‘Whatcha readin’?’ the fiancé lovingly asks.
‘Genderswapped Vlad the Impaler’ I reply with a small smile.
But is is beyond cool. As in it is ridiculously cool how much I enjoyed this book and let me tell you all the reasons why!
o 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, 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.
Let me start by saying that my knowledge of fifteenth century history is woefully lacking. Fifth century maybe, even that’s a push, I’m much more of a ‘first century AD’ kind of girl.
But that’s by the by, my point is I cannot comment on the ‘historical accuracy’ of the parts of this book that are supposed to be historically accurate. Nor do I feel like I could tell you that much about it now, so if you’re looking for a way to make learning for a history exam more fun this may not be the book for you?
But, if you’re looking for a thrilling adventure with a phenomenally badass heroine, queer main characters who don’t die, battles, sieges, political intrigue and a smattering of romance…you may have come to the right blog post.
Let’s kick off with our heroine shall we? I adored Lada. Even when you’re probably not supposed to I adored her. She’s such a flawed character in so many ways which when we’re constantly faced with wonderful perfect badass heroines was beyond refreshing. She is made so much more relatable (as relatable as Vlad the Impaler can be) by being someone who makes mistakes and who loses her temper. I don’t think I want to be her friend, but I’d happily be a distant acquaintance.
Radu, oh Radu. I don’t want to spoil things for anyone so I won’t go into detail but this is another wonderfully real character. I identified so much with Lada’s brother and my heart is still hurting for him just a bit…
I could probably blither on about all the things I loved in this book for an hour but I don’t want to bore you (and there’s reading to be done). If you are looking for a fantasy book (dragons, enchantments, warlocks etc.) you will not find that here. This is definitely an ‘alternative history’ fantasy novel. Just to give you fair warning since I think some people were disappointed.
I’m so glad I was able to read this before the release of the sequel Now I Rise which releases June 27th. I would have already preordered this if it weren’t for my spending ban for June so I think I’m going to have to wait for July to get my hands on this. *Sigh*
My rating: 5/5 stars this was amazing
Have you read this yet? Are you equally excited about the sequel? Let’s blither about it together in the comments!
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