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September 11, 2018

“Without Radu to gently push her in new directions, she was turning into the most brutal version possible of herself.”
 

The quote above is both the culmination and problem with Bright We Burn, Kiersten White’s final book in her trilogy about Vlad the Impaler (if Vlad were a girl named Lada).
 

Lada has grown truly ruthless now, willing to kill thousands—and earn her nickname by displaying their bodies on stakes—to cement her claim to the throne of Wallachia and free it from vassalage to...

January 26, 2018

Kiersten White’s Now I Rise is an example of a sequel that wouldn’t work on its own, but as part of a series, makes for a strong second installment.
 

In the first book, And I Darken, we watched Lada and Radu, the point-of-view characters, navigate a challenging childhood in the 15th-century Ottoman Empire. Early on, they’re sold to the sultan by their father, the brutal king of Wallachia (part of historical Romania). Lada coped by training to be a warrior, Radu by learning to be a skil...

December 4, 2016

And I Darken is the perfect title for Kiersten White’s novel about Vlad the Impaler’s origins.
 

The plot (eventually) focuses on machinations for the 15th century Ottoman throne, but at its heart, And I Darken is a character-driven tale that shows how abandonment changes Vlad and the other protagonists.


Oh, and in White’s retelling, Vlad isn’t a man—he’s Lada, a girl who’d rather swing a sword than don a dress.


It’s a compelling mix.


The character development begins almost immediately,...

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I write mostly speculative fiction. Usually fantasy, with historical elements mixed in. Sometimes there's a bit of mystery too, or (shhh!) even a little romance.

 

But it's weird—it's always weird. Consider yourself warned.

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