My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published: July 10th, 2018
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, War Setting, Siblings
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.
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.
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