review-ish-thingy: and i darken by kiersten white

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stabbing things and flowers is very much what this book is about, if you think of radu as a flower

This is–wait for it–a gender-bent Vlad the Impaler historical retelling. It’s filled with politics and conquest, and yet it’s very character-focused. It’s written with depth and with secrets, and it manages not only its characters very well, but also the setting (the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s) and the complex, twist-filled plot.

Lada’s character is developed around the concept of ownership. She’s raised to believe that she can own everything–once her nurse even tells her own son that “if she wants to eat your leg, she is allowed.” Lada believes that her family has a powerful city and her nurse never denies her from taking anything, so that she might grow to be someone who is fierce and powerful unlike her parents. When Lada is thrown into a world where she isn’t actually in control, she dedicates herself to getting back to Wallachia, where she can be.

Lada, Radu, and Mehmed’s friendship is odd, complicated, and cute; they’re dependent on each other and understand each other more than anyone else (sometimes better than they understand themselves) but they also miss some really obvious things that end up tearing them apart, which is, of course, realistic and true to many relationships.

The world is also fascinating and well-researched. Being taken back to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century has sparked my own interest and I plan to research it on my own as well. There are snippets of religion and other things from that time that make it very vivid, and the atmosphere throughout is set up very well.

Plus Lada just has a really well-written personality okay. A big part of the story is her struggle with fighting gender expectations and reconciling those expectations with her want to own things rather than be owned.

But I’ve rambled so much about her and said nothing about Radu and Mehmed! Radu is a sweet innocent child who starts off feeling constantly alienated from his sister Lada. He cries a lot, and he’s not weak; he proves his bravery and strength quite often throughout the book, in both little and big things. His relationship with his sister has many ups and downs given its mercurial nature, but in the end they’re always there to protect one another.

Mehmed . . . is someone I’m not sure what to think of. He’s sweet sometimes, sure, but he’s also the center of a whole lot of conflict and never quite seems to make up for what he does. His friendship is good for both Lada and Radu, but only to a certain extent, because things tend to fall apart because of him. I’ve lost trust in him during the book a few times, but maybe I’m just being too hard on him–in any case, it’ll be interesting to see what changes in the second book.

And I can’t end this without mentioning Nicolae, who is a very good friend to Lada and banters a lot (because banter in books is a must). Their interactions are just really amusing and nice to read.

For example:

  • “‘And then I would steal your horse lover, to spite you.'”

And some other wonderful quotes:

  • “She plucked a rose and held it to her face. She hated the way roses smelled, their sweetness too fragile. She wanted a garden of evergreens. A garden of stones. A garden of swords.”
  • “‘Nothing like cuddling a corpse to give you sweet dreams.’”
  • “‘Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.'”

-THE END-

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bookish photos of a conjuring of light

MY SIGNED COPY OF A CONJURING OF LIGHT BY V.E. SCHWAB (THIRD BOOK IN THE SHADES OF MAGIC TRILOGY) HAS ARRIVED AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

SO, OBVIOUSLY, I AM GOING TO FORCE ALL OF YOU TO GAZE UPON ITS BEAUTY AS WELL!

APPRECIATE MY PHOTOS I SPENT A LONG TIME TAKING THEM.

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-THE END-

my scattered thoughts about my work-in-progress

I wrote a little thing to keep in mind as I work on my fairy-tale retelling, so that whenever I lose motivation, I remember what I want my story to be. It’s a reminder to me of my purpose and a guide to me when I finally get to the editing stage. My thoughts are kind of scattered, but overall typing this served its purpose, and so I thought I’d share.

“i want it to be a story about responding to darkness with darkness when you should respond with beauty, about letting go of yourself because you need to, because if you don’t you ruin yourself anyway until what’s left of you isn’t you at all but something else entirely, something monstrous and unfamiliar. i want it to be a story about choosing the wrong things because someone else has wronged you, about the consequences of seeking vengeance and destruction. i want it to be a story about contrast, and hope and not-hope and dreaming. i want it to be a story about anger and sadness and monstrous feelings that grip you and change you. i want it to be a story about being allowed to do things you should never be allowed to do and about being given the ability to choose your own path and choosing wrong. i want it to be a story about looking for a remaining light inside yourself and finding only darkness, and losing something permanent yet trying to get it back anyway.”

Magical word of the day/week/month/whatever:

Pulchritude, which means beauty.

-THE END-

pictures of a defaced book

One of my rewards during NaNo was to deface a book of my choice, and so of course I chose my favorite book, Of Enemies and Endings, to deface with one of the best scenes and quotes inside.

The quote reads, “I want this WORLD to be transformed by RORY LANDON. I want you to LIVE,” and right underneath it says “Rapunzel,” the character who said the quote. On the side by the spine, it says faintly, “The Tale of Rory Landon.”

Defacing books is really fun and I recommend it!

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-THE END-

sunshine blogger award

Thanks for tagging me, Kit!

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who tagged you.
  2. Answer their 11 questions.
  3. Tag 11 people.
  4. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Old questions:

  1. Do you have a pet? If so, describe them.
    No pets, but I want a kitty. Or a bunny.
  2. What’s your favorite type of tree?
    Hmm that’s a hard one. At the moment I’d say juniper simply because that’s what my novel is about, but really all trees are wonderful.
  3. What’s your favorite genre to read?
    YA Sci-fi/fantasy! Especially something paranormal with ghosts and such. Or fairy-tale retellings. I will read absolutely anything, though.
  4. What’s your favorite genre to write?
    Same as what I read, basically!
  5. If you write, do you prefer to compose on paper or a computer?
    I type my novels up on a computer and I write my short stories usually by hand, and most of the time that’s what works for me. So both.
  6. How long have you been blogging?
    Since October of 2014, apparently.
  7. Is it snowing, as you answer this?
    No, not at all. I wish it wouldd.
  8. What’s your favorite type of music?
  9. Do you knit or crochet?
    Nope, although since I’m in need of non-literary hobbies I may as well pick up on one.
  10. What is a very popular/highly acclaimed book or movie that you just couldn’t like?
    The Maze Runner (book, not movie–the movie was actually okay). It makes no sense and it’s underdeveloped and I tried to like it but noooope.
  11. Have you ever had Turkish Delight? (I haven’t, sadly…)
    Yesss! It’s so good. You’re missing out!

People I’m tagging:

. . . I’m no good at this. Just take the tag if you want it.

New questions:

  1. What song lyrics best describe your life?
  2. How many books are on your to-read list?
  3. What would the younger version of you think of current version of you?
  4. What are your favorite websites?
  5. What sounds do you find calming?
  6. How much stuff are you procrastinating from right now?
  7. Thoughts on school uniforms?
  8. Thoughts on Shakespeare?
  9. Do you prefer to read about dark/morbid things or cute/fluffy things?
  10. Do you have any posters?
  11. Are you wearing socks?

Magical word of the day/week/month/whatever:

Peripeteia, which means a sudden change in circumstances.

-THE END-