Publication: July 10th 2018
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fiction
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
“‘We are not delicate flowers. We break our backs with the washing and the tilling of soil and the bearing of children. We can beat an enemy as handily as we beat a rug'” (White 122).
What a fantastic end to a truly amazing trilogy! Somehow Bright We Burn completely flew under my radar, maybe everyone on bookstagram was just too excited for White’s most recent release The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, which don’t get me wrong I’m also pumped for. But I thought it was so strange that I hadn’t heard anything of this book, I had to search it on Goodreads before I learned it came out this past July!
In Bright We Burn we’re back following Radu, Mehmed, and Lada on their individual quests for happiness. For Radu that’s finding out what happened to his wife Nazira, and with any hope Cyprian whom he lost as Constantinople fell. Mehmed has Constantinople, but all her really wants to make him happy are his friends Radu and lost love Lada by his side. Lada of course, the new prince of Wallachia, is still fighting for her country and fighting to be recognized and treated with the same respect as her male counterparts. All are still trying to achieve happiness at the dangers of the others, but will any of them achieve it?
Bright We Burn was a fantastic read, but it did take me a while to get used to the pacing of it. The past two books in the series all deal with big time jumps through Lada, Radu, and Mehmed’s lives but this book might jump through weeks or months, but not a huge number of years like the other books (at least not until the end). It was nice getting to finally get a look at the climax of the story in a steady frame instead of jumping, but it did take some getting used to.
The book also focuses a lot more on Lada and Radu, which makes sense based on the ending of the last book, and was actually a nice breather. I also loved how much all the characters had changed and grown from the previous books, it really felt like an ending with all loose ends tied up and the characters fully evolved.
It was also really nice to read a book series that wasn’t afraid to end happy. If White wanted, she could have easily followed the many dramatic tropes that were easily available to her that could have made her series a tragedy, but I am so glad she went against the norm. She took a lot of artistic liberties with the historical fiction of this book, some that some history nerds probably won’t like (but hey, that’s why it’s called historical fiction) but I loved it. White is a compassionate writer who seems very aware of who her readers are, and I love her for that.
If you like historical fiction with badass women, diverse characters, and a new take on Vlad the Impaler Bright We Burn and the entire Conqueror’s Saga is the perfect read. I’ll miss these characters so much, but each of their endings fit them so perfectly, so I can’t really miss them too much!
“And then she had had to do everything by herself anyways, because the aid of men was never what they promised. It always came with hooks, invisible barbs to tug her back when she got close to her goals,” (White 7).
“Why were men always trying to claim different parts of her? Her body, her name, her soul. Why should they care where its allegiances lay?” (White 60).
“‘That is the thing with giving your heart. You never wait for someone to ask. You hold it out and hope they want it,'” (White 76).
“For the first time in a long time, she felt like a girl. It terrified her. Because there was nothing in the world more vulnerable to be than a girl,” (White 287).