Publishing Date: June 28, 2016
This is a dark novel set during a period of unrest within the Ottoman Empire. Lada, short for Ladislav, is a young girl determined to win her fathers respect and affection and protect Radu her younger brother. Unfortunately her father is a useless excuse for a vassal king and she has to constantly compete and show how unafraid and vicious she can be to do so. Fast forward a couple of years and the pair are being held as surety by the Ottoman empire. While there they befriend Mehmehd, middle son of the existing Sultan and this changes their lives forever. Amazon lists the reading age for this book at 12 & up, but I would recommend parental guidance instead of just listing the age as the limit as religion and sexuality are openly discussed in parts of this book, though there are no outright sexual scenes. The thing that I did not like about this book was the character of Halil Pasha, Kiersten White spent quite a bit of time developing his character and about 2 secconds destroying him in the end. It seemed a little too easy. Overall I disagree with other reviews I read about this book, while it is dark, the title tells you that in the beginning and after all, everything in life is not Love and Sunshine so why should you expect a book to be.
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, who’s expected to rule a nation, 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.
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.
About the Author
KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Timesbestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; and Illusions of Fate. She also coauthored In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further away times. Visit Kiersten online at kierstenwhite.com and follow @kierstenwhite on Twitter.