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.
I’m fifty-fifty with this novel. I did enjoy the story, but I had to push myself through to finish it. The first half of the novel was extremely slow and I found myself at times wanting to give up the novel completely. I am glad I finished because the second half of the novel picked up and was really good.
You have your two MCs, Lada, and Radu. They are both children of Vlad Dracula Military Ruler of Transylvania. Vlad was a very… cruel father, he never showed much affection to his children. Lada was somewhat like him in his ruthlessness and determination. Radu was an affectionate and soft soul, who would often be caught crying at times.
You watch them get taken to the Ottoman empire and they are basically hostages held against their father. They end up staying and making it a home. you watch them grow up and move into powerful positions, like protecting the new ruler Mehmed.
I did like the aspect of Lada not wanting to be in a traditional role. She wanted to, but at the same time, she wanted to be more. As I read the book I grew to respect her for not wanting to settle on what she was. she wanted more from life than to be a wife and mother, I liked that about her. I felt so bad for Radu and seeing him struggle with being himself. I did like the fact that the author never made close people to him shame him for it.
The Writing in this novel was good. It was slow and I think that’s what made me dislike it so much. I just wanted more from the novel than it had. I do think ill be picking up the second novel because I’m really invested in the characters and I want to know where the story goes.