From the publisher: 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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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. From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken. *******
Lada Dragwyla is not going to be your garden variety princess. There is nothing gracious or gentle about this female. She is utterly determined to be as tough and physical as she can be. She has no sympathy for anyone but she will fight to the death to protect her younger brother, Radu as the two are coming of age in Wallachia (modern day Romania) in the shadow of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s.
What she doesn’t bargain for is the weakness of her father who bows down before the royalty of the Ottoman Empire. He leaves both of his children as guarantees that he will be loyal to the deal he made. Now Lada and Radu are virtually prisoners in this strange, unwelcoming world.
But, it is here that Lada and Radu meet Mehmed, third in line to the throne. The three become great friends and with the potential for something more.
This is the 15th century and political intrigue and warring kingdoms are commonplace. Where will Lada’s loyalty lie and will she have any say over her future.
This is a character-driven story rich in the history of this time period. How would a young woman born into the 1400s maneuver successfully to get what she feels is her rightful place? This is the story of a ruthless female (fictionalized version of Vlad the Impaler) who fights to claim her power and her love.
Action is few and far between. Relationships change subtly. If the history of Romania calls to you, this will be a satisfying read.
Mild romantic encounters..not graphic. Tone: a little dark; main character is fairly cold; brother is a bit more sympathetic; Pacing: Moderate
Intensity: Moderate Sequel: Now I Rise
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
978-0553522310 Ages 12 and up 407 pages