And I Darken by Kiersten White
About: No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.
“On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”
This book is *intense*. Not quite historical fiction, not quite fantasy, the pretty cover is misleading enough to make you think you’re in for a light-hearted read about a plucky young heroine. Lada is not that heroine. She is stubborn, always angry, and over emotional. She’s furious about everything that has led her and her brother to the Ottoman Empire. She doesn’t always make the right choices. But she’s bloodthirsty, and has enough training to take down anyone who tries to stop her from getting back to her homeland.