This book was given to me by NetGalley as an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I love historical fiction and I love reading about places and historical figures that I don’t know much about. This novel gave me that opportunity. I don’t want to give it more of an introduction than that so let me just start my review now!
Lada Dragwyla is a princess who prides herself on her brutality. Ever since she was sent away from Wallachia with her younger (and gentler) brother, Radu, Lada has used her ruthlessness to survive in the Ottoman courts. Their lineage means they are safe from harm, but Lada knows that status can change at any moment; they are mere pawns in a vicious power game. Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, waiting for the perfect opportunity during which she can claim her birthright and return to Wallachia. But for her younger brother, the Ottoman court has been a place where he can think and be himself – whoever that may be. When they meet Mehmed, the lonely son of the Sultan, Radu finds himself hopeful of making a new friend, while Lada considers him as a worthy opponent … who can be more. But Mehmed isn’t just a lonely boy, he is the heir to the very empire Lada has sworn to destroy – and which Radu considers as home. It is now a strength of will and friendship to see whether the bonds between Lada, Radu, and Mehmed can handle the strains that they put on them.
Let me start off by saying that the character of Lada is extremely vicious and extremely cool. She is the warrior woman who represents the strength and ability of every woman. Her character is ruthless to a fault and is just downright scary – but that is what makes her so unique and makes me like her so much. The story itself is intricate; there is so much detail given that it feels like you are really living alongside the characters. The emotions and changes of the main characters as they grow up in this cruel world is captured perfectly and really sets the mood throughout this story. I am so glad I was given the chance to read this novel and I strongly recommend this to anyone looking for a novel with historical facts and badass characters and a story line you aren’t likely to forget anytime soon!