I picked this book up because Paperfury had some really good things to say about it and I couldn’t resist reading a book where a European eastern culture is dealt with.
This book is basically a take on Ottoman history’s famous- Vlad Dracula. What if he was a girl? Meet Laga Dragwyla. She and her brother Radu, have been abandoned at the hands of the Ottomans, who she despises. From a very young age, we see Lada being fierce and Radu being gentle and kind, traits that are “expected” to be in the opposite genders.
Then they meet the Ottoman prince Mehmed, and as they grow up with him in the kingdom, their friendship and loyalties are constantly at peril.
PROS: So much betrayal and female badassery. Our main protagonist, Lada was not a character that bounced off of other male characters. She was just really intriguing and bitey on her own. Way ahead of her time, where men were all the rage, she makes a place for herself and not by being a pawn.
Their story as children was all fun but as they grew up the things they were dealing with were more mature and interesting to me. There was a lot of politics, history and religion and normally I stray away from books that deal with religion (especially Islam) because it’s almost always dealt with in a negative light, this book however takes a very non-biased view on it and that was refreshing.
Also, NO LOVE TRIANGLE! That deserves a whole star.
It’s a little gory and a very unconventional Young Adult novel, but I think that’s where its beauty lies. Do be aware that this is NOT a historical fiction. It’s a just a fictional take on history.
There was not a single dull moment. The plot was constantly progressing at a good pace and the characters were so beautiful and adoptable. I loved the writing style and it was overall a really good read. A series that I’m definitely going to continue.
CONS: There was a lot of focus on the love interests once they grew up and that did annoy me a little because I wasn’t really in love with Mehmed… Yikes. Also, even though we are told how fierce she is, we hardly see her kill or go to battle. I’m not saying I want her to go around killing people but I did want more action.
But that’s about all I have to complain about this book.
Final declaration: I would definitely recommend this book for mature young adults out there because this book is a breath of fresh air.
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.
The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.
Lots of love and bloodshed,