And I Darken by Kiersten White is one of those books that when you hear the premise
you’re like “Wow this is really cool!” and then well you read it. This book was
pitched as the main character being the female version of Vlad the Impaler. A
gender-swap of a historical figure, who in my opinion is utterly fascinating in a
violent and morbid way. I guess you could say my expectations were set pretty damn
high after that, and I wish I could say this book delivered. I really wanted to
love it, and there were some parts I really enjoyed. However, for the most part
this book was a snooze-fest.
This historical fiction is steeped in political intrigue. I would say the majority
of this book was about navigating the complicated social aspects of politics and
trying not to be stabbed or have your throat slit. Everyone is pretty much out to
get everyone in this book. Survival has just as much to do with your alliances as
well as how well you play your part in the grand scheme of things. Which okay that
sounds interesting right? Except in this case, it makes for an extremely slow
moving plot from the beginning to about 65% into the book.
The detail in this book was a bit overwhelming. I literally felt like someone was
trying to do a mass download to my brain while reading this. I love me some world
building, but this was too much. It would overcome the story at times because of
the amount of information dumping.
Another issue I had was the love triangle in this book. Love triangles are a pet
peeve of mine as a reader. They drive me nuts. This one has unrequited love in
spades. No one expresses how they feel and there is so much angst. I’m talking
angst on steroids especially on Lada’s part.
So what parts did I like? That ending…wow. Also,I really enjoyed the characters.
They are manipulative and scheming liars. The whole lot of them, especially Lada.
She is just downright cruel, which I found entertaining for the most part. If you
are looking for characters that you will love to hate then you will definitely find
them in this book. As much as I found Lada entertaining to read, she was not my
favorite. My favorite character in this book is Radu. He has the unfortunate luck
of being Lada’s baby brother. He grows up being abused, neglected, and mocked by
his family. Most of the neglect and “tough love” is provided by Lada who thinks
Radu is too soft to survive on his own. Radu is kind, loving, gentle, intelligent,
and loyal. He shows the most growth from all the characters. He starts out as this
weak little boy and grows into a young man that navigates the politics of higher
Overall, And I Darken was an okay read. I admit was fairly disappointed by the
first 65% of the book. That ending though…wow. If only the rest of the book was
like that ending then I would have loved it. I have so many issues with this book,
mainly that it just did not catch my interest. I ended up rating this a 2.5 stars
out of 5. If you like historical fiction that is steeped in political intrigue then
this might be the book for you. Unfortunately this book just was not for me and I
will not be continuing on with the series.