Bright We Burn: The Finale To My Most Loved Series

See reviews for And I Darken and Now I Rise
Bright We Burn
The Conquerors Saga Book Three
Written by Kiersten White
Historical, Alternative History, Young Adult
Published July 16th 2018
400 Pages
Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia
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★★★★★
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.
The Prince of Wallachia is a revolutionary leader among her European borders, a young woman guiding her beloved country to freedom from the Ottoman Empire.

Lada Dragwyla
Lada Dragwyla is an unprecedented character in young adult literature, malevolent and ferociously inhumane. Raised as a young woman destined for traditional female servitude, Lada has escaped for the freedom of Wallachia, reestablishing control alongside her trusted Emissaries. Her journey is contravened by inequality, ignorance and chauvinism, her position as Prince inconceivable. Lada has established the admiration of her compatriots and an equitable Wallachia.

Radu Dragwyla
Radu Dragwyla is a spiritual and compassionate young man, sheltered from atrocities and brutality until the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman forces. The legitimate heir to the Wallachia throne, Radu circumvented his homeland and responsibilities to advocate for the Mehmed the Conqueror and the Ottoman Empire. Abandoning Lada and the dishevelled, presumably incorrigible, antagonistic relationship. As abandoned children of servitude, Lada and Radu are educated on the Ottoman occupation and prophet Muhammad. Radu embraced the Muslim faith, Lada's determination and defiance captivating Mehmed, the young Ottoman heir.

Mehmed The Conqueror
Mehmed is an aggravating antagonist. As a child heir guided by the Sultan, Mehmed is an idealistic young man possessing grandeur illusions of a region united under Islam. Although Lada and Radu were captivates of the Sultan, Lada establishes a physical relationship with Mehmed creating resentment and hostility in gentle Radu, who is exploring his sexuality. Mehmed often exploits Radu's attraction, therein lies the issue with his character. Appointing Radu as an adviser and attempting to subdue Lada as a compatriot and companion.

Gender Inequality
In Bright We Burn, Lada is tenacious, unrelenting and although aggravated in retaliation, she's accused of genocidal atrocities. Mehmed conquers Constantinople and is applauded and revered for his initiative. As Prince of Wallachia, Lada is held accountable, male counterparts exonerated for the savagery against humanity. Women in positions of domination are inconceivable. Male lineages occupy Europe, women are wives, concubines and adhere to the traditional female roles prevalent throughout the European kingdoms and Lada Dragwyla, a young woman of influence, revolutionising Europe against the Ottoman occupation.

Character Diversity
An amalgamation of religion and sexuality. Muslim, Christian, same sex relationships and Radu's exploration of sexuality and faith. Radu particularly is confronted by the Wallachian Christianity and upon his captivation by the Sultan, embraced Islam by engaging in sessions of prayer and the Holy Month, experiencing the peaceful teaching of Islam throughout Radu's narrative. The gentle relationship between Nazira, her partner Fatima and Radu is exquisite and although society recognises heteronormative relationships, Nazira and Radu share a familial, nonsexual relationship of affection and tenderness.

Historically, Mehmed the Conqueror was rumoured to have been sexually attracted to men which is unclear throughout The Conquerors Saga. Mehmed shares intimate moments with Radu, gentle gesturing, alluding to the rumours that his harem as Sultan contains consenting men for the Sultan's sexual gratification. To disperse rumours, Mehmed ostracises Radu to Constantinople, unclear if Mehmed is sexually attracted to Radu or exploiting the young Dragwyla's affections. 

The Conquerors Saga is a brutal alternative history of the Prince of Wallachia, blending historical fiction with a cruel and calculating antihero that pushes gender roles, stereotypes and labels. A breathtaking, historical alternative of the Ottoman Empire during fifteenth century Europe and an impeccable finale to what is an outstanding young adult series.

18 comments

  1. I absolutely adored the first book this is series, and honestly believe it's the strongest series to date from Kiersten White. Haven't had a chance to read the following books, but based on your review Kel, I'm sensing that Lada continues to kick ass and grow into the ferocious leader that was hinted at in the first novel.

    Hate the fact that there's such gender inequality when she's compared side by side to Mehmed, but I get it. It's a backwards time. Regardless, I'm looking forward to finally diving back into this world, and see how the story concludes because it certainly sounds I-N-T-E-N-S-E!

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    1. Oh goodness, does she ever! She's brutal but in the finale we start to see a side of Lada that she kept hidden, the loneliness and yearning for Radu. Neighbouring European leaders are hungry for her execution for ruling with the iron fist her father before her had. I'm always weary of finales but this was superb, as a reader I couldn't have asked for anything more.

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  2. Not gunna lie I had “And I Darken” on my TBR (probably after reading your review for it back in like 2016?) then it fell off my radar – OOPS – It’s most certainly back on my radar now. Thank you, yet again for an awesome review and getting me excited to start a new series <3 <3 :-)

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    1. I've read an incredible amount of young adult series novels and nothing compares to how phenomenal The Conquerors Saga is. I really appreciated that Kiersten White held nothing back when it came to Lada's brutality. You'll absolutely love the series Sarah, I guarantee it.

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  3. Aaaahhh!!! GOD I hate being not up to date with new releases.. I haven't still read And I Darken... I guess I'll need to check that review first :) Had to avoid reading this one ;) :p
    Haniya
    booknauthors.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh yes, please do Haniya! We have very similar tastes in books and I just know you'll love this series as much as I have. I can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  4. Well this book sounds intense. The entire series sounds intense and I think that's why I've never got to reading. I love the idea of alternative histories but I always want to read the actual history first and then compare that to the alternate and that's silly and whole lot more work than necessary. This is the same reason it takes me forever to watch book adaptations because I want to read the book before watching the film and then I never get around to it.

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    1. I'm usually the same too but I knew a little about the Wallachian history and The Impaler, Lada's character really brought history to life. So many aspects were historically accurate which I really enjoyed. You don't need to know anything about the Ottoman occupation though to enjoy the series, it's so immersive. I think you'd absolutely love it.

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  5. Whew. What a finale this sounds like. I feel like I need to read your reviews of the other ones to remind myself of this series before reading this one again. What a complex finale, plot and characters!

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    1. It's amazing Verushka and have loved every moment. I hope the suthor revisits the series again at some point because although the finale was perfect, there is still another story to tell.

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  6. Fantastic review and really well-written. I love that you broke your thoughts down based on the characters. I still need to read the first book, but it sounds great. I hear good things about the character of Radu and I do feel like I'd be a fan of his overall. Thanks so much for sharing.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Thanks Lauren, each character is so lovingly written that they all deserve a mention. Radu is wonderful character. I loved his tenderness but he often left me feeling frustrated when it came to his sibling relationship with Lada. Radu has a family consisting of Nazira and Fatima, his wife and her partner but didn't feel the same fondness for Lada who really was just a product of her environment.

      The one aspect I disliked about Radu was is inability to acknowledge Lada's sacrifices, without her he would have been expected to carry his father's legacy. His character also has a massive impact on the finale.

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  7. OMG Kelly!!!! Why haven't I read the first book yet???? I've had it on my kindle for years now and I keep planning on reading it but I don't.

    I just skimmed your review because I don't want to be spoiled before I even start lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Get on it Karen, it's absolutely brilliant!

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  8. This is a series I've been wanting to read for ages! I think I have the first book laying around here somewhere... hmm. I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction on its own, but you send it was blended, which makes me think I might like it more. The Ottoman Empire is one of my favorite periods, and I did a lot of studies on it in college. I guess that means I need to read this one sooner rather than later, yes?

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Oh my yes! I like young adult historical generally but it needs to really captivate me and this series is phenomenal. I can't wait to see what you think of it!

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  9. Wow. This one sounds pretty intense Kelly plus the cover looks so gorgeous! I'll definitely check out this series. Thanks for this awesome review :)

    xx
    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

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    1. It's brilliant Vanessa, it's one of those series that'll appeal to such a wide audience. Historical, battle, forbidden romance, strong female characters. It's truly magnificent.

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