And I Darken
Goodreads ratings
3.84 / 5

"And I Darken" Summary

By Kiersten White

fantasy | 475 pages | Published in 2016

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.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A reimagining of the life of Vlad the Impaler, where the fierce and determined Lada fights for power and love in the Ottoman Empire.


"And I Darken" by Kiersten White is a gripping historical fiction novel that transports readers to the heart of the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century. This page-turner follows the life of Lada Dragwlya, a fierce and determined princess who defies societal norms and challenges gender roles in a male-dominated world. Set against the backdrop of political intrigue, religious conflict, and personal struggles, the novel delves into themes of power, loyalty, and the complexities of human relationships.

Brief Synopsis

The story unfolds in the 15th century, amidst the political landscape of the Ottoman Empire and the growing threat of the Christian kingdoms. The protagonist, Lada Dragwlya, is a fierce and independent young woman, who, alongside her brother Radu, is taken as a political hostage by the Ottoman sultan. The siblings' lives become intertwined with the future of the empire, leading to a complex web of alliances, betrayals, and personal sacrifices.

Plot Overview

The novel revolves around the struggles and triumphs of Lada, Radu, and Mehmed, the sultan's son, as they navigate the treacherous world of politics, warfare, and personal desires. Lada, often underestimated due to her gender, defies societal expectations and fights to claim her rightful place in a world dominated by men. Radu, her brother, grapples with his own internal conflicts and desires, torn between his loyalty to his sister and his growing affection for Mehmed.


The story is predominantly set in the Ottoman Empire, a vast and powerful realm that spans across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The rich and vivid descriptions bring to life the bustling streets of Constantinople, the grandeur of the imperial court, and the sprawling landscapes that serve as the backdrop for the characters' journeys.

Main Characters

The novel features a diverse cast of characters, each with their own motivations, strengths, and flaws. Here are the main characters:

Lada DragwlyaFierce, determined, and fiercely independent, Lada challenges gender norms and societal expectations as she fights for her place in the world.
Radu DragwlyaLada's younger brother, Radu grapples with conflicting loyalties and his own personal desires as he navigates the complexities of the Ottoman court.
MehmedThe sultan's son, Mehmed forms a deep and complex bond with Lada and Radu, shaping the course of their lives and the fate of the empire.

Story Points Over Chapters

The narrative unfolds through a series of pivotal moments and story points that drive the plot forward:

Chapters 1-5

The novel introduces Lada and Radu as they are taken as hostages by the Ottoman sultan. Their lives become entwined with the empire's political machinations, and they form an unlikely bond with Mehmed, the sultan's son.

Chapters 6-10

As Lada and Radu navigate the complexities of court life, they form alliances and encounter betrayal, shaping their perspectives on power and loyalty.

Chapters 11-15

Tensions rise as the Ottoman Empire faces external threats, and Lada, Radu, and Mehmed are forced to make difficult choices that will have far-reaching consequences.

Chapters 16-20

The characters' relationships are put to the test as they grapple with personal desires, conflicting loyalties, and the ever-present dangers that surround them.

Chapters 21-25

The stakes are raised as the empire faces internal strife and external enemies, and Lada, Radu, and Mehmed must confront their deepest fears and confront the challenges that lie ahead.

Main Events

The novel is punctuated by several key events that shape the characters' journeys and the fate of the empire:

  1. Lada and Radu's capture and subsequent captivity in the Ottoman court.
  2. The forming of alliances and the betrayal that tests the siblings' loyalties.
  3. The external threats that challenge the stability of the empire and the characters' resolve.
  4. The complexities of the relationships between Lada, Radu, and Mehmed, as personal desires clash with political realities.
  5. The internal strife and external enemies that force the characters to confront their deepest fears and make difficult choices.

Themes and Insights

"And I Darken" explores a myriad of themes and insights that resonate with readers:

  1. Power and Ambition: The novel delves into the nature of power and ambition, as the characters navigate the complexities of politics and personal aspirations.
  2. Gender and Identity: Lada's defiance of traditional gender roles and her struggle for recognition and respect highlight the theme of gender and identity.
  3. Love and Loyalty: The novel examines the complexities of love and loyalty, as the characters' relationships are tested by conflicting loyalties and personal desires.
  4. Conflict and Betrayal: The backdrop of political intrigue and warfare underscores the themes of conflict and betrayal, as alliances are formed and broken, and trust is tested.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers will be captivated by the rich historical backdrop, the complex and multifaceted characters, and the gripping narrative that unfolds in "And I Darken." The novel offers a compelling exploration of power, ambition, love, and loyalty, set against the backdrop of a vivid and immersive historical setting.


In conclusion, "And I Darken" by Kiersten White is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and compelling character-driven narratives. With its rich historical detail, complex characters, and themes that resonate with contemporary audiences, the novel offers a captivating and thought-provoking reading experience.

And I Darken FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'And I Darken'?

    And I Darken is a historical fiction novel with elements of fantasy and romance.

  2. Who is the author of 'And I Darken'?

    The author of 'And I Darken' is Kiersten White.

  3. What is the setting of 'And I Darken'?

    The book is set in the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II.

  4. Is 'And I Darken' part of a series?

    Yes, 'And I Darken' is the first book in 'The Conqueror's Saga' trilogy.

  5. What is the main premise of 'And I Darken'?

    The book follows the story of Lada Dracul, a fierce and ruthless princess, and her brother Radu as they navigate the treacherous political landscape of the Ottoman Empire.