I was excited to read this book because
- Really gorgeous cover!
- Set in the Ottoman Empire
- My first historical fiction read
- Main character sounds really cruel
So did the book live up to my expectations?
“NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwyla 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.”
That was pretty much the plot, so I don’t really have much to explain. Although it is a typical plot (being raised in a villain’s home, actually liking the villain but denying it etc) it was well done! The plot is also very rich; full of treachery, envy, passion. Also, since it is set in the Ottoman empire, we do get to read about religions (Islam and Christianity) and cultures. It was interesting because it really felt like the author made us experience the Ottoman life! But I have to say though, this book does contain sensitive contents, specifically the religion part (Islam) because there are parts in the book where the characters do something because of their belief. If you’re not open minded, I suggest not reading this book. Also, the culture of having a harem might not be appealing to some people. Honestly for me, I was fine with it. So it really depends on how you see it!
The writing was great! It was very detailed, maybe a bit too detailed at times since it took me a while to digest some parts of the story. With that said, the world building was splendid! It wasn’t hard to picture the environment; from gloomy Transylvania to lively Edirne! Also, the book is based in the 15th century so we do get to see how the author envisioned how it was back then. So yeah, I’m really happy with that.
Where I do have mixed feelings involves the..characters. We get to meet a lot of characters and they’re all quite complex and unique, so it was great to switch from one character to another and seeing their different point of views. I do like the villains too, they were entertaining! What I didn’t like was the main character/narrator, Lada. From the summary, she sounds really badass and I expected her to be so cruel from the beginning ’til the end but.. she really softened in the book towards the end. And then it became quite boring to read from her part cause she changed from being someone who’s so ruthless to a typical self-conscious 16 (or 17?) year old teen. So I was disappointed with that.
What I also didn’t like is how restrained the whole story became towards the end. It started lacking action and cruelty and more on the (triangle) love story. So instead of focusing on vengeance, the plot was quite focused on the love stories. For me, it became quite boring.
I rated this book on Amazon 4/5 stars. It is a good book, but it wasn’t a great book for me.