Before I begin: I want to say this. This is my second time reviewing this book. I simply adore this book with every ounce of my soul. Also, today is my 16th birthday and I can do whatever the hell I want to. Even if it is re-review my favorite book of all time. Also, happy birthday to all my fellow birthday twins; Rusty, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Pacino. Renee Zellweger, Jocelyn Davis, Daniel Sherman, Alex Shibutani, Nich, Ellen Oh, Carlynn, Shelby & Abdulmejid I*.
*Also, to any other people I may have forgotten.
*takes a deep breath*
63 days until NIR is released.
I’m so f**king excited for that books
2 months. 2 Days.
There is nothing that will stop me from getting my hands on this book ASAP.
Not even the apocalypse.
The Deets! (For all those who are innocent to this wonder!)
Rating: ★★★★★ | 5 stars
Release Date: June, 28th, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Page Count: 475 pages
Dates Read: August 24th – September 6th, 2016 & April 11th, – April 21st, 2017
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.
– Goodreads 2017
I feel as if this entire book could be summarized by this one Radu quote:
“It’s not that simple.”
Because it’s not.
Like. at. all.
What is this? Poetry?
Everyone is getting arcs and while I am super happy that my GR friends get to read it 60+ days early I am so jealous.
This book makes me so happy. I love every single word on every single page with my entire soul. It feeds me, and these characters give me life. How can I possibly review this book? I can’t. I truly cannot properly review a masterpiece.
I am sure with every read through I will see something new. And I will most likely do a new review. And, no promises but I will read this at a minimum of once per year. So prepare thy butts!
“On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”
Lada is one violent little child and it makes me smile. Which sounds ridiculous, but little Lada has my heart. She’s a terrible person, but I root for her. She’s such a complex character and while she’s struggling to except that she’s a young woman, but having a period or other lady things don’t stop her from slaying. And seeing as she’s based on Vlad The Impaler, I am sure the stakes will be higher and people will be impaled.
Lada glared at the baby until he stopped crying. Satisfied, she left the room.
“Bogdan screamed as Lada—Ladislav, now five, refused to answer to her full name—bit down on his thigh. He punched her. She bit harder, and he cried for help.
“If she wants to eat your leg, she is allowed,” the nurse said. “Quit screaming or I will let her eat your supper, too.”
She is a terrible person. But I love her.
“Am I holding him wrong? He does not like me.” “Of course he likes you!” The woman’s voice was sticky sweet. Lada could feel it settling in her ears and knew that no amount of scrubbing would rid her of its residue. He is strong, see?” “My little Bayezit. Be strong while I am gone. I will be back soon. Goodbye, my boy.” Mehmed’s words, effused tenderness, and Lada wished for any other scenario.
Just as a father, Mehmed is so cringy but so sweet and well intended. Like damn, dad goals right there.
Then his son’s are named Bayezid & Mustafa. Which just completes my day. Because Sehzade Bayezid & Sehzade Mustafa are my favorite Sehzade’s.
But can Radu and Mehmed have children together, because that would just complete my soul.
My absolute favorite thing about reading negative reviews of this book (or any review really) is reading about how people feel about Mehmed. They legitly spell it like this: MEHmed. Because he’s “MEH”. Get it? While I absolutely adore Mehmed, he does some stupid shit and is a pretty shitty person at first. Like he’s a shit person, but he’s my precious baby and you have no idea how excited I am to see him over a city.
Everyone, including Lada & Murad, tells him that his dreams of conquering Constantinople are stupid childish daydreams. But he’s gonna prove them wrong in the next book and I am so excited. MY BABY IS TAKING OVER A CITY! He’s not called Mehmed the conqueror for nothing.
On the lovely subject of Mehmed.
“I am no slave. This is my city! “
Lada snorted. “And I am the queen of Byzantium.” She turned on her heel, pulling Radu along.
“I will see you again!” the boy called. It was not a question, but a command.
“I will burn your city to the ground.” Lada called back over her shoulder.”
“Why, I am the son of the devil himself. Mehmed the second, son of Murad.”
You don’t receive the number title until you are actually crowned Sultan AND there has been more than one sultan with the same name. Otherwise, if the eldest son/heir received the title it would not have been Mehmed. It would have been Mehmed’s brother This was before Murad did the dick moved or retiring than undoing his retirement. Because if that were true, Mustafa should have been Mustafa the first, rather than that Mustafa. Even if Mahidevran would have made a shitty valide sultan. But you also don’t just get the number title if you have the same name as one your ancestor. That would be a fucking nightmare. That would mean that Mehmed would not be the second because technically the OG Mehmed the first would have been Mehmed the second because Murad the first had a son named Mehmed. So Mehmed would have been Mehmed the third. Mehmed’s son Bayezid had a son named Mehmed so that Mehmed would be the fourth. Then we would next have Bayezid’s grandson Suleiman had a son named Mehmet (and while that has a “t” it’s essentially the same name.) That Mehmet would be Mehmed/t the fifth. Selim the second has a son Mehmed, who would be the sixth one. Then Murad iii had a son named Mehmed who was actually the third official one but would be the seventh. Because this isn’t confusing enough, Ahmed the first had a son named Mehmed, in this reality would be the eighth. Murad the fourth’s son Mehmed would be the ninth. Which would make the historical Mehmed the fourth, the tenth one. Then, Ahmed, the third had a son whose name was shockingly Mehmed, let us call him Mehmed the eleventh. Abdülhamid the first’s would have Mehmed the twelfth. Then we have this lovely dude, Mahmud the third. He had three sons named Mehmed, so the thirteenth, fourteen and fifteenth. Abdulmejid the first, had a crap ton of kids, who were named Mehmed. So let try to explain this. Mehmed the fifth would actually be the sixteenth. Mehmed Abdul-Hamed ii would be the seventeenth Mehmed. But he also had several (eleven*) kids named Mehmed. So welcome the eighteen, nineteenth, twenty-first, twenty-second, twenty-third, twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth Mehmed’s. This is getting complicated. But we have more! We have Mehmed the thirtieth, thirty-first and thirty-second. Then Mehmed the thirty-third. We have more Mehmed’s than actual Sultans at this point. Damn. Then came along Mehmed the thirty-fourth, thirty-fifth, thirty-sixth, and thirty-seventh. And then came to the thirty-seventh Mehmed. Lastly would be Mehmed (the sixth IRL) but in this way the thirty-eighth. Which means we have reached the end. But of course, the House of Osman still exists and you probably have many more Mehmed’s/Mehmet’s. But I didn’t count the siblings of the Sultan’s or all the Ahmed/Ahmet’s/Mohammed’s or Mahmud’s which are basically the same. So see, if that were a thing that would be terrible. No, you only have the number if you are important. Mehmed may have become important but at that stage in his life/story that is unrealistic.
*I may have miscounted. There were a lot of names. It was a mess. Really I tried, but there are way too many people in the family of the House of Osman named Mehmed to put into an order, if that is how you go your number, not by being a ruling Sultan.
Huma, Halima & Mara. I love these three women. There are basically Nurbanu, Defne & Mihrimah. Like exactly. It’s not even funny.
Seriously, the parallels.
We have Huma; Mehmed’s mother and Murad’s concubine. She went through shit, to have Mehmed and while she seems nice, she’s a devil. Kills small children and is actually a very big bitch in the end.
Halima; is the youngest of Murad’s wives, and the mother of the little Ahmet. She’s precious, angelic and the opposite of Huma and Mara.
Mara; well she’s Murad’s wife from Serbia. She doesn’t give two shits about him. She’s awesome, kind of like Miri. She’s the kind of girl who brings all the boys to her yard, because of her milkshakes, but she doesn’t want to share. She’s spunky, sassy and awesome. She just refuses a marriage purposeful from Constantine XI without blinking an eye.
Nurbanu Sultan; was the favorite wife of Sultan Selim II. She was the mother of Murad III. She’s not the nicest person, from what I can tell. She wants power, and she gets it. She wants to stay in power. She’s like Huma, because they are both determined, nice but also a bit of a backstabber.
Defne Sultan; is a historical OC created for MC. She was a favorite concubine of Sehzade Bayezid, she was the mother of his last son Mehmed. She is probably my favorite character on MC. She cries a lot, and is very sensative, rather anxious and pretty darn innocent, but sweet like Halima. But because Selim wins and becomes Sultan, she commits suicide and kills Mehmed to save him from the wrath of his Uncle later.
Mihrimah Sultan; was the daughter of Sultan Suleiman I and his legal wife Hurrem Sultan. She had 5 brothers; Mustafa, Mehmed, Selim, Bayezid, & Cihangir. She loved all her siblings and was the only one who died of old age and natural causes. She reminds me of Mara, because she’s strong, powerful, lovely but isn’t afraid to take matters into her own hands.
“‘Radu became an intimate friend and a favorite of the sultan’s son, Mehmed II.'”
Goes on Wikipedia.
The boys were taken to the various garrisons at Edirne. Radu became an intimate friend and a favorite of the sultan’s son, Mehmed II. According to Latin translation of Byzantine chronicles, Radu was Sultan’s lover and male concubine, and possibly, due to good looks and the amorous affairs with the sultan, Radu received a nickname “cel frumos” (the Beautiful). Their dangerously passionate relationships were described by a Greek chronicler Laonikos Chalkokondyles, who emphasized that the sultan ‘nearly died at the boy’s hands’ when he tried to force himself upon the young prince. As the records report, the young Sultan (Mehmed II)—wanting to have relations with the prince—called him to feasts and in one instance, passionately offering him a glass, he called him to the bedchamber. When the boy, not suspecting anything from the other came, the Sultan rushed to him; Radu resisted, not submitting to Mehmed II’s desire, and then the latter “kissed the boy against his will”. Frightened, Radu then pulled out a dagger and cut Mehmed II’s thigh and ran away. It is further narrated, that while physicians took care of Mehmed II’s wound, the young boy climbed up a tree where he stayed hidden until the sultan left; he later descended from the tree and not long afterward became the Sultan’s favorite. Chalkokondyles adds that the sultan along with people of his nation had the custom of using favorite boys, and with such as Radu and Mehmed II “spends day and night together”. In the beginning of the chronicle, it was noted that the incident happened when Mehmed II came to the throne and had to go against the state of Karaman in 1451.
Holy moly, guacamole.
“Mehmed’s narrow eyebrows, finely shaped like his father’s drew low over his eyes.”
Must google this:
Damn, those are some nice eyebrows. And he never had any eyebrow appointments.
Radu’s scenes are my fave. Especially his kissing scenes with Sahil. Hot damn. Kiersten, can we please get some serious kissy action between Mehmed & Radu in NIR? I would die.
SHIPS! I AM THE DYING!
LADA AND MEHMED
RADU AND MEHMED
The friendship between Nicolae and Lada. ❤
“You have no idea how many Bogdans I had to try before finding the right one.”
Nicolae is the sweetest thing ever. Like that if basically what I did once for my best friend. I stalked Instagram trying to find her crush’s page, because he never actually gave her his contact information. After two years of fruitless searching, I found his page through another mutual friend. AFTER TWO YEARS. At least my friend was happy. There is very little two really good friends, like me and her or Nicolae and Lada wouldn’t do for each other.
The whole Kumal, Nazira, Radu & Fatima thing.
For some reason the first time around, I never got that Nazira was lesbian. But I am happy for her and Fatima. And my sweet precious Radu, giving up all that for his friend’s sister.
“We cannot always have what we want, no matter how much we want it.”
Let us take about all the sexual tension between Mehmed and Lada baby.
Mehmed likes Lada so much. It’s obvious. I ADORE how Kiersten White didn’t try to make Lada beautiful just so Mehmed would fall for her. She is brutal, morally grey, and honestly a lowkey terrible person, and is often considered quite ugly. But he loves her regardless. He fell in love with her, not because of how pretty she looks, or anything to do with physically appearance, because he loves her fiery passionate soul and personality. He values her in a way he doesn’t value other things
“I cannot afford to lose you, too”
“You cannot lose something you do not own. Take me with you”
Mehmed: “Marry Me.”
Lada: “No. Give me an army and I will go conqueror my country.”
Mehmed: “On second thought, if I didn’t want to marry me would you stay?”
Oh and my poor innocent Radu
“Your sister rides like a man.”
“I’d teach your sister how to ride like a lady.”
That just flew over Radu’s head. But, oh god. That is dirty.
I love how Lada has a period. And the thing with her womanly features. Like I can relate to how uncomfortable having a vagina and boobs can be.
and that scene with Skanderberg (Iskender Bey).
“Simply Radu? No family?”
“My father sold me to the Ottoman’s to pay off his debts.”
“Perhaps Radu the handsome.”
“I was considering Radu the overwhelmingly weary.”
And then later this line …..
“Give Murad my regards, Radu the handsome.”
And that ending. Mehmed crying and Radu dying and crying.
“Never leave me.” Mehmed’s grief-choked voice still rang with command. Radu closed his eyes,”I will never leave you.” Mehmed was in his arms, but he knew Lada was the only thing in Mehmed’s heart.
“You are the only real thing in my life.”
I love this book with every inch of my soul. I could just write an endless review with thousands of quotes, fangirl moments and gifs. But sadly I don’t have that kind of time. My best friend is finally reading this book and I am so happy. It’s taken me months to convince her to read it.
Petyr Baeish Books © 2017 by Tova Portmann-Bown