As this is the third book in a series, I won’t say too much about the story. This is the continuation of a story based on a fiction version of the man later known as Vlad the Impaler, or alternatively, Dracula. In this series, Vlad is Lada, female and fighting for recognition and power despite her gender. Mehmed (Sultan of the Ottoman Empire) was once a childhood friend, but is now at odds with Lada, and Radu (Lada’s brother and Mehmed’s friend) is trapped between the two warring countries, religions, and politics.
How did this one compare to the last two? Brilliantly. White pulled off several small twists that I should definitely have expected but which took me completely by surprise. I got all warm and tingly at the various reunion and love scenes, and was disgusted by the various torture and gore scenes. I both detested and rooted for Lada, and enjoyed watching Radu come into his own. (Mehmed has no point-of-view sections in this book, and so remained more of an outsider who influences these two narrators.) I adored the whole discussion of family and loyalty, and admired the way White put all the horrific real-life events of Vlad the Impaler into a personal context (making them simultaneously more relatable and more monstrous).
Any more than that would give away spoilers, and I don’t want to do that. This is a great series that I highly recommend, and that’s high praise for me considering that 99% of the time I dislike fiction based on historical figures!