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  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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    An epic story!

    This was a truly epic story. This story spans a lot of years and tells a sometimes brutal story. I was hooked by the book from almost the first page. I really couldn't get my mind to focus on anything besides this story until I had reached the end. It was a bigger story than I had expected with a lot of intricately woven layers. The characters were amazingly written and I found myself cheering for both Lada and Radu. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful book. Lada is the daughter of Vlad and she is fierce. The book opens at her birth and even as a very young child, Lada is brutal when needed. Her brother, Radu, does not share the same trait. In every way that Lada is brave and fierce, Radu is sensitive and needs protection. Her father is force to leave both Lada and Radu in the Ottoman courts and they fear that they may never see Wallachia again. By chance, Lada and Radu cross paths with Mehmed as children and from an unlikely friendship. Mehmed is third in line to the throne of the Ottoman empire, a throne he knows he will most likely never hold. He keeps Lada and Radu by his side largely because Lada will not treat him as anything but her equal. I enjoyed the characters in this story. Going into the book, I thought I would fall in love with Lada. Who doesn't love a fierce female character that can hold her own? She isn't pretty but she is brave. I did like Lada a lot but I was more taken with her brother's character, Radu. I didn't realize that there would be as much of a focus on Radu in the story as there was. Radu really grew as a character over the course of the book and he was a character that I found I had a lot of respect for. He was really as resourceful as his sister and could be brave when it was necessary. Mehmed is a character that really left me with conflicting feelings since there were things I loved about him and other things I disliked. The setting of the story was perfectly written. I really could envision this place filled with uncertainty and brutality. The descriptions of everything from the Head Gardeners duties to life in the harem really helped to bring this world to life. I thought that the descriptions of religion in the story was well done and I liked that it was an important part of some of the characters' lives. I would highly recommend this book to others. The story really has so many great elements from the historical setting, great characters, political intrigue, and even a bit of romance. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in this planned trilogy! I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Children's - Delacorte Press via NetGalley.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    AMAZING!!!!

    One of my favourite books of all time... funny, action packed and we'll written.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Could have been better

    I like historical fiction, and this novel does a nice job painting a picture of the Ottoman empire. But it essentially only has three characters in it, everyone else was just background. The story would have been richer if more characters had been developed.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Without a doubt, a 5/5 book.

    To read the full review, please check my blog here.I'm warning you now: it's long... very long...even longer than it is now... and a bit incoherent jumble of emotions. I'M SORRY. :-) Oh, boy. Where do I start? I just finished this book and I'm feeling... empty. Just like Radu here. Okay, now- now, I'm going to take a deep breath and attempt to organize my POOPLOAD of feelings into coherent, or at least slightly coherent, paragraphs, like a NORMAL PERSON. Brace yourself: this is going to be long and might not make much sense. But I'll give it my best shot! To be completely honest, the gorgeous cover initially hooked me in, and I ended up absolutely adoring this book. I adored the rich, dense history, the setting (you can't go wrong with the Ottoman Empire!), the precious evil characters, and the unapologetic STABBINESS of it all. Here are just a couple of thoughts I had about this book. The book was long, but it flew by for me. It had so much potential, and Kiersten White truly delivered! 1. I love fantasy. But this isn't fantasy. And I love history. But this isn't TOTALLY historical. This series will have no vampires and no supernatural elements, so if that's what you were looking for, you're in the wrong place. However, it does have a lot of dense history, and it provides compelling insight on what it was like to live in the 15th century Ottoman Empire, though it's only loosely based on the actual events. Thus the term: historical FICTION. All in all, I like that Kiersten White did her research- after reading this, I obsessively read through the histories of both Mehmed II and Vlad Tepes. To say the least, I was absolutely MINDBLOWN, and if you read this book already, I would totally recommend you do that, too. History is freaking amazing. Just a side comment: did you know that the sultan had a person who oversaw all his turbans? I certainly didn't. 2. There's a lot of stabbing. Backstabbing, heart stabbing, calf stabbing- figuratively and literally, you name it, it's there. With a couple of impalements thrown in, too. Because who doesn't like impaling? However, for a Vlad the Impaler retelling, despite all the stabbings, this isn't exactly- how should I say it- grisly. I have to admit, when I dove into this book, I was expecting a lot less conspiring and a lot more brutal murders. But at its core, this is a book about POWER- the complex threads of politics that choke the Dracul siblings. Basically, to sum it up: everyone's super fake and hates everyone else. I kind of wish Kiersten White included more about the sieges/raids, because the politics of it all can get a bit heavy sometimes. I completely see why such a heavy emphasis was placed on politics, as it undoubtedly played a major role in any ancient empire or kingdom, but some gory battle scenes would be nice, too. 3. This book was a huge testament to the resilience of women in a male-dominated society. Kiersten White skillfully demonstrates that to be strong, you don't necessarily have to run around riding horses and beating down stable boys (although Lada does a lot of that!). These women sacrifice parts of themselves- their bodies, their freedom- to gain more, but never relinquish their dignity. It really reminds me of this one quote- Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. There are so many different types of people portrayed- weak people, strong people, warm people, cruel people. Although many of these women are in the perfect place to waste away, (view spoiler), they refuse to be put down. (view spoiler) 4. ALSO, the characters were all such adorable lil monsters. Don't you just love sweet darling Lada? I certainly do. Lada Dracul, Daughter of the Dragon, is high up there on my last of favorite characters EVER. I have never, ever met a character so unapologetically angry as her- and I loved it. Let me get this straight: she is NOT a good person. She's not one of those "noble" antiheroines, who wax on about how they're "worthless" and "menacing" and "dangerous" but go off and save the world and rescue a kitten from a tree while they're at it and then everyone loves them. It comes without surprise that she does most of the stabbing in the story. It's probably terrible that I root for her... oh well! #TeamLada #BurnThemAll But Lada stays true to what she thinks is right, regardless of what everyone else tells her. She fights to protect what is "hers"- though she may be cruel, she is not a psychopathic monster. Her cruelty is partly a response to the brutal world around her and a means to survive. TO SUM THIS ALL UP: Aside from a few small nitpicky details, this book blew me away. Kiersten White did the infamous Vlad Tepes justice! I would wholeheartedly recommend this amazing novel to any bookworm. Heck, even if you're not a huge fan of YA books, try it out! Maybe you'll fall in love with stabby Lada & Co., just like I did.
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