Bright We Burn

416p. (And I Darken: Bk. 3). Delacorte. Jul. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780553522396. POP
Gr 9 Up—Lada Dracul is ruling as the prince of Wallachia. Lada's brother Radu has returned to Edirne, but the sultan Mehmed summons him back to Constantinople when Lada balks at Ottoman control. When Lada attacks the sultan's troops and kills his emissaries, Radu and his brother-in-law Kumal are sent to Wallachia to kidnap Lada and force her under Mehmed's authority. A full-scale invasion of Wallachia by the Ottoman army ensues. As Mehmed, Radu, and their soldiers advance through the wilderness, they discover crops burned, water sources poisoned, and peasants working as human weapons. Lada resolves to kill the sultan, but she is betrayed and the plot fails. The Ottoman forces retreat, but Mehmed leaves Radu to support the new prince of Wallachia. Lada flees to her mountain fortress. Radu, Mehmed, and Lada rush toward a final test of loyalties that will change the course of their lives and the face of Eastern Europe. White has crafted a conclusion to this epic story that is exciting, complex, and faithful to the feelings that drive human beings in love and conflict. The details in this historical epic are copious, but White keeps a steady, exciting pace. Though this is the final work in a trilogy, the characters continue to develop and deepen. The ending is satisfying, plausible, and not without hope.
VERDICT Highly recommended for all high school collections.

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