Series: The Conqueror's Saga #1
Published by Delacorte Press on June 28th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Young Adult
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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, 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.
I really did not read much into what this book was about when I picked it up from the library. I had no idea this was a sort of re-telling and re-imagined story of Vlad the Impaler. This take on Vlad gender-swaps the character, now Lada, and gives a great new spin on real historical events.
Definitely an overall great story at its core. I loved Lada’s fierceness and grit. And I loved her brother Radu’s sensitivity. They both had so much depth. My only hang up was the length. It dragged for me at times, especially for the first half when the characters were still young. That section was absolutely necessary and I liked watching these characters grow up and see what made them become the people they are for most of the book, but it was just a little too slow.