Bright We Burn

Bright We Burn

Book - 2018
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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 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. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before can Lada truly build the country she wants.
Publisher: London :, Corgi Books,, 2018.
Copyright Date: ©2018.
ISBN: 9780552573764
Characteristics: 389 pages : map ; 20 cm.

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PimaLib_ChristineR May 28, 2019

May contain spoilers for And I Darken and Now I Rise.

The conclusion to White's amazing feminization of Vlad Dracul. Now I Rise ended with Lada taking the throne in Wallachia while Radu had to live with his role in the fall of Constantinople.

We begin Bright We Burn with Lada fighting for independence from the Ottoman Empire. Her actions force Mehmed and Radu to take action, for a freed vassal state could throw the kingdoms of the empire into turmoil.

First, if you enjoyed the historical component of this series, you will not be disappointed. The growth of the Ottoman Empire, an empire larger than the Roman, is something that many Westerners, including me, know little about. It is absolutely rich with stories that are probably new to many of White's readers. We may know something about Vlad Dracul, but in relation to the larger story, it's all a bit fuzzy. White does the history, and the stories within it, proud. Which is to say, you probably don't want to be eating anything while you read parts of this book. White's language evokes the horror, pain and bloodshed in curdling detail.

As far as the characters go, Mehmed takes something of a backseat here as Lada and Radu come to a face-off for Wallachia, each believing they are doing what is best for the people. Their characters become even more defined, Lada feeling more and more isolated, as Radu feels progressively more comfortable in the goals he feels will make his life a happy one.

White considers some of the big questions: how do we reconcile homosexuality if our religion does not approve? Is chaos the price we pay for change? Is the family we are born into trumped by the family we create? But she also has moments of levity. At one point Radu is in a meeting with Mehmed's advisers. White quips "the more Radu knew the women around him, the more he wondered if *any* of them were not secretly terrifying." And near the end, when we are on the edge of our seats, she writes "[Lada] had always thought that getting married would be the death of her. She had not expected that fear to be realized quite so literally."

A star off for occasional drags in pacing and navel gazing, but altogether a wonderful ride that I recommend without reservation to readers of all ages.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jul 24, 2018

If you’ve read my reviews for “And I Darken” and “Now I Rise”, you’ll know that this series is one of my favourites. I have so much love for it, and everyone who knows me can testify that this book is the one I always recommend, always rave about, and always cry over. Receiving an advanced reader's copy “Bright We Burn” was one of the most validating things to ever happen to me, and to be holding it in my hands… I’ve never felt so honoured. Kiersten White does not hold back in this one. She never has previously, which is why I love her, but this book honestly broke all the barriers. It was bloody, brutal, incredibly historical and political, and I didn’t want it to end. Lada, one of the fiercest anti heroines I have ever read of, ignited a rare type of hatred in me. Since she knows no bounds, she does whatever she wishes with only one goal in mind: Wallachia. Her country is a faith to her, one she has dedicated her entire life to and is willing to sacrifice every blade of grass for. I hated her, and I loved her. On the other hand, we have Radu, who has found a new family in Nazira, Fatima and Cyprian. His character growth is one of the best ones I have ever experienced, and is it safe to say he is 100% more smarter than Lada? His clever political scheming and Lada’s ruthlessness are a force to be reckoned with… if they ever choose to work together. Radu is such a precious Muslim character, and Nazira was one of the highlights of this novel. All in all, you won’t be disappointed by this increasingly climatic final installment, and the end is extremely satisfying. Rating 5/5 @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

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