Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 496 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Conqueror’s Saga
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com for Review
Rating: 4/5 stars
“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.”
I have really enjoyed White’s previous series and was excited to see a new fantasy series by her. This was a good start to a new fantasy trilogy by White. I liked that this is a historical retelling about Vlad the Impaler, but in this case Vlad is actually a woman. Parts of the story lag a bit, but overall I thought it was an interesting and engaging read.
Lada is cruel from a young age but not without her reasons and honor. It was interesting to watch her struggle between being the strong warrior she wanted to be and her love for the enemy’s son Mehmed. Lada’s younger brother Radu has always been gentle and engages easily with people despite how cruel his siblings are to him. In the beginning the two are basically polar opposites, but as the story progresses you see that they do have certain similarities to their personalities.
I enjoyed that the story was set during the Ottoman Empire; this was an intriguing setting and an interesting time in history. It provided a wonderful lush backdrop for this story.
This is one of those stories where you just know things are going to get bad, very bad, as things progress. The story has a very ominous tension to it; part of it is because you know how Vlad the Impaler ended up being and you can just see how things are going wrong for Lada and how very precarious her emotional state is.
Overall I really enjoyed this story; I liked the setting and the characters. I did think that the pacing was a bit off at points and that the story lagged in some areas. It ended up being an intriguing read though and I plan on reading future books in this series.