I think it would be great if publishers would stop comparing everything with other popular books, because most of the time it doesn't even make sense. Like in And I Darken which is set to be a teenage Game of Thrones. Why I ask, since there are no dragons or ice zombies or Seven Kingdoms for that matter. You've got to be kidding me if the only link is in fact political intrigue. Because that indeed is about the only thing they have in common.
For some reason I saw And I Darken being promoted as a YA fantasy, though there are no fantasy elements in the story. It features Lada (the female Vlad) and her little brother Radu, who both in different ways try to make something of their lives after their father sells them as wards to the Ottoman Empire.
Lada doesn't do a lot of Impaling in this story, when she's not occupied with the young new Sultan, she's plotting her escape and trying to blend in (O, your friend has killed one of the party guests, again). Radu, on the other hand is the schemer, learning how to plot and use politics to his advantage while yearning what Lada has.
It took me four months to finish And I Darken. This was only partly my fault, I think, for the book is incredibly slow at the beginning, making it difficult to keep reading. I was expecting the female Vlad the Impaler, but in this book Lada is still a young girl and it all seems like the prologue to the actual story. At times the book was also rather repetitive as certain things happened again and again and fierce, brute Lada was sometimes swayed too easily (especially considering Mehmed's children with his many concubines, it is after all his 'duty').
The pace did pick up near the end and I liked it better than in the beginning. Overall, I wouldn't say it was bad at any time, but too slow, and since it became better later, I would like to see where the story is going from here. Many unanswered questions!
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!