Lada as a character, I did find her a bit flippant, and would have one opinion that would just rapidly change a few pages later without any real reason. I think I would have liked her far more without the romance component, which honestly, made me lose respect for her. I can’t really explain it without spoilers, but she let that jerkwad get away with way too much. Lada is an extremely tough and lethal character, but she didn’t do anywhere near as much stabbing as I would have liked (is that wrong?). I wanted more darkness from her.
Radu was probably my favourite of the main characters as he seemed to have the most depth to him. Radu is a sweet boy with big puppy dog eyes which he uses to manipulate others. And he’s really good at it. And he’s genuinely a nice person.
The best thing about this book is the fantastically written setting. There has clearly been a TON of research gone into writing this book, and if all the foreign words are confusing and it’s getting to be a bit much for you, never fear! There is a handy glossary at the back (dear publishers, please put these at the front, because it’s better to know they are there before you finish than after).
I found this book incredibly readable, but it does drag in parts. And I did enjoy it, it’s just really difficult to list any reasons why. I can list heaps of things I didn’t like about it, but not much that I did, but that’s not to mean that I hated it. I didn’t hate it at all. I just cant put my finger on what I liked about it (reviewer FAIL!). It’s a good book, but it just isn’t great. However, a ton of people are really loving this book, and I think if you were able to get into the romance (which I was NOT) then you would probably enjoy it a lot more than I did.
I rate is 3/5 stars.
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