Book Review: Bright We Burn by Kiersten White (4/5)

22817368Haunted 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.

My overall reaction – meh.

Bright We Burn read faster and better than the second, Now I Rise (which was long and odious.) This final book wraps up the stories of Radu, Lada, and Mehmed. And, let’s be honest, we all knew it wouldn’t end in a warm/fuzzy feeling. Luckily, I was expecting bittersweet. And that’s what this book delivered.

The story within this series is good. Full of backstabbing, emotional turmoil, and painful decisions. But there is a separation between me and the story, like a filter through the something of the intimacy is claimed.

While I liked Lada – I admired her determination, her refusal to be a damsel in distress – I found myself not caring if she died at the end. She made some very horrible decisions, murder mostly, that stole my sympathy for her. I still like her, I just don’t feel close to her; I don’t feel that sense of wearing her shoes through the story, you know?

My main beef with this book and with the entire series, is the amount of narration. There is so much narration, it reads like a history text at time, you know, long and dull and more about ‘facts’ than entertaining.

I don’t know how I feel about the end. It felt lackluster, it felt fitting – I’m on the fence. It didn’t leave me with emotional holes, so that’s good, I guess.

But, like I said, my overall opinion of this series – meh. (Indifferent, not good, not bad.) This series wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t great. It won’t make my “favs of 2018” list.

And, on the history note – this series would have been much better (to me) had it been set in a fantasy world, not an alternative history. I, unlike Goodreads, don’t consider Alternative History to be in the Fantasy Genre.

But, overall, I rate Bright We Burn a 4 out of 5. It was alright, not a bad read, but not the best thing I’ve ever read. It’s definitely not the worst, either.

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