Bright We Burn
by White, Kiersten

A tumultuous conclusion to the best-selling series finds Radu returning to Mehmed's side to help him become the sultan their people need, while Lada's obsession with rendering Wallachia invincible escalates into war.

KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of the And I Darken and Paranormalcy series, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Slayer, and many more novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further-away times.
Follow Kiersten at @kierstenwhite on Twitter and @authorkierstenwhite on Instagram.

This rich historical novel concludes the trilogy that started with And I Darken (2016) and Now I Rise (2017), focusing on bloodthirsty Lada Dracul the Impaler, her obsession with ending Mehmed's control over her, and her thorough vengeance against any foe, perceived or real. Lada and Mehmed continue their strange dance of love and aggression, enacted through their political rather than personal lives. As the narrative unfolds, Lada's small, fierce country of Wallachia rages against the powerful Ottoman Empire, and her thoughtful brother, Radu, is caught again between the two people he loves most-eliciting the questions, when is it important to fight or to compromise, and how much personal sacrifice is enough? White balances tender moments with vicious acts of war, and Radu's sensitivity is a worthy foil for the violent excesses that are Lada's defining character trait. Although the powerful heterosexual couple (Lada and Mehmed) can't seem to figure it out, there are not one but two same-sex couples that provide lovely, welcome examples of devotion and family. A worthy end to a powerful saga. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The first two novels in this trilogy have been best-sellers. Expect nothing less from its much-anticipated concluding volume. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

In 1454, conflict between the once-inseparable Lada, Radu, and Mehmed comes to its inevitable bloody fruition. Prince Lada Dracul consolidates her power to stand against the Ottoman Empire's demand that Wallachia return to being a vassal state. She does this both by stirring up trouble in other states and by her usual brutal violence—so brutal that Sultan Mehmed, busy rebuilding newly-conquered Constantinople, must respond. Meanwhile, Radu struggles with his part in Constantinople's fall and his guilt over Nazira and Cyprian, who vanished after sailing away. To bring Lada to heel, Mehmed sends Radu to capture her so they can negotiate; Lada also plans to kidnap Radu, viewing him as fundamentally hers. Neither gets what they want. The subsequent invasion features force that is massive on Mehmed's part and depraved on Lada's. Mehmed may have the money and numbers (compared to Lada's shaky alliances), but Lada is clever, terrifying, and has cultivated a near-worship among the peasants whose lots she's improved—even as she turns her country into a giant deathtrap. Politics, battle strategy, and betrayals thrill, while the toxic dynamic keeps the focus on the intrinsically linked trio. Most characters are Central or Eastern European or Turkish; Islam has a positive portrayal, as do same-sex relationships. An intense, engrossing read that never loses sight of its passionate characters' humanity, especially when they're at their worst. (map, dramatis personae, glossary, author's note) (Historical fiction. 15-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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