Detailed historical fiction that reads like high fantasy.

And I Darken - Kiersten White

The author did an impressive amount of work putting this together, from research about locations, politics and military structure, to explorations of feminism and identity. I really lost interest midway through, though. The gender-flipped Vlad the Impaler, Lada, spends too much time being irritatingly fierce. I know it's the fashion right now, but I can't really get behind any MC, male or female, just being continually savage. On the flip side, her brother as a gay Muslim seems like a stretch, and potentially an offensive one to the orthodoxy of Islam. Either way, SUPER not into siblings with a shared love interest as a plot device. That's a world of tension I'm not interested in stepping into. Kind of torn between checking out the sequel or just letting this series go. On the one hand, I've loved all of White's books so far, it's detailed, thoughtful and challenging historical fiction, the story's finally shaping up for revolution, and I hate leaving things half-done. OTOH, I barely made it to the end of this book. Decisions, lol.