Number of pages: 416
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 5
As a kind of disclaimer before this review, I recently learned that Romanian readers are very unhappy with this series and how it presents their history, and I seriously think that needs to be talked about more. I love this series, and Kiersten White has been a favourite author of mine for a very long time, but the concerns of Romanian readers should be taken into consideration when talking about this series. I highly recommend you take a look at the 1 star reviews of And I Darken on Goodreads and see what Romanian readers have to say about it.
Also, this is a review of the final book in the trilogy. I am going to make it as vague and spoiler free as possible, but just know that this is going to be less of a review and more of a mess of fangirling. Anyway, onto the actual “review”.
I read this during a really weird mental health time. If that hadn’t been the case, I would probably still be a complete emotional mess over this book. Still, I’m super heartbroken over some of the character deaths, and I don’t see that heartbreak going away anytime soon. I mean, Kiersten White killed one of my favourite characters roughly 130 pages into the book. There was also another death earlier on that I was sitting there praying Lada wouldn’t go through with. Said character and their family deserved so much better.
Speaking of Lada, I kind of love that she’s a character that exists. Like she’s so well done. You can tell from book one that she is not the hero, but you can’t help but sympathise with her because it’s obvious how much she loves her country and her people. Every horrible thing she does is done for what she thinks is the good of her country. Nothing can excuse her actions, but you can see where she’s coming from.
I have more trouble sympathising with Radu. He doesn’t have that sense of agency Lada does. I found his chapters far more enjoyable and his story easier to sympathise with in Bright We Burn, but he will never be my favourite of the siblings.
Another fantastic character related thing in both this book and this series as a whole is that the side characters are as equally well done as the main characters. My favourite characters are some of the side characters, though I won’t name them here for fear of spoiling who lives and who dies.
I’m also so happy my ship from Now I Rise sailed. The characters get to be happy together instead of angsty, and it helped make a very dark book a little easier to swallow.
That’s another thing that’s fantastic about this book; it balances the light and dark perfectly. There is so much death and sadness in this book, but there were also so many moments that made me laugh out loud (even without [redacted]).
I’ve said this about previous books in the trilogy, but Kiersten White somehow wrote a historical fiction that reads like a fantasy. I love historical fiction books, but I always find them a little dry, so this series is really refreshing.
Overall, I loved Bright We Burn, earning it 5 out of 5 stars. This probably isn’t all I wanted to say, but I highly recommend this trilogy.