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Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it? Lada's rule of absolute justice Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it? Lada's rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won't rest until everyone knows that her country's borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed's peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince. But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before--including her relationships--can Lada truly build the country she wants. Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.


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Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it? Lada's rule of absolute justice Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it? Lada's rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won't rest until everyone knows that her country's borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed's peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince. But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before--including her relationships--can Lada truly build the country she wants. Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.

30 review for Bright We Burn

  1. 5 out of 5

    شيماء ✨

    I genuinely feel like my heart belongs to so many fictional characters and I wish it would just come home to me. I love this series so much. The only way I could accurately get across my passion is either in multi-page, overtly dramatic, 19th-century-style rose-scented love letters or just a live footage of me breakdancing while crying for five minutes straight. Yeah, I know I have things to be happy about but my heart kind of hurts knowing this series had come to its end. I really wish I could li I genuinely feel like my heart belongs to so many fictional characters and I wish it would just come home to me. I love this series so much. The only way I could accurately get across my passion is either in multi-page, overtly dramatic, 19th-century-style rose-scented love letters or just a live footage of me breakdancing while crying for five minutes straight. Yeah, I know I have things to be happy about but my heart kind of hurts knowing this series had come to its end. I really wish I could live forever in the peaceful feeling I got after I finished this book where everything seemed softer and the lights were all tinged in hues of blue and pink and the world felt silky and light and surreal and it's like my heart was auditioning for cirque du soleil and all my feelings were bursting into tiny pieces of heart-shaped confetti!! But since that's ruled out, I guess now my heart and soul will just float aimlessly in this empty universe.... She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was a woman. It was the last that scared them most of all. So before I get into what this book is about, I want to say this: I can't possibly convey what reading a series that centers queer Muslim characters meant to me or come even close to describing the quaking moment of recognition, the shock of the familiar and how it all felt like being held close in a dimly lit room and being told "I see you, I’m proud of you and I’m rooting for you." In a time when our community still gets little to no representation at all in the media, seeing myself in these characters was truly a cathartic experience. And for that, I honestly feel like I should have a whole separate heart for loving this series because it’s an entire different feeling than anything I feel for everything else. so what is this book about? Okay. My entire stance on reading Bright We Burn is that it felt like me just metaphorically trying to live peacefully in a secluded cottage and do my own thing while also wanting to witness the fall of empires right next door. I was reading with probably the same frequency others smoked cigarettes, the bags under my eyes were darker than the inside of Hollister and I’m pretty sure I have aged at least three lifetimes over the course of four hundred pages. Who was she? She was the dragon. Her country had teeth and claws and fire, and she would use every last bit of them. Bright We Burn was the embodiment of war, the spitting image of chaos. It was ruptured loyalties and a country in disarray. It was desperate calculated plays for power, a capital filled with snakes and people cursed to fight amongst themselves, while everyone else suffers for it. This was a wild journey, like the fury that’s been building up in the previous two books has come undone, and everything came equipped with rage, flying in on a hell chariot. Things were pretty terrible in the previous books, but I had no idea just how much worse they were going to get. But mostly? This is the series finale we all deserved. It absolutely exceeded my expectations. Kiersten White sure knows how to end a series with a bang. the characters: LADA: I think it’s time to say it again and with more feeling: I fucking love Lada's character. Lada lives by one statement that she maintains the truth in: there is very little that she needs, and even less that she wants. There’s a pyre in the lighthouse of her wayward morality and it ignited for one thing and one thing alone: Wallachia . This is the closest thing to religion that Lada knows; her faith unwavering. She has vowed to take her country back, no matter how many times she's been told that she never stood the chance to fight ike a man. So she showed no mercy and she wreaked havoc on everything. Her anger was quick and unforgiven, messy and inevitable, a direct blast like the sun exploding. Lada reigned and raged and burned. After all, they asked for it. She fought like a girl. And it was fucking glorious. She had dug through the mountain to reach her heart’s desire, and found the mountain had a heart after all: the beating pulse required of all those who would not stop, would not accept what the world offered, would not bow. Lada's character is a blessing to tiresome routines. She bloomed whether they watered her or not. Whether they provided her with light or not. She was dressed in fortified independence and she spun herself a crown of gold. She exists without their existence. However, the one thing Lada wasn't prepared for was what a lonely existence that would be. Because Lada may be stone-hard and stubborn, but she still suffers toil and loneliness and hurt of soul perhaps more hardily than all others. We see many glimmers of her heart in this book, many fleeting moments of quivering vulnerability, and yeah, she then does something that immediately reminds you how basically dead inside she is. But for those moments — Lada mourning her friends, Lada curled up sobbing in her brother's arms, you glimpse all the people she’s used and left in the cold or, you know, crystallized into just that, a means to an end; you glimpse everything that could have been, and you can't help but feel a sharp pang of ache in your heart. RADU: There’s not a single person I wouldn’t throw off a cliff for Radu, including myself. He deserves pure hearted happiness and relish in the world and my gay Muslim heart is literally bursting for him!! First of all, can we talk about how Radu’s character development added 70 years onto my life? How he’s cultivated his inner strength to pierce through the ugly times and into a lighter state of being? How he could’ve turned cold after everything he’s been through but still chose love anyway? And how there’s so much strength in that; the kind of strength that only comes from empathy and compassion? How he ended up being the hero because without the soft touch of vulnerability, he would have been the villain? Gone was the Radu who’s worn his emotions, his susceptibility to people, like a badge of shame; who’s constantly suppressed half of himself to accommodate to others’ needs; whose downfall was always putting the wrong people first, giving them all of him, never asking for anything to be given to him in return. Lada’s preferred stage might be the sharp edge of a sword. But Radu has become ruthless in his own way. He’s become ruthless with the thoughts he entertained, with the people he chose to spend time with and the things he chose to fight for. He's become ruthless in culling, stripping his life of the unnecessary and making room for the things that matter. “Do you think it was him that came between us? Or were we destined to end up on opposite sides?” Lada felt an unfamiliar heaviness behind her eyes. “We had to survive. We just figured out different ways to do it.” Radu's whole arc was centered around choice. How the choices we make will always come back to us, in a different form, different person, different event. However, in any way, those choices will always come back. Radu has chosen love, kindness and family. He's chosen not being cold-hearted and aloof, but being amicable in the face of bitterness and gentle with those who deserve to be loved. And that choice has echoed backwards in time and undid the things that hurt him. MY GAY FOUND FAMILY: It really is unbelievable just how much love I hold in my heart for Nazira, Fatima, Radu and Cyprian!! I can feel the solid lump of ice that is my heart melting just thinking about them. How fucking beautiful is the bond they share and how no other bond can even touch what they have. Their foundation is built on a solid friendship and is an extension of a deep love found in mutual respect, trust and understanding. It’s ever-lasting because it’s the kind of bond that was not cultivated by something as accidental as blood, but something much stronger – by choice. They truly give a new meaning to the word family: a word that should now only be reserved for the people who love you without demanding that you hide the parts of yourself that you think are unlovable; the people who genuinely make you feel safer, even if they’re far away from you because their existence is so calming and beautiful and it makes everything seem better somehow; and the people whose hearts teach you something which makes you more gentle and human and remain soft for you always. Lada had always known exactly what shape she would take. She had never let it be determined by the people around her. But Radu could not escape the need for love, the need for people in his life to help him see what he should—and could—be. Lada shaped herself in spite of her environment. Radu shaped himself because of it. And gosh, I love their simple intimacy. Radu and Cyprian’s forehead kisses mixed with laughter, the innocent feeling of Fatima laying her head on Nazira’s lap and Nazira always needing to be near her for no other reason than pure comfort and love and closeness. The brushing of hands and the knowing looks, Cyprian gently asking Radu about his and Islam's boundaries and Radu cherishing all of these moments and how it all "never stopped feeling like a miracle" . Everything they do is soft and rose scented. I swear they’re like tea or a soft blanket: warm and gentle and healing. A heart did not have to be stone to be strong. I think the greatest takeaway from this series as a whole is that the greatest battles are fought and won by the heart, not the bloodied fist. That softness is never a weakness, that staying delicate in a world so cruel is the biggest testament of courage. That life is too grand to revolve around one person, one feeling, one place, one memory, one goal. And that the complexity and diversity of the world is so beautiful and you have the right to explore it. You should never settle for less. BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TUMBLR

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    “Disrupt stability. Petition for gold. Provoke the greatest empire on the face of the earth.” He paused. “This is going to be fun.” Oh, it was. So much bloody, nasty fun. I have really loved this series. I mean, why wouldn't I? There's a murderous antiheroine who's definitely more anti than heroine. There's battles and backstabbing and unrequited love. There's alt-history that's - let's face it - a lot more alt than history. There's Vlad the Impaler reimagined as a woman. In other words, this se “Disrupt stability. Petition for gold. Provoke the greatest empire on the face of the earth.” He paused. “This is going to be fun.” Oh, it was. So much bloody, nasty fun. I have really loved this series. I mean, why wouldn't I? There's a murderous antiheroine who's definitely more anti than heroine. There's battles and backstabbing and unrequited love. There's alt-history that's - let's face it - a lot more alt than history. There's Vlad the Impaler reimagined as a woman. In other words, this series is almost everything I've always wanted. I say almost because Kiersten White is publishing literally everything I have always wanted next year: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... In this book, we pick up right where we left off in Now I Rise. Lada is, unsurprisingly, on a murderous rampage, making many powerful enemies and a few important allies as she goes along. White pushes the limits on how much sympathy we can have for a character who is borderline villain, but I personally adored Lada to the end. “The empire is coming for us, and I intend to win.” While I doubt I would have had the same sympathies for the real, male Vlad, I think the author captured Lada's frustrations with the limitations of being a woman really well. She is obviously a very screwed up, disturbed person, and it was impossible for me to not feel sympathy for her. Even when she is at her worst (which is 95% of the time). And I love that, even though she is incredibly strong, she also has moments of weakness and self-doubt that remind us of her underlying humanity. True to the character of this series, this final installment is action-packed and gory. Tensions between Lada, Radu and Mehmed reach an all-time high, with their affections for one another never far behind their animosity. Such page-turning goodness! I love that this series positively portrays both a gay romance and Islam. Radu and Cyprian offer some light in an otherwise very dark trilogy, as does the respectful handling of various faiths (or lack of, in Lada's case). We need this warmth to counter the ever-growing pile of bodies and the tension created by the approaching climax. War made monsters of them all. Of course, I won't tell you anything that could spoil the ending, but I found it a very satisfying conclusion. White wraps things up just as they should be, in my opinion, with the perfect balance of historical fact and artistic license. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    personally, I feel as if my heart was ripped out of my fucking chest and my life was just changed for the better. I do not have the Words To Convey how much this ending for a series meant to me here was my lowkey spoilery initial list of what I wanted out of this sequel: • please let Radu be happy • you know exactly who I want him to be happy with • LET NAZIRA REUNITE WITH HER WIFE • Mehmed dying maybe • honestly I think Lada's going to die no matter what for historicity if nothing else • please jus personally, I feel as if my heart was ripped out of my fucking chest and my life was just changed for the better. I do not have the Words To Convey how much this ending for a series meant to me here was my lowkey spoilery initial list of what I wanted out of this sequel: • please let Radu be happy • you know exactly who I want him to be happy with • LET NAZIRA REUNITE WITH HER WIFE • Mehmed dying maybe • honestly I think Lada's going to die no matter what for historicity if nothing else • please just let Radu, Nazira, Fatima, and Cyprian be gay in peace. please Kiersten White I'm a nice person did all of this happen? not necessarily. but did I find this conclusion incredibly satisfying and one of my favorite series conclusions ever? hell yes. Okay, so basic TL;DR: This book is my second favorite series conclusion I have ever read [after literally my favorite book ever] and nothing can ever beat it and oh my fucking god, I loved this. This series is political and character driven, which is... such a deep mood for me. This series is about misogyny, about internalized homophobia, about religion, about learning what you deserve in a world that wants you to accept nothing. It is a character and theme study that I just… adore. So much. Radu had been wrong all this time. He had felt guilty for the way his heart yearned for other men. But it was not his own love that was poisonous and destructive. His love destroyed nothing, hurt no one. Lada loved Wallachia above all else, and this was the result. What Mehmed and Lada did—because of what they set their hearts on with both people and land—was far worse than anything Radu’s love could ever lead him to do. It was an odd sort of thing to take comfort in, but he accepted it. Nazira was right. His love had no evil in it. He could not say the same for his sister’s. Radu's characterization has come so far since And I Darken - in Now I Rise, Kiersten White really made me love him, and I just... relate to him so much. I love how well Radu’s sexuality is written. He is so careful about expressing his love for other men, and it’s so realistic not only to the period, but also to my experiences in our current world. Kiersten White is really one of the few not-openly-queer authors I trust most with writing queer characters. There was something to be said for having his heart broken so many times. Broken things healed thicker and stronger than they were before. Assuming one survived long enough to heal. And then… there’s Lada. Lada, who I hate and empathize with at the same time. I love how cunning Lada is, how she does everything differently than expected. Every moment of planning she has made me want to scream with joy. And my favorite Lada quote is a spoiler, so I can't put it here, but I think she's one of the best-written antiheroes I've read recently and I really like it? I really feel like this series went so far past its original sort-of-fucked-up-love-triangle focus. The most important relationships here are predominantly platonic. Lada and Radu. Lada and Nicolae [I’d die for them]. And then there's Radu and Nazira, who I basically ship platonically harder than I have ever shipped anything romantically. “I am sorry, then.” “To be right?” Nazira laughed. “It is a heavy burden, always being right. But some of us must bear it.” “I am grateful you bear it for me, as I am not qualified to carry it myself.” Speaking of which, I AM GIVING RADU AND NAZIRA THE PARAGRAPH THEY DESERVE. Kiersten White is really out here givin the gays everything they want!! They touched cheeks! They held hands!!!!! They platonically love each other so deeply and it's fucking gorgeous!!!!! They are… literally worth the world to me and I adore them and I’d just die for them. Nazira and Radu invented mlm / wlw solidarity and that's so valid. Radu put a hand over his heart, wondering if he would feel her death, if he would know. They had been separated for so long. She had looked at him that night in Mehmed’s tent as though faced with a memory, not a man. Also… listen. Guys. Radu and Lada. Every time Radu and Lada think about each other I want to cry. But honestly, the most important thing about this whole book was the ending. Because, okay, I have a lot of thoughts, but I don't want to say them, because this book is not even fucking released yet, but also, I have to say them? So please, if you have not read this book, this is the end of the review. Pretend it's the end. Bye. Nazira had not exaggerated her intentions. She let go of Fatima only when absolutely necessary. Radu leaned back on his cushion, smiling to himself as Nazira tried to navigate eating dinner while keeping hold of Fatima’s hand at all times. So... the found family ending of this is the best-ever subversion of the bury your gays trope I have ever read in my entire fucking life and I.... legitimately cried. You should have seen me and Em, one of my bffs on this hellsite, screaming in the DMs both reading this at the same time. We were such fucking messes and it meant even more to her, as a Muslim queer woman, than it did to me, and I just... wow I'm a wreck? And also... Radu chose people over power. And that was the difference. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    Saying goodbye to a series is rarely easy, especially an all-consuming one like The Conqueror’s Saga never fails to be. The moment I met Lada Dracul, I knew I would be making an old character unhappy by bumping her down my list of favourite heroines to make place for Lada. The thing about this young woman is that she isn’t easy to place. Is she a heroine? Yes and no. Is she an anti-heroine? Yes and no. Is she human? Yes… and no. And yet, you can’t help but root for her. You can’t help but want he Saying goodbye to a series is rarely easy, especially an all-consuming one like The Conqueror’s Saga never fails to be. The moment I met Lada Dracul, I knew I would be making an old character unhappy by bumping her down my list of favourite heroines to make place for Lada. The thing about this young woman is that she isn’t easy to place. Is she a heroine? Yes and no. Is she an anti-heroine? Yes and no. Is she human? Yes… and no. And yet, you can’t help but root for her. You can’t help but want her to achieve her goals, regardless of the amount of murders she commits in the process. Because Lada has something that few people do: sheer determination. Of course, many will fight night and day for what they want, but Lada will fight beyond that. She wants to conquer and, goddamn it, she will conquer until the end of her days! Except, Lada’s is not a journey to be completely admired. After all, she has to sacrifice so much – more than she ever expected – in the process of rising to power. It takes absolute strength, incomparable intelligence, unwavering perseverance and continuous faith in one’s abilities, all qualities worthy of praise. But it also takes a certain amount of arrogance, skilful manipulation and a heart that knows deep betrayal, all of which I do not aspire to possess. So while Lada will forever remain in my dear memories, I do not aspire to become her entirely. As she soon discovers, it is quite lonely at the top. I don’t want to have to look over my shoulders every second of the day. Or actively question the loyalty of those who surround me. Or let my ego get me into trouble. But Lada doesn’t need much to be happy: all she needs is a knife and a boyar. This is an epic conclusion to an equally epic series, both an elaborate tale of triumph and a cautionary one. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tweebs♥️ (semi-hiatus)

    Radu laughed. "I still cannot quite believe we all found each other.” “ I can. You were always ruthless about finding people to love you.” Well slap me on a grill and call me BBQ You know what Kiersten White did to my heart? She buried it, nailed it, crushed it, crucified it, blasted it, murdered it, roasted it, demolished it, and destroyed it. After, she was thoroughly done with my heart; my brain was the next target. It didn’t even stand a chance because I remember I was at work one day and a Radu laughed. "I still cannot quite believe we all found each other.” “ I can. You were always ruthless about finding people to love you.” Well slap me on a grill and call me BBQ You know what Kiersten White did to my heart? She buried it, nailed it, crushed it, crucified it, blasted it, murdered it, roasted it, demolished it, and destroyed it. After, she was thoroughly done with my heart; my brain was the next target. It didn’t even stand a chance because I remember I was at work one day and a customer hit me with the “what’s your name again?” question and I said, “Fuck, I forgot.” Jsdfhjkdfhdsjkfhdskjfhdskjfhdskjfhdskjfhdskjfhdsjfhdfdsjfds Translation: Goodbye everybody. I died well pleased. Bright we burn, made me lose like 35 years off my life. It was bloody, ruthless, gut-wrenching and absolutely beautiful in every single aspect. It made me scream at humans, inanimate objects or just...screaming in general. It made me cry so much like the floor clearly doesn’t need any mopping now like I can see my own reflection. It made me happy, proud, afraid but most importantly, satisfied. “She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was a woman. It was the last that scared them most of all.” I erased this review countless times because I’m just in complete awe. It’s over. This is it. I never knew my heart could ever hurt so much. Every time I type up something, it's just never enough. I can't capture what I truly want to say through words. Maybe, just go on YouTube and search for someone laying on the floor surrounded by a puddle of tears if you wanna understand me. Ugh. I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it's truly D O N E. There's no more being sucked into this world and being amazed by everything. There's no more putting myself in these characters shoes and being apart of their wonderful yet terrifying journey. There’s no more clutching my chest whenever the plot takes a turn….and by turn, I really meant A TURN. There’s no more sacrificing my sleep and obviously representing that eye bag life. I mean, my eye bags are pretty much designer now….Louis Vuitton got nothing on me. The point is... There’s just simply no more. As you can see, I'm not okay and I don't think I ever want to be. There's a reason why I usually never review a final book of a series. It's very difficult to calm yourself, sit down, gather your thoughts together and type up a review when you could be dealing with other priorities such as sobbing. I have absolutely no idea how to produce a review anymore since I've been kind of MIA on this website for several months. So, yeah I'll give it my best shot. Enjoy the front row seat to this hot mess :) Where do I begin??? Oh, this is a spoiler-free review :) PLOT ► Intense ► Everything was intense. ► It was filled with action, betrayal, tragedy, conflict, romance, incredibly dark, and emotionally gripping. ►Every word, page and chapter will have you…..idk about you but my family didn’t appreciate being grabbed like every 3 seconds. Or witness me hyperventilating which I don’t blame them because I’m overly dramatic. Or having to frequently ask me if I’m alright because I’d look at them like my eyes will pop out of their sockets. ► The plot will clearly drag you left, right and centre. ► It will make your veins explode. ►You’ll experience like 1000 mind blowing plot twists and sadly you will not be prepared for a single one. ►Your heart might be fucked up after this book but look on the bright side, it will be filled with everything you never knew you needed in your life. ► I think this is the part where I mic drop ►*mic drop* ► Idk why I had to announce that. CHARACTERS ►Fuck you. ►And Fuck you. ►That is all. ►I lied I forgot one more thing. ► FUCK YOU ► Can’t believe I’m saying this but I, Tweebs, emotionally connected to the pomegranate on the cover. ► Let me explain myself before you judge my entire existence. ► These characters sliced me in half just like that pomegranate on the cover. ► Now onto the characters that sliced me in fucking half. Lada ■ I should hate her ■ She is vicious, absolutely broken, savage and literally will carry out on every single threat. And yes, she’s crazy but once you get a taste of her vulnerability; everything you ever thought of her will disappear. Okay, not really but you’d develop a sense of understanding and sympathy. You will cry for her because she's just........a broken and lost girl who deals with everything in such a different yet cruel way. ■ I love the fact that her character wasn’t afraid to do anything. She doesn't think, she acts. She's so freakin stubborn. She will fight, no matter who you are, if you pose a threat to her accomplishing her goals and ambitions. And yes, she has me shaking in fear and being left in disbelief in like every chapter but hey THAT’S MY CHILD I LOVE HER. Radu ■ You ever just like someone so much that you bring them up for no reason at all in every conversation because that’s me with Radu. ■ He is my smart little scrumptious cinnamon roll ■ He is the biggest softie who just wants to spread love and kindness everywhere. ■ He faces so many obstacles that plague him yet he always turns toward his faith for guidance. I just....his faith in Islam is so beautiful. So pure. So innocent. It really touches me as a believer of the religion. ■ Lada may appear to look like the most troubled sibling but I feel like Radu is the one. He's troubled by so many things and internalizes it. I'm just so happy that Radu received everything he ever wished for. He's had his own fair share of being on the same "I should hate this character" boat but I just can't stay hating my child. ■ Honestly, someone fetch me tissues. I’m in desperate need of them. Other Characters ■ We have so many characters and I have so little brain cells left so I’ll sum it up really quickly. ■ I just love how the plot doesn’t just revolve around Lada and Radu. It revolves around everyone. From Mehmed, to Nikolai, to Nazira, to Bogdan, To Fatima, to Cyprian, and many more. ■ You will feel their struggles, their fears, their expectations, and their happiness. ■ These characters are just simply unforgettable. ■ Heck, even the ones you HATE are unforgettable. WRITING ► Everything in this book is magnificent. ► It makes picking quotes very very VERY difficult ► The devil works hard but Kiersten White works harder ► She has this amazing talent to lure you in with her writing. It’s sticky like syrup. Once you’re caught. That’s it. There’s no going back. ► I just….ugh. Everything was refreshing. ► The storytelling was enthralling. ► Is it possible to remove whatever is left of my heart and give it to Kiersten White? OTHER THINGS I LOVED ► I loved the politics, history, and finding one's true self. ► I loved the relationships in this book ► I loved the representation of different sexualities within this story and how it was thoroughly explored. I believe, a lot of people will be so freakin excited with the things that occur in this book. Why? BECAUSE I AM. ► I loved the fact that I realized how my religion, Islam, is interpreted by different perspectives. It was very eye-opening to me. ► There's so many things I loved, admired and cherished. I'm incapable of justifying my emotions. I have absolutely no faith in the English language to capture what I truly want to say. ►I just loved every fucking thing. CONCLUSION ► Wow even typing the word “conclusion” is making my eyes fucking twitch. ► I CAN'T BELIEVE ITS OVER LIKE CAN YOU ? BECAUSE I CAN’T ► I might be unsatisfied that the journey has come to an end but deep down, I'm so fucking satisfied. I choked on my saliva like 7 times because everything wrapped up so beautifully. ►Bright we burn was stunning, breathtaking and the perfect finale. This series is probably going to be one of my favorite's because I will never forget the amount of tears I’ve shed. I will never forget the characters who, quite literally, demanded to live inside my heart. I will never forget, amidst the chaos, this book delivered so many genuine messages filled with hope. And lastly, I will never forget to repeatedly thank Kiersten White for writing and blessing us with this beautiful gem of a series. It may be the end of a remarkable journey but this story and the characters will never end for me. They'll always remain fucking alive in my heart. And hey, re-reads. We can't forget re-reads. Kiersten White, I look forward to all of your future books. Thank you so much. Now let me go cry. Just three bodies mattered. The same three that had always mattered. Radu’s. Lada’s. And Mehmed’s.” Now, y'all already know what to do by now. ******************************************** PRE-REVIEW my thoughts on the cover mom: what do you want from the grocery store? me: a pomegranate mom: but you don't even lik- me: WELL me: *dramatic pause* me: I DO NOW you know you won at life when kiersten white liked this review

  6. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    #1 And I Darken ★★★★★ #2 Now I Rise ★★★★★ #3 Bright We Burn ★★★☆☆ This series has been an incredible journey, and I was both eager and terrified to see how it would end. As many of you already know, I tend to avoid series finales like the plague. They’re almost always my least favorite part of a series, probably because I like very particular types of endings where all the loose ends are tied and everyone has completed their tasks—and these are rarely synonymous with happy, fan-servicing endings, #1 And I Darken ★★★★★ #2 Now I Rise ★★★★★ #3 Bright We Burn ★★★☆☆ This series has been an incredible journey, and I was both eager and terrified to see how it would end. As many of you already know, I tend to avoid series finales like the plague. They’re almost always my least favorite part of a series, probably because I like very particular types of endings where all the loose ends are tied and everyone has completed their tasks—and these are rarely synonymous with happy, fan-servicing endings, which is what this felt like to me. She could not sleep in those stone rooms, empty and yet still crowded with the ghosts of all the princes who had come before her. Lada has been one of my favorite heroines since I first read And I Darken, but she was perhaps my greatest struggle in this installment. You see, Lada has always been vicious, but she’s been clever about it; she’s made a habit of outwitting everyone around her, constantly, and her intentions have always been fair: to pull Wallachia out of the mud and see her people thrive without the shackles put upon them by men like the boyars and Mehmed. After all, fire and blood and death were nothing to a country led by a dragon. In this finale, something feels lost in her character arc to me. Gone is the conniving yet brilliant young woman who took from the rich to give to the poor, and in her place is a sloppy warlord who destroys innocents recklessly and stumbles into one trap after another. I understand character development and that sometimes, the characters we love become less than what they were, but I believe with my whole heart that this was the wrong direction to take Lada’s story in. Someday Radu would not long for a time when he was certain things were terrible but had no idea just how much worse they were about to get. And then, there’s Radu, who I actually admitted in my Now I Rise review was one of the most infuriating characters I’ve ever met in my life. He makes almost exclusively terrible decisions because of his affections for Mehmed, and he is blind to the entire world around him whenever he is in the sultan’s presence. But, you know what else I mentioned in that review: I liked that about him. I enjoyed the drama he brought to the pages. That was no longer the case by the end of Bright We Burn. He could not have conversations about his future as though his past were not looped around his neck like a noose, choking him with regret and sorrow. As we near the end of the story, Radu finally begins to see the error of his ways, yet he doesn’t do anything to fix his mistakes. Instead, he doubles down, and while I won’t spoil the action for you, I will say that the direction he takes shocked me in the most awful way. Much like with Lada, I felt like I was reading an entirely different character from the one I’d grown to know in the first two books. Radu expected to find his friend angry. Instead, he found Mehmed sitting on a pillow, staring up at the ceiling of the tent with a bemused smile. “I think she missed us,” he said. The one thing that remains entirely the same in Bright We Burn is Mehmed, who is still this insufferable, disgusting cretin of a man. I can’t say anything at all about how I feel regarding Mehmed without spoiling the entire ending, but if you’ve read it, feel free to DM me—I have quite a lot of feelings about his story. He had changed his faith, his life, even his name, but he could not change or escape his sister. There are a million other things I’d like to fuss about, but they’re all spoilers, so I’ll leave them all be; however, if you’ve read it, there’s a particular incident that occurs with Lada that is intended to be a “twist”, and it not only frustrated me that I predicted it so long ago, but it also positively enraged me with how she handled it. (Again, feel free to DM—lots of rage to get out over this one.) “It seems to me she has tremendous regard for blood. She simply prefers it spilled on the ground.” All in all, this wasn’t a horrible book on its own; as you can see, I still thought it was worth a solid 3 stars. That said, it was one of the most disappointing series finales I have ever read, in terms of the direction the story took. At the time that I’m writing this review, however, my opinion is definitely not the common consensus, so if you have enjoyed the series thus far, I do strongly urge you to pick this up and give it a chance. All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to my friend Lynette for sending me this ARC! You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

  8. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    This was brutal and bloody and so perfectly and epically satisfying. Which are words I'M CRYING AS I TYPE because finales scare the frick out of me...and this one managed to stab me in the soul (like 5 times) and then still give me everything I hoped it would. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Everything is perfect. I will also scream quietly into the void for 2-3 working days before I feel like rereading the whole trilogy agaaaaaain. THANK YOU TO THE AUTHOR FOR A PERFECT FINALE. I'M CRYING IT'S FINE. WOW. + The pa This was brutal and bloody and so perfectly and epically satisfying. Which are words I'M CRYING AS I TYPE because finales scare the frick out of me...and this one managed to stab me in the soul (like 5 times) and then still give me everything I hoped it would. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Everything is perfect. I will also scream quietly into the void for 2-3 working days before I feel like rereading the whole trilogy agaaaaaain. THANK YOU TO THE AUTHOR FOR A PERFECT FINALE. I'M CRYING IT'S FINE. WOW. + The pacing and plot was absolute perfection here. It's a little smaller than the other books, but I quite liked how it all panned out. The middle is SO INTENSE...like forget books where the middle drags. 0_0 This was terrifying and exhilarating. There's wars and betrayals, kidnapping plots and horror, and there are the softest quietest moments that just make my heart so full. Like some of my most favourite chapters were simply two precious characters getting to hold hands, fingers all entwined, and I just !!! 94% of the reason I'm sobbing right there. + Also it is DARK. I love dark books. I love it when books don't pretend to be dark, but actually absolutely are. Lada is badass and terrifying and SHE FOLLOWS THROUGH. The battles are grim, the aftermaths are horrifying. It's just so well written and portrayed. Like Lada is so unlikeable, yet I love her. And Radu makes some awful betrayals, but I love him. + Um so obviously: perfect characters ARE PERFECT. I can't even saaaaay how much I love Radu and Lada. I LOVE THEM OK. Absolute best siblings of softness and mURDER ever. Their arcs are incredible, with Lada being vulnerable between ripping people's throats out (um with her bare hands but what can you do) and Radu learning that he doesn't have to be a warrior to be brave. That kindness is sometimes the most daring and brave choice of all. I FREAKING LOVE RADU. HE IS SO PRECIOUS. He is soft and he is allowed to be soft. Lada is harsh and she is allowed to be harsh. afjdksladjkl my favourite siblings (view spoiler)[My heart is also SO FULL fo Radu and Cyprian!! I swear I DIED when Radu walked in to find Nazira and nooooo it was CYPRIAN AND RADU JUST LOST HIS SHIT AND KISSED HIM. I MEAN. I wanted this stupid boy to find love (nOT Mehmed) and I wanted it so so bad and I was so scared it would just end in a billion buckets of blood. But RADU GOT HIS BOY.❤️❤️❤️I CAN'T EVEN.❤️❤️❤️ (hide spoiler)] And quick shout out to our queen and ruler: Nazira. She is so sweet and lovely and conniving and will absolutely rearrange your life FOR YOUR HAPPINESS and loves Radu so so deeply while being absolutely incredibly in love with her wife, Fatima. I just !! I love this incredible queer family they are all precious 10/10 will die for them all. + It also managed to make me laugh aND wail. Which is talent. I love the writing! It's not the typical voice or style...and I think that's what now draws me to it?! It's different. It's refreshing. I actually have not been this obsessed with a book pretty much all year (barring a few others!) so this just made my dEAD HEART BEAT AGAIN. THANK YOU. Bloody, brutal, and unforgiving -- this series is totally unique and incredible and FULL OF HEART AND SOUL. It weaves actually really heartfelt and beautiful messages in amongst the wars and woes, the loss and the betrayals. It has one of my favourite love triangles (BEST conclusion) and and incredible cast of complex characters that I just love love love. With all their flaws! And their nastiness or weakness!! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. LOVE EVERYTHING. I SHOULD GO SIT DOWN WOW. ~ QUOTES ~ She had always wanted him at her side. Had always known that together, they could accomplish what neither could alone. The more Radu knew the women around him, the more he wondered if any of them were not secretly terrifying. Radu laughed. "I still cannot quite believe we all found each other." "I can. You were always ruthless about finding people to love you." (This is from the author's note, but I just love it so much) Thank you for embracing this fictional family of mine, for proving that no idea is too weird, no girl is too brutal, and no boy is too tender for readers of YA. You are going to change the world, and I can't wait to see how you do it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bibi

    Gritty. Bloody. Unputdownable. The words creative and talented seem like benign descriptors and I’m afraid to imagine what goes on in the mind of Kiersten White. Do yourself a favor and read this series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yusra ✨

    2nd reread- just wondering if this book will ever not make me cry. --------------------------- this series means the world to me. I can never find the proper words to describe just how much I’ve loved this gory, bloody, brutal journey that Lada has taken me on, and the moving, spiritual way Radu changed me. it took me a straight three days to muster the courage to read the epilogue because I was not ready in any way, shape or form for the ending of a trilogy that’s just established a place in my 2nd reread- just wondering if this book will ever not make me cry. --------------------------- this series means the world to me. I can never find the proper words to describe just how much I’ve loved this gory, bloody, brutal journey that Lada has taken me on, and the moving, spiritual way Radu changed me. it took me a straight three days to muster the courage to read the epilogue because I was not ready in any way, shape or form for the ending of a trilogy that’s just established a place in my heart that no other book will take. I’m not even ashamed of how much I’ll be gushing in this review, so here we go. if you thought “and i darken” was historical… just you wait. this book is historical to the extreme, which honestly had my head spinning but also had me screaming because I love hist fic a whole lot. there’s political intrigue that has you second guessing everything and honestly… i’ve never been so shook. it’s a great thing. (update: it's actually... not that bad. I think I was rushing the first time around and therefore couldn't properly understand what was going on.) lada oh lada, lada, lada. i can’t put into words just how much I hate her? but love her? how many times have you read a book where the girl is pretty badass… but there’s always a limit? like she’s in love with the egotistic prince so she won’t kill him, or his family etc etc?? she’ll falter before the killing blow? or leave people just “injured” on the battlefield? this book is like a breath of fresh air against all those stereotypes. i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again: kiersten white ain’t worried about anything. she doesn’t care if you think her heroine is too brutal. that’s just my presumption, since she just keeps making lada worse and worse. and i’ll be honest: you know that song, “i hate you, i love you”? god, i hate that song much, but it’s the only thing that comes to mind when I think about lada. i hate her, i love her, i hate that i love her. because seriously, there’s so much I don’t think I can forgive her for. but there’s also so much to admire and love about how she doesn’t have a limit. she doesn’t have a quota to fill or a “break”. she has one goal: Wallachia, and she is willing to sacrifice anything for it. i’m almost envious of how sure she is about her life and her goals. that isn’t to say she’s completely unfeeling. we’re exposed to her true vulnerabilities in the most heartbreaking way. how much she values Radu, both as an ally and a brother. how much she cares for the group of Janissaries she started out with. how she deals with heartbreak and the loss of loved ones. I honestly have loved, screamed, and yelled at Lada privately in my head, but I never expected to cry for her. it felt like a piece of me was leaving everytime a goodbye was said. y’all already know i could go on, and on, and on. but all i’ll say is lada is one of the most amazing and crazy antiheroines to ever exist. and just...wow. i’m almost in tears, bye. radu in case you missed it, i love radu . I just love him. what more can i say? there’s just a lot of room in my heart for radu and he will forever remain. first and foremost: i was so beyond excited when he converted to islam/started showing an interest in islam in “and i darken”. because I had already seen how much attention was being paid to the details, whether that was historical or religious, and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. and all in all; I wasn’t. radu’s faith was so pure and the peace he found within it was just… spiritually healing? he was just so real, and it mattered a lot to me. just generally speaking, radu is the smarter sibling. *hope lada doesn’t impale me for saying this* but he is tactical, he has a way with words, and he deals fairly. he knows the court games, and boy, he enjoys them. him and lada combined… i’d hate to deal with that, if i was the enemy. and oh my god. i’m going to miss him so much. it feels like yesterday he was the young boy who stayed close to his nurse and wanted to join bogdan and lada when they played. just yesterday he challenged Colin for the honey cake he knew wasn’t real. just yesterday he was tormented by mircea and used his clever mind to deal out punishment to his bullies. just yesterday he was utterly in love with mehmed and couldn’t think past him. just yesterday he was befriended by kumal and married to nazira, trying to figure out his love and whether it was something dirty, unclean. and now? radu has changed. his character development… i’m crying. it was everything i’ve ever wanted for his character. everything from his past was wrapped up and he emerged a new person and...wow. so much love for everything radu. mehmed i feel the need to mention him because he was a critical part of this series. and he grew too, just not in the way i wanted him to. this book had a lot less mehmed, and honestly, i was fine with it. mehmed grew to only love Lada, and when that love got nowhere… he almost disappeared of the face of this book. it makes me real nostalgic thinking about the days when he was young, a carefree boy who no one paid attention to. now, he has isolated himself to adhere to his status as sultan and… i felt bad for him. his love for lada didn’t really have any affect on me, but the fact that he lost the help of two childhood friends and allies is pretty heartbreaking. nazira i love nazira. i didn’t realize the extremity of my love for her until this book. but honestly, her happiness, her love… it just really got to me and my heart goes for her. and fatima. and cyprian. all of radu’s newfound family. final verdict this book is just really sad. for me, it was mostly just sadness at leaving this journey that i’ve been on with some of my favourite characters of YA, and realizing i’ll never see them again. it’s… depressing. also, this was a real quick review and pretty messy, but i’ll be writing a better one soon (i hope). in conclusion: #readthebook (view spoiler)[ i will never forgive kumal and nicolae’s death (hide spoiler)] a huge thank you to the publisher for sending an ARC!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    EDIT 20/01/2018 My favourite fruit on the cover is a sign from Kiersten White that she's writing this book for me. So no worry, buddies, our babies will be fine! Because if they aren't, I'll probably burst many a vessel! Yay! EDIT 04/12/2017 TITLE REVEAAAAL oh gosh how on Earth are these titles so pretty? EDIT 11/05/2017 We bookworms always say it, right? “The wait will kill me,” or, “Give the book to me now and nobody gets hurt.” But this time I mean it. The wait will kill me. Or I will kill someone EDIT 20/01/2018 My favourite fruit on the cover is a sign from Kiersten White that she's writing this book for me. So no worry, buddies, our babies will be fine! Because if they aren't, I'll probably burst many a vessel! Yay! EDIT 04/12/2017 TITLE REVEAAAAL oh gosh how on Earth are these titles so pretty? EDIT 11/05/2017 We bookworms always say it, right? “The wait will kill me,” or, “Give the book to me now and nobody gets hurt.” But this time I mean it. The wait will kill me. Or I will kill someone else first. And, Radu, my precious. You will find happiness.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jiana

    This trilogy is special to my heart. I wish I could put it into words just how much. I'm beyond happy that Bright We Burn is the 50th book I read this year, and the book I complete my 2018 Reading Challenge with. The thing with these books is that they're slow. I admit. They're not fast-paced at all. And each book took me at least a week to finish. However, they're so worth it. I admit I didn't love this one as much as I loved the first two as I found myself struggling while reading it. Words fai This trilogy is special to my heart. I wish I could put it into words just how much. I'm beyond happy that Bright We Burn is the 50th book I read this year, and the book I complete my 2018 Reading Challenge with. The thing with these books is that they're slow. I admit. They're not fast-paced at all. And each book took me at least a week to finish. However, they're so worth it. I admit I didn't love this one as much as I loved the first two as I found myself struggling while reading it. Words fail me. I wish I was able to describe just how much I love Radu and how beautiful he is. The development Radu undergoes over the course of this trilogy is spectacular. A sheltered boy who sought to please people became a strong man whose choices revolved around his own happiness. Radu passed through hardships that would easily make him cold and ruthless, yet he maintained the inner peace he's had since he was a little boy. He chose love and people over strength. I think that takes a lot of strength. Radu Dracul is a beautiful soul and he was able to find love with someone who is just as beautiful as he is. Again, words fail me. Cyprian is such an amazing character yet I wish he had more page time this book. Now, Lada. Where do I begin? Lada is a tough character to love, in my opinion. I had a love/hate relationship with her in this book. Times I was so angry I wanted to smack her, times I was so upset for her. On one hand, I love Lada's strength, her passion and her resilience. However, on the other hand, she's cruel. That's the thing, you don't have to be cruel to be strong. I was bothered by how Lada mistreated her closest friends and how she took them for granted. Until it was too late. By the last few chapters, my heart was breaking for Lada. White finally showed us her hidden side. Her vulnerable side. Gosh. I don't know you guys. She's just beyond complex. I'd go into Lada and Radu's relationship, but honestly I'd cry so better not. I'll just say that Kiersten White gave me what I needed. Concerning the side characters (especially Nicolae, Nazira, and Bogdan), I have one word to describe them: unforgettable. Even Mehmed, who you'd want to punch every time he breathed, is unforgettable, and honestly? Despite everything he did, I don't hate him. Of course, White couldn't help but break my heart this book. How dare you, Kiersten. How dare you! I'm not sure how I feel about the ending; it left a bittersweet feeling in me honestly. This trilogy is epic and I am beyond happy that I got to read it and experience Lada and Radu's journeys. I still can't believe it's over, and every time I remember that it is, my heart breaks a little more. Buddy read with Clara & May ♥ Update 18/01/2018: WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE GLORIOUS COVER HOLY SHIT!!!! But what does that pomegranate mean?? Now I need to wait for the UK cover to be released because I own the UK editions. Update 04/11/2017: TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. TITLE. @ Kiersten White what do you mean I have to wait till June 2018 for this???

  13. 4 out of 5

    Delirious Disquisitions

    You should read this if you like: historical fiction, strong/badass female protagonists with anger management issues, ruthless women, villians/antiheros, LGBTQ charcaters, enemies to lovers trope, dysfunctional relationships, murder, war, strategies, gore, etc. A bit of warning, this is going to be a long one. I spent about 70% of this book sobbing my heart out, dreading the ending, and generally being an emotional wreck. This book burned a hole through my heart and I'm just so incredibly sad th You should read this if you like: historical fiction, strong/badass female protagonists with anger management issues, ruthless women, villians/antiheros, LGBTQ charcaters, enemies to lovers trope, dysfunctional relationships, murder, war, strategies, gore, etc. A bit of warning, this is going to be a long one. I spent about 70% of this book sobbing my heart out, dreading the ending, and generally being an emotional wreck. This book burned a hole through my heart and I'm just so incredibly sad that it's over. Bright We Burn picks up sometime after the events in book 2. Lada, as Prince of Wallachia, is busy systematically disposing of her enemies, establishing new rules in place, and generally ruling with fear and an iron fist. Meanwhile, Radu has returned to Mehmed's side, weary but wiser from his time at Constantinople. The story is fast paced and action packed. Kiersten White weaves an intricate plot rife with political intrigue, military strategies, jealousy, love/hate, and heartbreak. Amidst all this is Lada’s struggle to hold onto her beloved Wallachia. It’s historical fiction so we know how it all ends going in. And yet, in White’s hands these facts come to melodramatic life as she expertly transverses that thin line between historical accuracy and creative liberty. At times it blurred the lines between fiction and fantasy in my mind, so invested was I in these characters. I’ve never been more heartbroken then that moment when I suddenly remembered that Lada wasn’t a real person and that even if history remembers Vlad Tepes, it will never remember her name. She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was a woman. It was the last that scared them most of all. While Vlad the Impaler was a fascinating character in his own right, there is an added subtext to his story when seen through a female lens. Lada embodies all the extra challenges of woman born in an era where ambition, ruthlessness, and drive were firmly masculine traits. She had to fight twice as hard for any semblance of respect; to gain an inch and fight to keep the things she has won. Lada’s struggles are real and relatable. Her frustrations understandable. We sympathize with her and applaud her victories even as we feel the horror of Lada’s actions. This isn’t to say that Lada is a likable character, either as a protagonist or a villain. In writing Lada, the author had her work cut out for her. Unlike so many YA female protagonists who flirt with the concept of unlikability, Lada jumps right off that edge with no holds barred. She has all the markings of a true villain. Lada is violent, destructive, ruthless, and an all round terrible person. Lada has no qualms about murdering men, women, and children on her way to the top. She doesn’t care about winning over her people, she would rather over them with fear and her nightmarish reputation. Yet in spite of everything she does to get to her throne, I just can’t help but love her. Maybe it's because Lada’s ambition has always been in service of her country. Everything that she does is for the betterment of Wallachia and her people. There is a strange kind of kinship between Lada and Wallachia, so much so that one becomes an extension of the other. Both Lada and Wallachia grow up under the shadow of the enemy. Both find ways to adapt and survive under those conditions. Wallachia’s hardened landscape parallels Lada’s personality, their soft and vulnerable hearts tucked away under an impenetrable armour. They are both small, fierce, and incredibly hard to love. And yet, like Radu and Mehmed, you come to love them anyways. “Then do not aim for greatness. Aim for goodness. And however you get there will the right path for you, my sweet Radu.” Radu’s voice has grown steadily stronger over the course of the last 2 books. In Bright we Burn we are met with a Radu haunted by the choices he made in Constantinople. His indecision cost people their lives and now on the other side of the fence, he no longer knows what he’s fighting for. I liked this older, wearier version of his character who questions his decisions and no longer blindly follows behind Mehmed. Radu’s experience has made him stronger. It's forged a confidence in himself and his abilities; he is no longer driven by feelings of inadequacy or shame. Rather, he is driven by love for his family made up of Nazira, Fatma, Kumal, and even Cyprian. Radu is not Lada or Mehmed. Where their decisions come from a place of ruthlessness and ambition, his comes from a place of love and mercy. Radu’s strength of character lies in his sheer likability and his skill for manipulation that comes from years of trying to fit into and carve a place for himself. In some ways, that makes him stronger than Mehmed or Lada. “Do you think it was him that came between us? Or were we destined to end up on opposite sides?” Lada felt an unfamiliar heaviness behind her eyes. “We had to survive. We just figured out different ways to do it.”It struck her then, how they had lived the exact same childhood. How had the same circumstances shaped them in divergent ways? Radu and Lada are two other side of same coin and their interactions has always been fascinating to read. In this book, they match each other step for step, making moves and countermoves on either side. And in between, as always, is Mehmed. Theirs is a messed up relationship with Lada chaising Wallachia, Mehmed after Lada, and Rudu trailing behind mehmed. It's as its always been except this time the stakes are higher with a war, two countries, and millions of lives on the line. While I love this trios fucked up relationship dynamic, I just cannot bring myself to like Mehmed. Objectively I can admire drive/ vision. But I just hate him as a love interest! He geniunly pisses me off the way he completely disregards Lada’s ambition. For Mehmed, Lada is something to be conquered and possessed. He has never understood her obsession with Wallachia and frankly, is a condescending douchebag whenever they talk about it. As if Lada trying to given Wallachia is a game and she will come back to him when she grows tired of it. Mehmed’s dismissal of Lada’s dreams just undermines everything that she has worked so hard to accomplish. It infuriates me that despite everything, he still refuses to see Lada as an equal adversary. Nothing can be more insulting and I just hate him for it. Beyond everything, Mehmed is a selfish prick. His refusal to let go of either sibling just reinforces that idea. But at least now both Lada and Radu have more important things to worry about. “He had all the power in the world, and he would extend none to help me. He did not want to see me succeed. He only ever cared about me in relationship to himself.” And now that I’m done ranting about the trio, a few other things I loved about this book: Secondary characters: I just love the secondary characters in this book! Everyone from Lada’s men and women, the people of wallacia, Nazira, Fatima, Kunal, Cyrian, Mara, and even Stephan! Each character had their own role to play here, no matter how small. White did such an incredible job of fleshing out these characters that any one of them could have their own spin off book and I would love it! Sexuality: I don’t have words for just how much I love the LGBTQ representation in this book! Amidst all the hate and bloodshed, Radu, Nazariza, Fatima, and Cyrian form their own little utopia of love and acceptance. I cry everytime I think of this family and the struggles they had to go to find each other. White treats this subject matter with so much love and care especially in the context of religion. It's never preachy or one sided. Rather, White allows these characters to make peace with themselves and support in each other. It's just so incredibly pure and sweet it makes my heart hurt! And lastly, the ending:I ugly cried through 70% of this book but that last 50% really broke me. With how much I love Lada, it was bloody devastating to see her lose pieces of herself along the way in the people she loved. She is such a flawed character. And yet she inspires so much loyalty from the people who love her. I did not want the ending to reduce her legend in anyway. I did not want to see her humiliated and stripped of all power that she sacrificed so much of herself to get. In that regard, the ending was both bittersweet, satisfying, and extremely sad. It was hard to think of a future where few would remember Lada’s name. She is so vivid in my mind that it hurts, it really hurts, to think she’s not a real person at all. So kudos to Ms. White for writing such a character and wrecking my heart in the process. In the end it doesn’t really matter if history doesn’t remember our Lady Dragon, The Prince of Wallachia. I doubt that I'll ever forget her. 5/5 Stars. P.S. This book makes me so damn bloodthirsty, like it makes me want to vanquish my enemies and bathe in their blood. Honestly, 10/10 would recommend to anyone to read this when they are in a bad mood. It will cure everything.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alana • thebookishchick

    I have one word for you all to sum up this book. OUCH. My heart is shattered into a million pieces. I finished this two days ago and I keep going back and rereading the epilogue to make sure I read it right. While I understand that there is no better way for this trilogy to end, it doesn't hurt any less. In fact, it probably hurts so much more. If you have not read this trilogy before it's basically a YA historical fiction story that follows the most badass, ruthless, brutal, and bloody MC's we've I have one word for you all to sum up this book. OUCH. My heart is shattered into a million pieces. I finished this two days ago and I keep going back and rereading the epilogue to make sure I read it right. While I understand that there is no better way for this trilogy to end, it doesn't hurt any less. In fact, it probably hurts so much more. If you have not read this trilogy before it's basically a YA historical fiction story that follows the most badass, ruthless, brutal, and bloody MC's we've ever seen, Lada Dracul. I cannot stress how much I love her. Even though I didn't agree with all the choices she made, she will go down as one of my favorite YA females ever because I love to love her and I love to hate her. In case you thought I was lying about the bloody part... "What sustains you?"  "The blood of my enemies." This is going to be short since it's the final book in the trilogy and basically everything is a spoiler, but there are a few things I want to talk about. -This book is slightly shorter than the other two and I think that made it so much better. Historical fiction can sometimes become a snooze fest for me but not in this book. I found with the other two books they were a bit slower than this one, but this one just hit the ground running and never stopped. I mean the middle of this book was INSANE and so brilliant. -Radu, is still infuriatingly blinded by his love for Mehmed and I was so shocked by some of the choices he made throughout this, and as much as I've always wanted to hate him... I just can't. -Mehmed is absent for the majority of this book and clearly I'm fine with it since he's the actual worst. Somethings just never change. -I STAN NAZIRA AND FATIMA FOREVER AND ALWAYS -There's a certain twist to the story for Lada, but I had a feeling for a long time it was going to happen. I'm just really not sure how I feel about because I have A LOT of emotions towards it, both good and bad. -THE EPILOGUE. Gosh, I want to talk about this so bad, but I won't because it will spoil everything. Ugh, it was just everything I could have hoped for and everything I was afraid of all in one. Favorite Quotes "He could not have conversations about his future as though his past were not looped around his neck like a noose, choking him with regret and sorrow. "Why were men always trying to claim different parts of her? Her body, her name, her soul. Why should they care where its allegiances lay?" "It was enough." ""Impossible is where my sister excels," Radu said. "That and never backing down."" All in all, despite how heavy my heart is, this was still amazing. I don't think I'll ever love a YA historical fiction story as much as I love Lada, Radu, and Mehmed's. These characters will always have a part of my heart despite how infuriating they all could be. If you enjoy politics, romance, blood & gore, and betrayals on top of betrayals on top of BETRAYALS, than look no further than this trilogy. It will hurt, but it's worth the pain. Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  15. 5 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    Claim the Throne. Demand the Crown. Rule the World. I fucking adore this series so much. Sometimes a series just comes along and blows you away, it forces you to fall in love with the characters, invest in their lives and eagerly await each new chapter with bated breath because you're so nervous and concerned for all the characters. Those series are literally the best and this series is one of those series. If you asked me why I love it so much I would tell you this: I love it for it's impeccab Claim the Throne. Demand the Crown. Rule the World. I fucking adore this series so much. Sometimes a series just comes along and blows you away, it forces you to fall in love with the characters, invest in their lives and eagerly await each new chapter with bated breath because you're so nervous and concerned for all the characters. Those series are literally the best and this series is one of those series. If you asked me why I love it so much I would tell you this: I love it for it's impeccable character development. I love it for pushing characters to their absolute limits and showing up people who are simultaneously loveable and loathsome. I love it for it's excellent exploration of character dynamics. I love it for it's exploration of history that felt historical enough to be informative but alternative enough to be fun. I love it for representing queer Muslim characters and exploring misogyny and the commodification of women, especially in times of war. I love, a lot of things about this series. And it sure has become one of my favourites of all time. But if I had to pinpoint just one thing I love the most it's the character workKiersten White is writing this epic historical retelling but shes concerned with people. Although she sets this series with the backdrop of the Ottoman Empires conquests of Europe and the fight for Wallachian Independence, most of it is about how these things effect people, and how people interact with losing their identities and their countries, losing their friends and their family, losing their agency and losing their childhood. Trust me, there's plenty of war, death, blood and bodies, but the core and the soul of this series is in it's characters. The individual characters, and their interactions with eachother, drive this book and for readers who love character driven stories like me that is ideal. Who was she? She was the dragon. Her country had teeth and claws and fire, and she would use every last bit of them. 🔪 LADA My relationship with Lada is complicated. I liked her a lot in the first book and disliked her a lot in the second. But in this third one I loved her, the most. Kiersten White stretches her character to it's absolute limits. She's always been an anti-heroine and in Bright We Burn she precariously leans on the edge of anti-heroine and straight up villain. That slight, slight inclination she has, where you know she could just go either way, kept this SO, so interesting. But the thing is, despite everything Lada did, I pitied her so much. This is a girl who's country has been systematically destroyed by an uncaring empire, who's own father betrayed her, who was stripped of her identity, grew up surrounded by enemies and who had to fight tooth and nail for every piece of recognition she got because no one was willing to give her anything. You have to admire her audacity, and the sheer determination that drove her actions throughout this book especially. Ultimately I felt enormous sympathy for her character despite knowing some things she did were Objectively Bad and I think that is a testament to Kiersten White's truly well constructed character construction. 🌻 RADU I adore Radu and I always have, and I always will. What I love most about him is that his character growth is so consistent but the change in his character is so stark. His character development goes along this trajectory where you can see how he's changing and it's so logical and well written, but when you take a step back and look at the big picture you're really so blown away by how he went from this naive, obsessed and kind of weak character to a strong diplomat and respected figure and turned all that pain and turmoil into kindness. I am the hugest sucker for nice characters and Radu is the Ultimate Nice Character. Radu's arc around understanding that he deserves to be treated well and that he is allowed to forgive himself for some things just really was a lot for me. I just loved it a lot. MEHMED/RADU/LADA This three way friendship/relationship triangle has been consistently fascinating to me throughout this whole series and the payoff here is insanely good. With these three there is a weird dependency but it's mixed in with so much resentment. Like, none of them can live without eachother, but all of them can't let eachother live. The building of the tension leading up to their inevitable showdown kept me hanging onto every single word. And I loved how White created that inevitability, like there was no way any of this could end except with the three of them dealing with all their shit. The ending (THAT EPILOGUE) was .. absolutely perfect. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. Honestly lets just stay on relationships for a minute because I got a few to talk about: ➢ RADU AND LADA: “Do you think it was him that came between us? Or were we destined to end up on opposite sides?” Lada felt an unfamiliar heaviness behind her eyes. “We had to survive. We just figured out different ways to do it.” I have always loved the relationship between these two. Lada being both protective and disdainful of Radu is interesting, and that tension that exists wherein Lada perceives Radu as abandoning his identity, and Radu perceives Lada as unable to accept change and recognise defeat is so interesting. Their sibling relationship kills me and the fact that the two of them are so intimately connected even though they hate it is FASCINATING. ➢ MEHMED AND LADA: These two are SO interesting and while there wasn't as much of them as And I Darken it was still enough to keep me happy. The epilogue, again, killed me. I love that Mehmed and Lada recognises eachother as equals whilst detesting the other is their equal. And the admiration for eachother behind opposite enemy lines created such an interesting dynamic. ➢ RADU AND CYPRIAN AND NAZIRA AND FATIMA ... Kiersten White really gave the gays everything they ever wanted with THIS pair up. First off, Nazira and Fatima are sapphic queens who deserve the world. The sheer wholesomeness of their relationship is enough to five star this book alone. Radu and Cyprian are similarly adorable and I'm not gonna lie, their scenes were so soft I wanted to sob. Radu and Nazira are iconic "we're platonically in love" soulmates and second in iconic-ness only to Aled and Frances from Radio Silence who are my children. I love Radu and Nazira's friendship so much and any scene of them teasing eachother and having eachothers back just made me .. so emo. I love them so much. There was something to be said for having his heart broken so many times. Broken things healed thicker and stronger than they were before. Assuming one survived long enough to heal. god I could genuinely just talk about this series forever and ever. I love it that much. I've never really fallen in love with historical fiction before, in fact only three times, with The Infernal Devices, The Diviners, and then this. And I Darken is much more of a straight historical fiction, while it reads like fantasy sometimes (another thing I love) it's not got any magic or anything and that isn't something I genuinely go for but I LOVE it so much. Kiersten White thought about everything, the character construction is just incredibly good, the characters are brutal and hard and unbelievably cruel to eachother at times, but there is also so much hope and goodness and happiness in these pages too. My expectations for this were INSANELY high, because I had it hyped up to me a lot but it actually still managed to exceed my expectations. I feel like, genuinely, every singe word was in the right place here. Kiersten White had her vision and she executed it flawlessly and because of that I will always hold this series in such high regard. Farewell for now to Lada and Radu and Mehmed and Nazira and Fatima and Cyprian! We went through a lot together folks but I'm sure I will be back for a reread soon. I cannot believe I am so whipped for this series but really, I would die for these murder stabby children without hesitation.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ☆ Mira ✷

    [on my wedding night] me: I love you the person I just married: but do you love me as much as you loved The Conqueror’s Saga 10 years ago? me: ...I’ll get back to you on that.

  17. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    I FINISHED! and it only took 3 attempts and 54 days :") i'd say its a success REALLY dont know how i feel about the ending but the writing and pacing lost my interest SO MANY times i cant even begin to tell you. i loved the first two books but man, this one was tiring to read i know everyones gonna hate me for this but \_(ツ)_/ 2.5 stars! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ it's practically attempt #3 at this point attempt #2 at reading this buddy read with mama leek & a cute I FINISHED! and it only took 3 attempts and 54 days :") i'd say its a success REALLY dont know how i feel about the ending but the writing and pacing lost my interest SO MANY times i cant even begin to tell you. i loved the first two books but man, this one was tiring to read i know everyones gonna hate me for this but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 2.5 stars! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ it's practically attempt #3 at this point attempt #2 at reading this buddy read with mama leek & a cute

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nina (Every Word A Doorway)

    Well, my soul is properly full and ruined at the same time. This was good but I'm not sure I liked it quite as much as the sequel. Will have to ponder. RTC. --- Actual footage of me wondering whether the final instalment will put historical accuracy before unicorns and rainbows, and then wondering which option I'd rather have because I have feelings

  19. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    4.5 stars “Who was she? She was the dragon. Her country had teeth and claws and fire, and she would use every last bit of them.” I spent the entire duration of reading Bright We Burn either doing this: Or this: The Conqueror's Saga smashed its way into my stone cold heart with And I Darken, trod on the pieces, then threw what was left in a washer and set it on heavy duty in Now I Rise. And now Bright We Burn has come to see the job done. “She had Wallachia, and she would do everything she could to 4.5 stars “Who was she? She was the dragon. Her country had teeth and claws and fire, and she would use every last bit of them.” I spent the entire duration of reading Bright We Burn either doing this: Or this: The Conqueror's Saga smashed its way into my stone cold heart with And I Darken, trod on the pieces, then threw what was left in a washer and set it on heavy duty in Now I Rise. And now Bright We Burn has come to see the job done. “She had Wallachia, and she would do everything she could to protect it, but she wanted to punish Mehmed. Kidnapping Radu—taking back the first, and the last, thing Mehmed had taken from her—might be enough to make him come to her when tens of thousands of bodies had not. Just three bodies mattered. The same three that had always mattered. Radu’s. Lada’s. And Mehmed’s.” Lada, my brutal, ferocious darling. I admit I had my issues with her at first, but she's really grown on me. What can I say? I love my ladies vicious and armed to the teeth. Unlike when she first arrived in the Ottoman courts, she is now older, wiser, and absolutely hell-bent on cementing power as prince of her beloved homeland Wallachia. If you didn't like her back in And I Darken, you certainly won't like her now. She is straight-up cruel in Bright We Burn and completely unapologetic. There are very clear, uncomfortable parallels between her and Mehmed. (Uncomfortable for me because I hate Mehmed and hope he grows some sort of foot fungus) Both are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal, including manipulating the people around them. I've always despised Mehmed for the way he treats Radu and it's heartbreaking to see Lada arguably use Bogdan the same way. (view spoiler)[Also, a moment of silence for Nicolae please. May my sweet optimistic soldier rest in peace. (hide spoiler)] But Lada is Lada. She's never been one to shy away from violence and cruelty and honestly I'm like one of those fanatically loyal peasants in Wallachia—I'm with her till the end. Radu, I loved from the start. I can't even talk about him without turning into a blubbering mess and having to resort to holding up a picture of a freshly baked cinnamon roll to demonstrate my adoration for him. He has gone through so much this series, grown so much. In many ways, he's the complete opposite of Lada: kind where she's merciless, cunning where she's brute strength. This whole series has been driving towards a reunion (or collision is a better word) of the two Dracul siblings and White handles the scene with as much skill as she does everything in the novel. It's surprising, tension-packed, and agonizing to my blood pressure. Some thoughts on the ending: (view spoiler)[Is it just me or is it a little too happy? I know, I know, I sound like a bitter harpy, but I really thought Lada would die and Radu would have to unwillingly step up as prince. (Cyprian, Nazira, and Fatima still by his side, of course, a patch of sunlight in the drafty throne room) Not that I don't like this ending, and really, the more time that passes, the more right it seems. No one gets what they want the way they expected. Everyone needs to make sacrifices. Lada has Wallachia at the cost of those closest to her, and she doesn't even get to keep it. 17 years later, an assassin buries a knife in her back. It seems poetic though, and I suspect Lada would appreciate it. Finally an assassin worthy of her status. As for Mehmed, he loses his two best friends. Radu gets the best deal, as he deserved. He will forever be haunted by the blood on his hands, but he has Cyprian by his side, and Nazira and Fatima, and a peaceful life away from politics. I do wonder who will prince of Wallachia now though. I hope it's Lada's daughter, though it doesn't seem likely. A lifetime of political chess is exactly what Lada didn't want for her child. How awesome would it be though? (hide spoiler)] I admit I don't know much about the historical Vlad the Impaler so I can't much on accuracy, but I can tell you this series is fantastic from start to finish. Intricately plotted, bloody, and feminist. As bereft a dragon. My review of And I Darken My review of Now I Rise

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nikolae Keaveney

    Update after reading August 2nd, 2018 Words cannot describe my love for this series, this tale, and these characters. In my heart, they are already more than characters, they are companions for life. I'm sure that I can pick this series back up at any time in my life and enjoy the story again. Lada, Mehmed, and Radu are already real. I just have not met them yet. This series should not be labeled as "Young Adult". It is too mature, too deep, and too meaningful to be so. This book should not have Update after reading August 2nd, 2018 Words cannot describe my love for this series, this tale, and these characters. In my heart, they are already more than characters, they are companions for life. I'm sure that I can pick this series back up at any time in my life and enjoy the story again. Lada, Mehmed, and Radu are already real. I just have not met them yet. This series should not be labeled as "Young Adult". It is too mature, too deep, and too meaningful to be so. This book should not have a rating. It is not without its flaws, but for the first time since I started using goodreads, I don't want to talk about its flaws and perfections. I only want to talk and to express my love for it. This series has been in my life for three years now. I grew up with it. It changed my life in ways more than I can describe. I remember times in my life, when I was so beaten by hardships and emotions and depression, when I didn't want to continue fighting anymore. Then I would reach for this story, devour it, and continue fighting. Lada became my model, my idol, and also the person I fear I would become. I hated her, and I also loved her. My feelings now are simply so muddled that I do not want to sort them out anymore. Just let them be, as things will always be grey, not black and white. The characters in this series have all hurt each other greatly, but they have also loved each other wholly and completely. They forgive, but they don't forget. They simply let their complex history exist. One of the ways that I feel this series is so different from many other young adult series I've read is that it is eerily similar to real life. Isn't the relationships in this book the relationships real humans experience? (minus the killing of course). We as people are bound to fight, hurt, forgive, and eventually continue our lives. If I were to be completely honest, the ending is a little disppointing. I was looking for a BANG, but instead, this series ended on a wimper. But sometimes life ends on a wimper, like a candle finally dying with nothing but a thin trail of smoke and a soft hiss. However, an ending is still an ending, and I still love it like how I would still love my friends no matter what happens. The point that the story left at still left many events untold. But I don't think that this is necessary. After three books, I knew what was going to happen to the characters. They would continue to hurt each other, and forgive each other, and love each other, as all humans are born to do. Emotions are too complex to figure out or understand. We don't have to sort everything out, we just have to live. Just living is more than enough. Update April 30th, 2o18 I woke up extra-emotional today, and I want to say something. This series has being such an immense part of my life for the last two years. All of the struggles I faced in school, in life, I survived. Because I have Lada's courage and Radu's faith. Every time I feel like I won't ever get up again, I think of all the impossible things that my precious babies have conquered, and I keep going. Now that AP exam seasons are coming, my life is just slowly deteriorating. The next three weeks are going to be full of tears and pain, but I will be fine. I have this amazing series with me. I believe that Lada and I are going to go through this together. I feel relieved. Title prediction: LAST I BURN OMFGOMFG I got one word right😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 I've been blessed by the book gods. If only I knew to switch "I" for "we". January 18th, 2017 THE COVER IS SO BEAUTIFUL MY LIFE IS COMPLETE ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Now I just need to get it in my hands. Please, Kiersten, take good care of my heart, it is fragile.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    "She had dug through the mountain to reach her heart's desire, and found the mountain had a heart after all: the beating pulse required of all those who would not stop, would not accept what the world offered, would not bow." ... This series is perfection. I am a complete and utter mess over Bright We Burn, because it is genuinely one of the greatest conclusions I've ever read. Kiersten White has done something incredible with The Conqueror's Saga. She's crafted a story that's sprawling, emotionally "She had dug through the mountain to reach her heart's desire, and found the mountain had a heart after all: the beating pulse required of all those who would not stop, would not accept what the world offered, would not bow." ... This series is perfection. I am a complete and utter mess over Bright We Burn, because it is genuinely one of the greatest conclusions I've ever read. Kiersten White has done something incredible with The Conqueror's Saga. She's crafted a story that's sprawling, emotionally profound, and completely epic. It's hard for me to put into words the amount of love I have for this book and this series, but I'm going to try. Bright We Burn takes place several months after the events of Now I Rise. Lada, Radu, and Mehmed are all players in a game that only one can win; Radu is haunted by the siege of Constantinople and the friends he was forced to betray, Mehmed is determined to expand his empire and bring home the woman he loves, and Lada will not rest until Wallachia is autonomous from Ottoman rule. Radu knows that his sister's indomitable will could result in all their worlds burning, and Lada is willing to destroy everything that came before to win her country's freedom. The fact that this series exists is a blessing. A gender-bent story of Vlad the Impaler? Fifteenth century history filled with betrayal, political intrigue, and war? Amazing queer representation?! Thank you, Kiersten White. Thank you for these beautiful books. I could sing long, earnest ballads about each of the characters and how much I adore them, but I'll just say this: I've never connected with Lada more than in this book. She commits unspeakable atrocities in the name of Wallachia, and I'm still in shock from a specific thing she did. Lada went there. She's not a hero or a good person; she does terrible things, and the fascinating thing about Lada's character is that I understood where she was coming from. The rampant misogyny present in this era of history forced her to lengths that she was convinced were right, and I understood. Lada is a woman, and because of this, she can never stop fighting for her right to rule. Not for one second, because the world will tear her down if she does. "For the first time in a long time, she felt like a girl. It terrified her. Because there was nothing in the world more vulnerable to be than a girl." I adore Lada. She's one of my favorite characters of all time, and I will never stop loving her. Radu is my adopted son, if you didn't know. The growth that he's experienced throughout this series is astounding, and the ways in which he came into his own in Bright We Burn made me so proud. Throughout this series, Radu has struggled with his purpose and identity. Is he Radu Bey, a powerful general in the Ottoman Empire? Radu the Handsome, best friend to the Sultan? Or Radu Dracul, brother of the Dragon and the lesser Dracul? His path towards self-acceptance and healing was beautiful in this book, and it filled my heart with so much warmth. I'm still so attached to Radu and Lada's sibling relationship. It's messy and complicated, and even though both love each other, their goals are entirely different. Their separation in book two pained me, so witnessing their dynamic once again was so satisfying, and incredibly emotional. I absolutely loved it. Every single side character brought something to this story: Nazira, Fatima, and Cyprian are my beautiful gay babies and I would do anything for them. I'm tearing up just thinking about how lovely they all are, and Radu and Cyprian? My God, I love their relationship. IT'S ADORABLE AND THEY'RE MY FAVORITE. I was worried going into Bright We Burn that the length of it was too short; this book is noticeably smaller than the rest of the series, but I should've never been worried. This conclusion was expertly plotted. There were so many shocking twists and turns in this book, so many emotionally charged moments between the characters that had me on edge. White knows how to perfectly write political intrigue and intense negotiations between characters. I could honestly say that I never saw any of the plot points of this book coming. People die, and the tension in this book was a palpable thing. I was completely sucked into Bright We Burn from the very beginning. This conclusion was so satisfying, with just the right amount of bittersweet moments. I can't convey how much I absolutely adored this book without sounding like a blubbering mess, so I'll just say this: The Conqueror's Saga is one of my favorite series of all time, and I can't recommend them enough. These books are masterpieces of historical fiction, with wonderfully complex characters, rich history, and epic scope. And they're hella queer. What more could you ever want?? I LOVE THIS SERIES. And I love this book. Amen. ... "And she would be there, in the center, curled around her own land. Wallachia would survive. It always survived. But with her there, and everything around them descended into deadly disorder, Wallachia would finally thrive. After all, fire and blood and death were nothing to a country led by a dragon."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tova

    Claim the Throne. Demand the Crown. Rule the World. Well ..... I have some feelings. I am essentially Kumal. This is the 42 book I've completed this year, and since 42 is the answer to the question of the universe, I know what the question is ....... WHO THE HECK AUTHORIZED YOU TO PLAY WITH MY HEART LIKE THAT KIERSTEN WHITE?? Kiersten, I do not have the words to tell you how much this series means to me, so I won't even try at this point in time. But Lada baby, Radu darling, and Mehmed sweetie, as Claim the Throne. Demand the Crown. Rule the World. Well ..... I have some feelings. I am essentially Kumal. This is the 42 book I've completed this year, and since 42 is the answer to the question of the universe, I know what the question is ....... WHO THE HECK AUTHORIZED YOU TO PLAY WITH MY HEART LIKE THAT KIERSTEN WHITE?? Kiersten, I do not have the words to tell you how much this series means to me, so I won't even try at this point in time. But Lada baby, Radu darling, and Mehmed sweetie, as your mother, I am so unbelievably proud of you. My heart will always love and adore you beyond anything else. I'm sorry, the old Tova can't come to the phone right now. Why? Because she's deceased from reading Bright We Burn (and senioritus) but you can finally read my full review here! *FLAILS IN TURKISH* MY COPY FINALLY CAME!!!!!!!!! Okay, it hasn't quite been 84 years. It's only been 386 days, but that feels like an eternity, several lifetimes and infinity wrapped into one tortuous package. Like I preordered it and took over a week for it to come because my lovely father didn't let me get two-day shipping. I majorly regret this because I have been dying the past 11 days. I never preorder things, and I honestly would have gotten it faster if I hadn't preordered. But my copy and signed and personalized by the lovely queen, Kiersten White herself, and I got a fanart bookmark, and I am SO HAPPY to be back with my babies. This was me when I went to the post office and I saw that I had a package waiting for me: And this is honestly what I wanted to do when I unwrapped it in all its glory. Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama Nants ingonyama bagithi baba Sithi uhhmm ingonyama Ingonyama Siyo Nqoba Ingonyama Ingonyama nengw' enamabala BR with my soul sister from another mother & fellow AID #1 Stan, Yursa!< This book comes out in two weeks, and everything is real surreal. 1) I preorder the book, so it will be sighned and personalize by the queen Kiersten. 2) I will actually be a writers camp the day this is out, so I won't get my copy until at least the 14th. I pray my preorder comes by then, even though my dad made me get the 2 week shipping option. 3) I am BR this with Yusra when it comes out. And we are officially the AID biggest stans. 4) This is the last book in this series which means I have to say goodbye to my babies and I am not ready. --- WE HAVE A COVER! I REPEAT WE HAVE A COVER AND HOLY FUCK ITS BEAUTIFUL! I want for Christmas (besides Hamilton tickets,) so Kiersten I beg of you to come through with at least this) is a cover reveal and a June release date. PLEASE. ((UPDATE: I actually got Hamilton tickets, wonders never cease.)) JULY 10th? JULY 10TH? WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME KIERSTEN WHITE? Okay, so the last sentence of this book is just 3 words. And whenever Kiersten thinks about those three words, she cries. I am fucking terrified. I'm crossing my fingers the words are "And they lived." {November 4th, 2017} We have a title and a synopsis! Title: Bright We Burn. Hmm, I like it. But I also kind wish it had been Here I Stand, or Last I Burn. But Bright We Burn is still epic AF. And I'm here for epicness. Synopsis: Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it? Lada's rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won't rest until everyone knows that her country's borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed's peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince. But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before--including her relationships--can Lada truly build the country she wants. Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world. Curious, I am glad that there are no typos involved this time around. But what do you mean by Mehmed understand Lada? HE DOESN'T! HE'S A {CLUELESS} GUY! Also, a historical few reminders for Y'all. - Mehmed died in 1481, of illness -Radu was the first male concubine of Murad II & Mehmed II - Vlad's rule was very short -Radu got married & had a daughter - RADU & MEHMED WERE AN ACTUAL THING I will stand by my precious Mehmed, and you can hate him all you want and it won't change anything for me. If Kiersten White kills him, part of me will die with him probably. If he does die you call all scream this: "La Grande Aquila è morta!" (The Great Eagle is dead!') and while you do that, I'll be sobbing in a corner. To say, I am ready for this book to slay my very soul. Lada, baby, Mehmed, darling and Radu, precious, just know that I love you very much, and I just want you to be happy. --- *desperately needs* I lowkey want the title to be AND I KILL Full pre-review to come because I NEED DIS BOOK ___ Pre-review 101: Title Prediction: Here I Stand. My reasoning: And I Darken. Now I Rise. Here I Stand. That would just be epic AF I haven't read Now I Rise yet, and I already instantly know that I need this book in my life on June 28th, if not sooner. And the lack of information has me like: Yet, June 27th, 2017 is still 109 days away which in my humble opinion is too far away! What I would not give to get an arc of this book. Kiersten White is Queen and I need to know what happens to my babies. It is also quite infuriating that the last book is over about 477 days until Book 3s estimated release. [image error] That is 477 days of pain and suffering and I DO NOT look forward to or appreciate! And I carry no shame, for my love for this series. This series is basically my dream. It combines a bunch of things. So, if we do the math I have about 163+ episodes of MC & MCK left which means I could probably watch an episode every day and finish all the to come episodes in the next couple of seasons of MCK and I'd still have extra time to wait. You know how happy that makes me? - about as happy as Selim is to be seen tied up. Okay, Part 2 & 3 to come!

  23. 4 out of 5

    ❄️Nani❄️

    3.5 ⭐ Up until the last 30 pages this would’ve been 2 stars. 3.5 ⭐️ Up until the last 30 pages this would’ve been 2 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    hannah ✧/ᐠ-ꞈ-ᐟ\ (on hiatus)

    And I Darken: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Now I Rise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Bright We Burn🌟🌟🌟🌟 A bittersweet ending to a gorgeously written series. Also, Lada will always be my prince. Review to come! blog 💞instagram 💞twitter 💞email yours truly ______ my friends literally just hid this book from me because they knew i would get distracted from finals are they the best... or the worst, idk :'') ______ i just got an arc of this book I HAVE BEEN BLESSED

  25. 4 out of 5

    clara

    I originally gave this 4 1/2 stars, but over the course of writing this review, I realised that this deserved nothing less than 5 stars. Not only was this a wild ride and an epic conclusion to what has quickly become one of my favourite series of all time, this story and these characters have, in a short span of time, come to mean the world to me. l a d a : I have to applaud Kiersten White for creating a character so unlikeable, on paper, yet so sympathetic. Lada has always been an antiheroin I originally gave this 4 1/2 stars, but over the course of writing this review, I realised that this deserved nothing less than 5 stars. Not only was this a wild ride and an epic conclusion to what has quickly become one of my favourite series of all time, this story and these characters have, in a short span of time, come to mean the world to me. l a d a : I have to applaud Kiersten White for creating a character so unlikeable, on paper, yet so sympathetic. Lada has always been an antiheroine, but this book pushes this to the limits. Her moral ambiguity and her ability to do whatever it took to achieve her goal was such a fresh breath of air to what I usually find from supposed ‘antiheroines’ in YA, who are, let’s be real, never morally ambiguous enough. And despite everything she did, despite all of the atrocities and horrors she committed, I understood why she did it. She fights tooth and nail for her country, for respect and acknowledgement, because she knows that if she ever stops fighting, men will always take away what is hers. By reimagining Vlad the Impaler as a woman, The Conqueror’s Saga allows for a careful dissection of misogyny and the obstacles faced by women in a world dominated by men. She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was a woman. It was the last that scared them most of all. r a d u: Radu’s character arc was so brilliantly written. Lada has always been my favourite character, but his journey from self-internalised homophobia to acceptance and self-love resounded so deeply within me. Radu had been wrong all this time. He had felt guilty for the way his heart yearned for other men. But it was not his own love that was poisonous and destructive. His love destroyed nothing, hurt no one. Lada loved Wallachia above all else, and this was the result. What Mehmed and Lada did—because of what they sent their hearts on with both people and land—was far worse than anything Radu’s love could ever lead him to do… His love had no evil in it. Lada’s strength came from her unwavering ruthlessness, never showing vulnerability and her singleminded pursuit of her goals. But Radu’s strength came from the gentleness of his heart, his unwillingness to let the world shape into something cruel and cold, his ability to stay kind and retain the capacity to love in the face of everything. Do not aim for greatness. Aim for goodness. And however you get there will be the right path for you, my sweet Radu. The relationships and dynamics between all of the characters, whether familial, romantic or platonic—Lada and Nicolae (!!!) (view spoiler)[I’m still not over his death and I don’t think I ever will be (hide spoiler)] ; Radu and Nazira (!)—were so well-written, but I have to give a special mention to Radu, Nazira, Fatima and Cyprian’s found family. I just… love them so much. Bright We Burn was everything I wanted and more*, and it now has a permanent place in my heart. I’m genuinely sad that this series is over but I’m excited to see what else Kiersten White comes up with. *(view spoiler)[excluding bogdan and nicolae’s deaths. i never wanted That (hide spoiler)] // buddy read with jia and may ❣️

  26. 4 out of 5

    Valentine

    So here we are, finally at the end of this series. I finished it a whole night ago, and still I can't totally wrap my head around it. When I read the last few lines, I just sat there in my bed at 1 A.M., mouth open like a fool for at least five minutes. It just felt like a punch to the guts, like something I've rarely experienced in the past. I keep trying to tell myself it's over, but I just can't - I think it's going to be one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time, if not So here we are, finally at the end of this series. I finished it a whole night ago, and still I can't totally wrap my head around it. When I read the last few lines, I just sat there in my bed at 1 A.M., mouth open like a fool for at least five minutes. It just felt like a punch to the guts, like something I've rarely experienced in the past. I keep trying to tell myself it's over, but I just can't - I think it's going to be one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time, if not forever. See, before I even began this series, I was doubtful. Even when I finally bought And I Darken, I let it sit for a while on my shelf, not very eager to read it. The story sounded somehow interesting but the thought that this was historical fiction with not a bit of fantasy and apparently a big dash of romance just made me delay my reading. But now looking back on it, I'm just stunend by how much my feelings changed about this book. It usually takes a lot for me to continue a series, it has to be really worth it. With this one, I didn't even think twice, I ordered the second book and then the third without a single doubt holding me back. But now, let's focus on this book in particular because it's the closing of the series, the big finale that left me emotionally drained. First thing I'd like to discuss is the writing. If you read my reviews on the other books of the series, you know I'm simply in love with it. The author just weaved the story with such beauty, throwing little moments of pure poetry here and there that just makes you go "wow", for a lack of better words. My usual complaint with realist book, and especially historical ones, is that they're often so painfully dull and simplistic - I understand things should never be sugarcoated and that the truth has to be told, but there's always a way to tell it. You can write a realist story while making it pleasing to read, while making the reader interesting at everything you say. Otherwise how can you expect someone to enjoy something he knows nothing about, and has no link to? That's exactly what I told myself when I bought this book, being a French teen in the 21st century, I had no idea how I was going to relate and dive deep into a story set in the Ottoman empire in the 15th century! I usually come near to despise everything court-related, with all the political and military discussions, it just bores me. But the author has such a fantastic talent to make every single detail so fascinating that I just couldn't help myself but feeling like I was right here, in the middle of the story. She's not just telling the story of three people and the ones around them, she creates an entire world full of colors and noises, something so vivid and bright you don't have to imagine it - you see it. I especially loved all the mentions of the different countries and languages, the different people, their religions, their way of living... This is the kind of book that makes you travel in an instant. Then, I want to say that the writing isn't just pretty. To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen such well-constructed books. I've read lots and lots of series and often, the plot just stretches lazily over the several sequels, while each book in this one has its own story, its own atmosphere, while all being gracefully linked together. I just can't even imagine the amount of work it required to make the story last over three quite big books, while making it so different and fascinating with each one of them. And I Darken was the beginning, the installation of the story. It was quite soft and charming in a way, settling the characters and their desires and fears. Now I Rise (which I admit is my favorite of the three, it just shook me to the core) is the beginning of the darkness, it's brutal and heartbreaking and hopeless. Finally, Bright We Burn is the climax of that darkness, and reading this book is just a stressful experience from beginning to end. You can literally feel pain and death looming over the characters - I was literally sweating nervously everytime I turned the page. Kiersten White just has this incredible way of writing where the construction of her books only strengthens the amosphere. It's not only told that Lada is desperate or that Radu misses Cyprian - the story is written in a way that you literally wait and long and hurt with them. As if you were the characters themselves! To write a tiny bit about Lada, she's a tough character to love - she makes cruel and bloody decisions, some that are truly horrifying. But she's so well-written, unapologetic and incredibly strong. What she is as a whole is incredibly inspirational, and her story was just beyond fascinating. She goes through hundreds of emotions and turns of events, and you can't help but care about her, so deeply it hurts. "The tapestry of power that she had spent so many years collecting threads for had once again been pulled apart by a man. A stupid man. He would pay." Then comes the part of the romance. I'm just laughing so hard that it's shelved as romance, because this series is not about love itself. On the contrary, it's about letting go of old loves, realizing they are toxic and destructive. The characters go through such amount of pain and doubt, they grow immensely throughout the series - and again it's brillantly written. This is a story of loss and battle, of choosing your own family, make mistakes and try to find your own path. But it's not a love story at all! Without spoiling anything, the ending was just incredibly satisfying, it felt so right. I was afraid it would all come down to "all is forgiven and we'll just live happily ever after" but no, it's realist and beautifully heartbreaking. The relationships in this book are just so intense and breathtaking. That they are tainted by love or hatred, they all get you on the edge of your seat. I literally felt myself holding my breath during the whole book, which I read in more or less one seating (that's proof of how captivating it was!). My biggest fear I think, was that Radu or Cyprian or Fatima or Nazira would die. I was so tense during the entire book, I was just so immensely scared for them. It's so rare to find YA books with LGBTQ+ characters, and let's not even talk about historical ones! But FOUR of them? I was already crying in fear anything would happen to them! Cyprian and Radu's relationship was just the highlight of the story, I was literally tearing up and smiling at the same time reading their scenes together - and same goes for Fatima and Nazira. I'm just so grateful the author wrote four queer characters with such different personalities and dreams and fears, and she treated them all so respectfully. If the book had already won my heart before, the fact they get to live the rest of their days in peace and love just makes me want to cry everytime I think about it. Radu and Nazira's relationship was one of my favorites of the entire series, I was once again tearing up at their sweetness and devotion. "She is my light that never goes out. And you are the glass that protects our flame. The ending was just so simple, yet so incredible. It felt so pure, near holy. Like you were purged at the end of the book, in a way. To me, each character got the ending they deserved, the one that was right. Don't get me wrong, I was still heartbroken and gaping like a fish, but it all felt so, so right. In the span of a few pages, the author manages to crush your heart entirely, yet you don't feel like it had just been for the sake of being dramatic and heartbreaking. It's only who spreads death gets death, who uses people ends up lonely and who shares love gets love. Reading this series was just such intense and incredible experience. The way I talk about it, you'd think it was near religious, and maybe it is. I read amazing series in my life, but I don't think I've ever read one that was so well-thought and realized. It made me travel and laugh and cry, it literally thew stars into my eyes. I don't think I will forget it anytime soon, it just marked me and literally changed me as a person. The story of Lada and Radu and Mehmed, and anyone in between will just stay with me for a long time, and I'm even scared I won't ever find something so flawless. Can you tell now that I'm completely and utterly in love with this series? "PRINCE SISTER DRAGON"

  27. 4 out of 5

    el

    ugh, I have something in my eye. pssshhh yeh I’m fine I just have a thing.. in my eye. I swear. not very emotional. I just poked myself with the corner of the book. definitely. that’s what’s happening. silly me. bsjdhdkshdjwneieiebfbdiwnejfoeneowbforneoen ........so.. good...bye rtc when I’m in a stable state

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennymort ♔ The Dark Lordette ♔ House of Slytheread

    WHY. IS. MY. BOOK. STILL. BEING SHIPPED. I ORDERED THIS FUCKER TWO WEEKS AGO. at least i get it tomorrow? LOOK. AT. THIS. COVER. I need to get my ass in gear tbh ... I still haven't read NIR.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This book was awesome! I loved this finale with all the characters that I adored. This thing about this series is that it was a bit impossible for me to pick a side because I enjoyed the characters so much. I liked the author’s previous series, Paranormalcy, but not as much as I did this series. This series was just so fun to read and I actually added the audiobook for this series to my personal library on my phone to listen to in the future during my walks (sometimes you just want a story when This book was awesome! I loved this finale with all the characters that I adored. This thing about this series is that it was a bit impossible for me to pick a side because I enjoyed the characters so much. I liked the author’s previous series, Paranormalcy, but not as much as I did this series. This series was just so fun to read and I actually added the audiobook for this series to my personal library on my phone to listen to in the future during my walks (sometimes you just want a story when walking instead of music). Overall, this was a really satisfying finale and I look forward to the author’s next work. My quick and simple overall: great conclusion with some great characters.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    This is a buddy read with the awesome Natalie Monroe! This is as close to a perfect series finale as one could ever want or expect. Ever since Now I Rise, I've always felt this need to get my hands on Bright We Burn. The last book left us with a lot of unresolved subplots that demand immediate answers. White has structured Now I Rise in such a way that you are left with an intense desire to know more and all you can do is hope that your favorite characters find love, forgiveness and peace after a This is a buddy read with the awesome Natalie Monroe! This is as close to a perfect series finale as one could ever want or expect. Ever since Now I Rise, I've always felt this need to get my hands on Bright We Burn. The last book left us with a lot of unresolved subplots that demand immediate answers. White has structured Now I Rise in such a way that you are left with an intense desire to know more and all you can do is hope that your favorite characters find love, forgiveness and peace after all the horrifying events that took place (She did so well in fictionalizing the fall of Constantinople. It was a bloody, emotional ride and it felt like my heart was grabbed and dragged to an uncertain place). The thing is, I never expected White to fail with Bright We Burn. And I Darken was a great set-up to future events and Now I Rise took the series to glorious heights. I know it can only get better from there. And I was right. But I never expected to be hit with so many emotions. I thought I was ready to part ways with the characters. But till now I am still haunted by this book . . . . But first thing's first. Let's talk about the book objectively for now (before I descend with my feels). The story in Bright We Burn is basically a complex exploration of the aftermath of Constantinople's fall and Lada's ascent to the throne. Lada in Bright We Burn took on the role of a pseudo-Marxist warlord who wrecks havoc on her country's enemies while ensuring the common people are getting the proper treatment they deserve. Radu on the other hand has to deal with blood on his hands and the betrayal he did to people dear to him (specifically Cyprian, who happens to be the ultimate bro he found in NIR). Because of Radu's allegiance to Mehmed and Lada's vicious goal of ridding Wallachia of Ottoman influence, Bright We Burn is primarily a book exploring what happens before and after their inevitable collision course. If AID is primarily Lada's story while NIR is Radu's, Bright We Burn is a narrative that equally shows both of their viewpoints. It's about the impending war that would pit the siblings against each other and more importantly what comes after. There are so many things to praise in this book really. The most noticeable of all is the level of tension and excitement coursing through White's narration. Every chapter had an incredible sense of urgency and excitement - I was gripped from page one till the end. White depicts Lada's war with Mehmed in such a stunning, pulse-pounding way that would make you feel anxious about every important character involved. I am so amazed by the sheer genius of White's characterization as well. As bodies pile-up and Lada becomes more and more vicious by courting death and spreading it on the ranks of the Ottoman empire, it becomes apparent that Lada is starting to shed off the anti-hero role and becoming a straight-up villain instead. White questions how far we can root for a murderer, psychopathic character who would commit petty, mass murders targeted at civilians and Ottoman soldiers just because her pride was hurt by Mehmed's betrayal. And that's the thing. I still cared for her anyway. Because as Lada descends to villainy, she reveals small pieces of humanity and vulnerability, most especially longing. Longing for his brother including love and affection from people who are dear to her. If we Juxtapose Lada's tough demeanor compared to what she really feels inside, you see a complex portrait of a young woman struggling with many things. And in the end, I sympathized with her anyway even if I was morally bothered by her actions. As much as I love Lada though, I must admit that it was Radu who truly got me from beginning to end. I love everything about his chapters really. White carefully depicts all the struggles he feels and idk man, they just tugged at my heartstrings. From the guilt he feels for killing people in Constantinople to the constant longing for his real family in Cyprian and Nazira, everything about his character arc was sensitively portrayed and I have no words. White managed to transcend narrative limits and Radu made me not only understand what he felt, but also feel everything myself: "He had been wrong. Time had taken even this from him , because with Mehmed's fingers tangled in his own, he remembered another finger tracing wounds on his hands. Gray eyes in place of dark ones. The love he had found when his first love had been lost." But the mold he found himself longing for, the shape that felt truest, could not be formed. Because the people he wanted to form it around were lost to him. Maybe forever . . . He would stay in the city because Mehmed still shaped some part of him. But he could not become what Mehmed wanted or even needed him to. And he feared that a refining fire would reveal he had never been silver to begin with; he was simply dirt and impurities, burned away to ash while desperate to become something worth valuing" Even minor character is also utilized well. All of them are lovingly characterized that you're just bound to care for most of them. Of course, Cyprian and Nazira take first place here obviously. They are the ray of light in an otherwise dark novel. Nicolae, the witty and caring soldier, also balances Lada's dark perspective and never fails to make the reader smile in every banter he engages in. Even Mehmed, a character we’re supposed to hate is portrayed in a different and arguably sympathetic light here. Basically, White doesn't write one dimensional characters and they are all humans in their own right who respond to conflicts in a nuanced manner. Even disregarding the sheer genius of characterization, everything is still of a high level from the gory yet rich world of Medieval Romania and the Ottomans to the writing which is simple, smooth flowing and filled with raw and powerful emotions. From a technical viewpoint, everything is pure genius here and way too good for anything less than 5 stars. Now for my subjective and personal thoughts on some spoilery parts: (view spoiler)[- Cyprian and Radu's first encounter in this book could've been the climax of this novel really. Everything about it moved me because it felt to me like Radu found a missing part of him that he had been looking for in a long time. I just feel happy because this boy who has been through a lot found peace and happiness in the end. First with Nazira and then with Cyprian. He got the family he had always longed for and it was ultimately satisfying seeing the culmination of his story arc end on a positive note after all the hardships he's been through. At first I was slightly irked that he was getting forgiveness way too easily. I expected a more complex take on their romance especially considering all the baggage that Cyprian is supposed to feel for Radu's betrayal in Now I Rise. I wanted him to angst for a chapter first or punch Radu even before hugging him because they're still the ultimate bros. But then White showed me that their encounter doesn't have to be complicated or messy - in fact, it's moving how she shows the power of unconditional love and forgiveness and its ability to heal what's seemingly broken. "I told you," Cyprian said, with a tentative smile so full of hope it was physically painful to see, "that I would forgive you. I meant it. Radu let out a breath like a sob. This could not be real. It was too big, too great a gift, too powerful a mercy. He never had anything like this in his cruel and punishing life. He did not know it was possible." - And chapter 36 where Cyprian and Radu just lie down, hug each other while talking and resting is just refreshing, funny and touching to read really. Definitely one of the highlights too besides the confrontation between Lada and Radu in the end. I liked how emotions and quiet intimacy are front and center instead of hard making-out and stuff like that. It highlights the kind of innocent love they both have for each other which I assume is White's vision for Cyprian and Radu. What I always loved about them is how they're pretty much the ultimate bros - for the entirety of Now I Rise these two had each other's backs no matter what happens and would ultimately sacrifice their lives for each other if necessary. The pureness of the love and concern they feel for each other is only solidified by this chapter and when Radu said that the quiet moments they shared had never ceased to feel like a miracle, I was extremely moved. Seriously, I am just glad that Radu found a family in Cyprian and Nazira and he managed to resolve his feelings for Mehmed once and for all. -The ending. It was a bit too happy, but in hindsight, I don't really mind it that much. Radu choosing to help Lada after neglecting her in NIR is the final step to start the healing process for all the guilt he holds. I expected a bloodier and less happy ending because Lada said she prefers to go to her death with explosions and blood everywhere, but the three main characters all had to make hard sacrifices anyway. Lada with losing everyone dear to him just to stay on the throne, Mehmed losing his best-friends forever and Radu forever carrying the weight of his deeds in Constantinople. It's a bittersweet ending really, especially Lada’s death. I also feel sad for Mehmed because he's not truly bad. He is an impressive morally grey character in his own right - both a naive sultan who can't figure people out, yet also an ambitious and manipulative too. The epilogue confirmed the fact that he missed Lada and Radu so much and he "wished they remained together till the end". And things could’ve been so different . . . Only if they followed Radu’s path of choosing family over power. Mehmed didn't want Lada to die even after everything she's done so I can tell that he somehow feels some sort of regret for not treating her right. He gained everything he wanted, but lost everyone he loves in the process and that's the saddest thing in his story arc (hide spoiler)] If you've read what's on the spoiler tag, you pretty much know that I'm drowning in feels at the moment. All I know is that I've never felt an array of emotions for a book like this in a long time. I felt everything from relief, sadness, joy and wanting to hear more of these characters' lives . . . Slightly spoilery thoughts on the way the conclusion is handled: (view spoiler)[I am also sad that the ending was very conclusive. By the novel's closing, you pretty much know that you'd never read something new about Radu, Lada, Mehmed, Cyprian or Nazira. You can't even make fan fiction about them in your heads because the epilogue left Radu and his family at a peaceful place where they will pretty much rest forever. It's a complete conclusion that doesn't leave much to the reader's imagination sooooo I am happy that the characters were left at the right place yet I also feel bad because I will miss them and I know by now that this is the last we'll see of these characters. (hide spoiler)] So yeah, this review is pretty much a mishmash of all my thoughts and feelings on the book. At its current state, it's a little messy (but feels are always messy anyway lol) so it's a review under construction for months or even years to come as I read the series again and again. You are all free to talk to me regarding this series. Honestly, just please read these books. They might change your life too or your perspective of YA fantasy and historical fiction at the very least.

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