Bright We Burn was brutal and bloody and so perfectly and epically satisfying.
Which are words I’M CRYING AS I TYPE because finales scare me so badly. What if they let me down?!?!? But the finale to the And I Darken trilogy managed to stab me in the heart (like five times) and still give me everything I hoped it would. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
Everything is perfect, but you better believe I am screaming into the void for the next 2-3 months because I’m slightly traumatised. Definitely labelling this a Favourite Trilogy.
Also this review has NO SPOILERS!
☆ The pacing and plot were absolute perfection.
It’s a little smaller than the other books, but I quite liked how it all panned out. The middle is SO INTENSE…I absolutely faceplanted myself into the pages and the world was dead to me until I’d finished. There are wars and betrayals, kidnapping plots and horror, and there are the softest quietest moments that just make my heart so so full. Some of my favourite chapters were simply two precious characters getting to hold hands. My entire self was just: !!!!!! You know an author has tortured your soul half to death when you start crying because AWW LOOK THEY GET TO HOLD HANDS AND NO ONE’S DEAD YET.
I’m fine I’m fine. [sobbing]
☆ Like all the books, the storyline is spectacularly 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 WITH HER THREATS. The battles are grim, the aftermaths are horrifying. It’s just so well written and portrayed and I appreciate books that are realistic and don’t sugarcoat war. Like Lada is technically “unlikeable”, yet I love her. Radu makes some awful betrayals, but I love him.
☆ So obviously: perfect characters ARE PERFECT.
Radu and Lada are my favourite messy, broken, and ruthless Book Siblings. They are softness and muRDER. I love them ok just so so much. Also their character arcs are incredible and it’s amazing how much Radu grew in this one! He’s always been the soft squish, and he doesn’t lose that — but he stops doubting and hating himself. And Lada is vulnerable between ripping out people’s throats (YES WITH HER TEETH, I CAN’T EVEN LADA, YOU HAVE NO CHILL). When Radu realises kindness is sometimes the bravest choice of all??? I cry.
Radu is soft and he is allowed to be soft.
Lada is harsh and she is allowed to be harsh.
I am so so happy with this.
Also shout out to:
- Nazira: sweetest and loving schemer who will rearrange THE WORLD so you can be happy. And she loves Radu so deeply and platonically, while being incredibly in love with her wife, Fatima. 10/10 would die for them all.
- Nikolai: who put up with Lada and kept joking even when everyone was aBOUT TO DIE.
- Lada’s nurse: for every time she had to do Lada’s hair, she deserves and actual medal of war
☆ It made me laugh and wail.
Which is talent. I love the writing style, even though it’s not the typical YA way I’m used to. It’s different and refreshing. It covers a long period of time, but the voice is so spot on. 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.
☆ The ending was satisfying!! Which is JUST want I ask for.
It’s not this perfect cheery ending hahaa (HELLO OF COURSE NOT) and it will rip out your heart and eat it. But it was right. I’m so pleased…also bleeding on the floor but whatever. Even the love triangle ended perfectly ahhh.
Bloody, brutal, and unforgiving — this series is totally unique and incredible and full of soul. It weaves heartfelt messages in amongst wars and bloodlust, loss and betrayals. It has an 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.
THANK YOU TO PENGUIN AUSTRALIA FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. Bright We Burn (And I Darken #3) by Keirsten White was published July 2018!
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.