Rating: 4 Stars.
Lada Dragwlya is not your typical character you find in your history books. She’s not even your typical female character, as she is so much more than that. As the daughter of Vlad the Impaler, she has inherited her father’s strength, ruthlessness and cunning. Her brother, the intellectual religious scholar, inherited none of it. As a ‘captive’ of the Ottoman empire, she waits patiently for her time to rise. When the two meet Mehemed, the heir to the Ottoman empire, neither sibling expects their worlds to be turned emotionally upside down.
When I started this book, what I had expected to take place was very different from what actually happened, and it wasn’t a bad thing. Having done some research on Vlad the Impaler in the past, I was curious to see him reimagined into a YA fiction, but he plays little to no role in the story outside of being casually mentioned. The story centers around his two children.
I loved Lada’s character, but as she’s not the kind of character I usually connect to. She’s stubborn, brutal, ruthless and tactical. She focuses her energies on vengeance and power, a rarity for a woman of this 1400s time period. Her emotions are present from time to time, but in the end, they do not control her.
Her brother is her stark contrast. He is caring and doesn’t have the stomach for battle. He prefers religious teachings and is continually seen as weak. It really emphasizes the power that Lada possess.
The book is exceptionally well researched, and the setting created is well thought out and thorough.
My only difficulty, towards the latter half of the book, seemed that it became a little difficult to see where the story was going.
Recommendations: It is not an easy read, it is not a light read, and it does have mature content. I wouldn’t put this into my middle school library.