Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Audiobook Review: Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Title: Bright We Burn
Series: The Conquerors Saga #3 
Written by: Kiersten White
Published: July 10, 2018 by Delacorte (Random House)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.

I immediately knew that this series was going to be right up my alley when I first learned about it. First of all, it’s about Vlad Tepes and every book I have read about Dracula, real or imagined, I have loved. But this is also a gender-swapped historical fiction with a badass female protagonist which, sign me up. And this last book in the series truly was amazing.

In three books I have become very attached to these characters and it’s become very easy to root for them. First there is Lada, the gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler. She was really everything I wanted her to be, especially in this book. She was absolutely brutal and did whatever it took to take back and keep her crown. But the best part about that is it wasn’t unfounded. I liked that there was a big picture to it. Lada was fighting in the name of progress and equality. For that I really loved her. And then there is Radu, her brother. Radu could not be any more different from Lada. He is sweet, good-natured, and thoughtful when it comes to his actions. The best part about Radu in this book is that you really get to see him shine when it comes to politics and it was exciting to see, especially as someone who loves books with political intrigue.

But what I think I liked most about these characters is the exploration of good and evil. This book is full of people who are doing bad things for the right reasons but their reasons are contradictory to one another which adds another great layer. Usually you don’t have two such different characters who are at odds like this. But when it happens, it is always on books that I love and this book was no exception. Throughout the series Kiersten really explores the idea of the sacrifices people are willing to make to achieve their goals and some of the impacts of war on not only the people but their rulers. Plus it was subtle. It didn’t hit you over the head with a message and I liked that.

The other very cool thing about this book is the historical setting. Most books set in the Middle Ages are very focused on a Western European setting. I liked that his had an Eastern European and Middle Eastern setting. It was cool to see the conflict of Christianity and Islam from both perspectives. Plus, again it was subtle. It wasn’t a story about religion and The Crusades, that was just a small part of it. No, this was a story of the Draculesti family, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can tell that Kiersten did her research. She made some changes, you kind of have to when you’re gender-swapping, but it added to the story. It made me want to learn more about The read Vlad the Impaler and Radu cel Frumos which honestly is the mark of good historical fiction in my opinion.

All in all I really loved this book. It has fantastic characters, a thrilling plot, and a great historical setting. The whole series was amazing and I think it is one of those rare series where it gets better over time. This book is without a doubt my favorite and the one I wanted from the start.\

I give Bright We Burn by Kirsten White 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you like historical fiction or are looking for a book with a badass female ruler to root for definitely check this one out. Side note: if you like audiobooks, these ones are narrated by Fiona Hardingham and they are really amazing. I liked the last two so much better than the first and I think it's because I got the audio.

Have you read Bright We Burn? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I'm so glad you loved it! I still need to buy this book. I guess I'll get around to it at some point lol

  2. Yay!! I loved this book so much and I had a lot of the same reactions as you. I agree that the characters are incredible.