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.
"Rich . . . A worthy end to a powerful saga." --Booklist
"Exciting, complex, and faithful to the feelings that drive human beings in love and conflict. . . . Highly recommended." --SLJ
"An intense, engrossing read." --Kirkus
PRAISE FOR NOW I RISE:
"Gorgeous, rich, and rewarding." --Booklist, Starred Review
"Absolutely devastating in the best way." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"A+, 5 knives." --Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling coauthor of the STARBOUND and ILLUMINAE FILES trilogies
"Fierce, epic, and crazy fun." --Melissa Albert, New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
PRAISE FOR AND I DARKEN:
"A dark jewel of a story, one that gleams with fierce, cunning characters--absolutely riveting." --Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Passenger
"A dark, gritty, and seriously badass epic that will have you dying for more . . . required reading for every feminist fantasy fan." --BuzzFeed
"Evocative . . . this book takes no prisoners." --NPR
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Lada Dracul had cut through blood and bones to get the castle.
That did not mean she wanted to spend time in it. It was a relief to escape the capital. She understood the need for a seat of power, but she hated that it was Tirgoviste. She could not sleep in those stone rooms, empty and yet still crowded with the ghosts of all the princes who had come before her.
With too far to go before reaching Nicolae, Lada planned to camp for the night. Solitude was increasingly precious--and yet another resource she was sorely lacking. But a tiny village tucked away from the frosted road beckoned her. During one of the last summers before she and Radu were traded to the Ottomans, they had traveled this same path with their father. It had been one of the happiest seasons of her life. Though it was winter now, nostalgia and melancholy slowed her until she decided to stay.
Outside the village, she spent a few frigid minutes changing into clothes more standard than her usual selection of black trousers and tunics. They were noteworthy enough that she risked being recognized. She put on skirts and a blouse--but with mail underneath. Always that. To the untrained eye, there was nothing to mark her as prince.
She found lodging in a stone cottage. Because there was not enough planting land for boyars to bother with here, the peasants could own small patches of it. Not enough to prosper, but enough to survive. An older woman seated Lada by the fire with bread and stew as soon as coins had exchanged hands. The woman had a daughter, a small thing wearing much-patched and too-large clothes.
They also had a cat, who, in spite of Lada’s utter indifference to the creature, insisted on rubbing against her leg and purring. The little girl sat almost as close. “Her name is Prince,” the girl said, reaching down to scratch the cat’s ears.
Lada raised an eyebrow. “That is an odd name for a female cat.”
The girl grinned, showing all the childhood gaps among her teeth. “But princes can be girls now, too.”
“Ah, yes.” Lada tried not to smile. “Tell me, what do you think of our new prince?”
“I have never seen her. But I want to! I think she must be the prettiest girl alive.”
Lada snorted at the same time as the girl’s mother. The woman sat down in a chair across from Lada. “I have heard she is nothing to look at. A blessing. Perhaps it can keep her out of a marriage.”
“Oh?” Lada stirred her stew. “You do not think she should get married?”
The woman leaned forward intently. “You came here by yourself. A woman? Traveling alone? A year ago such a thing would have been impossible. This last harvest we were able to take our crops to Tirgoviste without paying robbers’ fees every league along the road. We made two times again as much money as we ever have. And my sister no longer has to teach her boys to pretend to be stupid to avoid being taken for the sultan’s accursed Janissary troops.”
Lada nodded as though hesitant to agree. “But the prince killed all those boyars. I hear she is depraved.”
The woman huffed, waving a hand. “What did the boyars ever do for us? She had her reasons. I heard--” She leaned forward so quickly and with such animation half her stew spilled, unnoticed. “I heard she is giving land to anyone. Can you imagine? No family name, no boyar line. She gives it to those who deserve it. So I hope she never marries. I hope she lives to be a hundred years old, breathing fire and drinking the blood of our enemies.”
The little girl grabbed the cat, settling it on her lap. “Did you hear the story of the golden goblet?” she asked, eyes bright and shining.
Lada smiled. “Tell me.”
And so Lada heard new stories about herself, from her own people. They were exaggerated and stretched, but they were based on things she had actually done. The ways she had improved her country for her people.
Lada slept well that night.
Excerpted from "Bright We Burn"
Copyright © 2018 Kiersten White.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“She could not build a strong kingdom by removing only a few of the most decay-ridden stones. She would have to dismantle the entire thing. She would have to burn it— all of it— to the ground. Only then could Wallachia rise anew from the ashes.” It felt good to revisit Lada and Radu. I love how the author represented the choices of harsh leadership verse a life of love through this story. How a person always seemed to be sacrificing something to get the life they desired, or even just he life they thought they were meant for. I especially love the representation of this fierce prince who would kill and give up everything for their country was also a woman, and she was not soft or kind or diplomatic, but regardless of what you thought of her or her choices she was no less a woman because of them. In the end I really adored this entire series. The author put such a clever twist on this piece of history and it was thought provoking and entertaining at the same time. I give Bright We Burn 4.5 stars.
I loved this series. Its ups and its downs, its heavy-hitting moments and its quieter moments. I actually breathed a sigh of relief when I finished because I couldn't have asked for a more satisfying conclusion to Lada, Radu (
When I started this book I felt very clear of one thing: There is no way Mehmed, Radu, and Lada would make it all out alive. It was also obvious that Lada would not take kindly to being told how to rebuild HER Wallachia. I will say that my initial conviction was, in a way, true. But I won't spoil you (those will be below the jump). Bright We Burn was everything the ending to a complex, deeply woven fantasy should be. It also saw all the characters finally being true to themselves. Lada was always true to herself, but Radu denied himself certain things because he was blindsided by his love for Mehmed, and Mehmed, even though he awarded Wallachia to Lada, was not happy by the way she was ruling and was ready and willing to go to war, as it seemed the son of Murad was always in the mindset for. Early in the novel, we learn from some peasants about Prince Lada and how she is perceived -- and everyone in Wallachia, minus the boyars -- are starting to experience prosperity in the way Lada intended. This was extremely fulfilling, right from the beginning, to see that she was able to do what she set out to do. That her gut instincts were leading her people to a better tomorrow. And she was doing what no prince had done before, yet she was a WOMAN. Once again, the feminist tone could not possibly be ignored. It also sees Radu finally choose HIMSELF over Mehmed in so many ways, which was so incredibly refreshing. To me, he'd gotten a little annoying, but seeing him finally take a stand or some things was really satisfying. I gave this final installment 5 HEARTS because I felt it successfully wrapped up the story and each character's story line. Here's where it gets spoilery ... From the beginning of the book (and really the end of Now I Rise), Mehmed has requested an audience with Lada, which she denies by killing all the Janissaries Mehmed sent to deliver the message and escort her and sends them back in boxes. Next, when Lada is expecting a visit from Radu, she instead finds herself face to face with Kumal Pasha, who she has long harbored a grudge against, as she sees him as a wedge between her and Radu. So she murders him. All the while Radu is off in Bursa -- he has finally heard from someone that Nazira is there and that she is safe after only just escaping the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. After her actions, Mehmed and Radu have no choice but to fight Lada with the intent of reinstalling one of the Danesti brothers to the throne. While Lada's men and her clever trickery send him through a landscape of pitfalls and problems at every turn, seriously delaying their trip to Tirgoviste, they do eventually arrive to find the palace empty. Lada and her people -- all of them, soldiers, families, peasants, are all at the fortress in the mountain. But none of this happens before Lada, like a moth to a flame, finds Mehmed again and they sleep together. They negotiate the terms of a treaty, but Lada rethinks it and nearly kill Mehmed in the process -- and Radu nearly kills Lada. Not long after she and her people make it to the fortress, she is captured by Matthias, King of Hungary, who imprisons her and puts her nurse to work in the kitchen. Luckily, Stefan has been posing as a cleaning worker, and after nearly four months, she escapes, and discovers that she is with Mehmed's child -- though she couldn't been 100% sure until after she was born, since she was sleeping with Bogdan, too. See the rest at www.heatherheartsbooks.com
My heart has been shattered into a million little pieces, but in the best possible way. Did I cry? You BET I DID! Kiersten White has constructed one of the very best series in all of YA. But more than that, she stayed TRUE to the series that she set out to write, and I really think that Lada and Radu got the endings that they both would've wanted. I love, love, loved Lada and Radu and their journeys, and will miss them both dearly.
This series is going to go down as one of my all time favorites. It's the type of historical fiction, even with its changes from the true story, that makes me want to go read more about the actual history when I get done. And there were even times as I was reading that I would have to put the book down and go Google a fact about the actual person, Vlad the Impaler, that Lada was based on. By this third and final book in the series, it doesn't matter how violent and abrasive of a person as Lada is, I was still rooting for her, and hoping so much that things could work out the way she deserved, even knowing that with the way the actual history went, she wouldn't get all that she wanted. I do like that the author decided to take a bit of history, besides the whole being a female thing, and give her a bit of a happy time. As with the other books, if I remember correctly, whenever I picked this one up, it was almost impossible to put down. It's not necessarily an "easy" read, because it is very detailed and goes into so much with the characters, but it is a page-turner anyway. As much as we had learned and gotten to know the characters in the first two books, in this ending to the story we really got to see just how all of those things we'd read about, their actions and things they'd said before made them the person they were. Lada's brother Radu was the person there to see how all of it went down, and how these two really larger than life people - his sister Lada and Mehmed - became the people they were and why they did what they did. I'll admit that in the first two books there were a lot of times I did not like Radu. I've always been on Lada's side, I think. And when he did not even support or stand by his own sister, when he tried to take Mehmed away from her in his own way, I just couldn't stand him. And he did some of those same things in this book. But like with the other two, his character really starts to make a lot of sense, and you realize that's just who he is, and accept him for those things that make him Radu. One other thing that is unique, in my opinion, about a historical story like this, is that you have more than one gay character. And while there are the obvious issues that they would have had to deal with in the time period it takes place in, the characters are able to be good people and their stories are ones that you are also rooting for. I can't tell you a whole lot more, without giving away things that you should probably not know if you want to read the whole series.