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 am so torn on this book. On one hand, it’s White’s best work to date. Gorgeous settings, breathtaking prose, fascinating characters, and perfect pacing. I was in love. But on the other hand, I can no longer recommend White as a “safe bet” author when it comes to content. There was far too much of a focus on their growing sexuality for my taste. Still, I couldn’t stop listening. It is a beautiful book, despite Lada being based on Vlad the Impaler.
Score: (3 / 5)
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