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Literature / The Conquerors Saga

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The Conqueror's Saga is a trilogy of young adult novels by Kiersten White set in the Ottoman Empire during the 1400's. The series follows Lada, a female version of Vlad the Impaler, and her brother Radu through their childhood in Romania and their teenage years as hostages in the Ottoman royal court.

The Conqueror's Saga series:

  • And I Darken
  • Now I Rise
  • Bright We Burn

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lada. In the third book, she recruits women to fight in her army.
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  • Alternate History: A version of history where Vlad the Impaler is a woman.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Radu when stabbing Lazar.
  • Arranged Marriage: Mehmed's father has him married to Sitti Hatun. He finds out when he receives an invitation to his own wedding.
    • Lada avoids this fate by scaring the daylights out of her would-be husband.
      Lada: On our wedding night, I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.
  • Attempted Rape: Lada smothers a would-be rapist in And I Darken.
    • In Now I Rise, Radu kills an Ottoman soldier who was trying to rape a child.
  • Badass Boast: Lada delivers most of them, but Radu gets a few in as well:
    Radu: You may have been the one who stopped the dagger last time, but I am the one who will know before the dagger ever comes close to Mehmed.
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  • Badass Gay: Radu may not be as badass as Lada, but he grows into The Social Expert and a skilled archer.
  • The Beard: Radu, who is gay, marries Nazira, a lesbian. Taken Up to Eleven when their love interests marry each other.
    Nazira: As your wife, I would expect only your friendship. Nothing more. And I would request that my maid, Fatima, be allowed to accompany me. Always.
  • Big Little Brother: Radu is taller than Lada, much to her annoyance.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Nicolae's defining feature.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Lada wears knives strapped to her forearms.
  • Broken Pedestal: Lada loses all respect for her father when he lets her childhood friend Bogdan be taken by the Ottoman army. His indifference makes her realize how spineless he is and how little he truly cares for her.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Lada and Radu can work well together under pressure, but their goals and loyalties are so different that they rarely manage to stay a team for long.
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  • Child by Rape: Daciana's first child. Almost certainly Lada and Radu as well, considering how their father treated their mother.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Lada with both Mehmed and Bogdan.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality: Nazira dresses in bright colors that match her cheerful personality.
  • Declaration of Protection: Lada to Radu after pulling him out of a frozen lake. Being Lada, she makes it sound more like a threat, but it's heartwarming by her standards.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Loads of them, but especially Radu, Nazira, and Lada.
  • Demolitions Expert: Tohan, Urbana.
  • The Ditz: Halima.
  • Evil Chancellor: Halil Pasha.
  • The Evil Prince: Matthias. Lada is a genderbent version.
  • Family of Choice: Radu, Cyprian, Nazira, Fatima, Oana, and Theodora have become one by the end of the series.
  • Female Misogynist: Lada is contemptuous towards other women, especially feminine ones, underestimating them and blaming them for anything bad that happens to them. She gets somewhat better after spending time with Huma, Tohan, and Daciana.
  • Happily Adopted: Theodora.
  • Has Two Mommies: Theodora has two moms and two dads.
  • Hated Hometown: Radu dreads the thought of ever returning to Wallachia.
  • Headbutt of Love: Radu to Cyprian at the end of Now I Rise.
  • The Hero Dies: The epilogue has Radu and Mehmed visiting Lada's grave.
  • Heroic Bastard: Cyprian.
  • Heroic BSoD: Nazira breaks down screaming after her brother's death.
  • Kick the Dog: Lada's murder of Kumal.
  • Knife Nut: Lada is wielding knives by the age of five.
    • Theodora seems to have inherited this.
  • The Lancer: Nicolae is Lada's.
  • Last Guy Wins: Radu ends up with Cyprian.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Radu and Nazira, despite being married.
    • Lada and Nicolae as well. He says as much in the first book.
      Nicolae: I think of you like a sister. Like a brilliant, violent, occasionally terrifying sister that I would follow to the ends of the earth, in part because I respected her so much and in part because I feared what she would do to me if I refused.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Nazira is gay and very feminine.
  • Lonely at the Top: Both Lada and Mehmed grow more isolated as they gain power.
  • Mad Scientist: Urbana.
  • Man Bites Man: Lada excels at this. In Bright We Burn, she kills a man by tearing his throat out with her teeth.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Radu and Nazira excel at this.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Lada and Radu.
  • Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: Inverted. Lada is both stronger and uglier than Radu.
  • Missing Mom: Lada and Radu's mother leaves when Lada is five after begging to return to her family. They never hear from her again until Lada tracks her down in Now I Rise.
  • Morning Sickness: Lada mistakes this for poisoning.
  • The Nondescript: Stefan, Lada's spy.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: After saving Radu from drowning in a frozen lake, Lada promises him that nobody will kill him until she does.
  • Pregnant Badass: Being pregnant doesn't stop Lada from killing her guards and breaking out of prison.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Lada is the shortest and most brutal fighter in the series.
  • Promoted to Parent: Kumal raised Nazira after their parents died.
  • The Quiet One: Fatima.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Radu during his brief reign in Wallachia.
  • Royal Harem: As the heir to the throne, Mehmed has a lot of concubines. Neither Lada or Radu are wild about this. Lada is technically part of the harem, as any woman who enters the harem building becomes the sultan's, but neither she nor Mehmed see her as this.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Fatima to Nazira.
  • Scary Teeth: Lada has small, pointy teeth and has killed at least one person with them.
  • She Is the King: Lada is prince of Wallachia.
  • Sibling Triangle: Both Lada and Radu are in love with Mehmed. He chooses Lada.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Huma, Mara Brankovic.
    Huma: Ladislav Dragwlya, daughter of Vlad, who sent forces, including his own son, to fight at Varna, thus invalidating his treaty with the Ottomans and leaving his children's lives utterly forfeit. Ladislav, whom no one in the world other than her beautiful brother and a powerless sultan care about. Little Lada, who is in my house under my protection, sit down.
  • Spare to the Throne: Mehmed is a third son who becomes heir to the Ottoman Empire after Huma orchestrates the deaths of his older brothers.
  • Stringing The Hopeless Suitor Along: Mehmed is aware of Radu's feelings for him and uses them to keep Radu in line. Luckily, Radu wises up to this.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Both Lada and Radu fall in love with Mehmed as they grow older.
  • The Unfettered: Lada will stop at nothing to make her vision of Wallachia come true.
    • Urbana. In Nazira's words, her only loyalty is to creating the most stunningly large and effective means of killing people the world has ever seen.
  • Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: More like 'wanted a masculine child'. Vlad is proud of his tough, violent daughter but ashamed of his gentle, emotional son.
  • Wanted A Son Instead: Lada's father. He comes to conditionally accept her as she grows into a tomboy and fighter.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Huma arranges for Mehmed's infant brother to be murdered to prevent him from someday making a claim to the throne.
    • Lada orders the boyars' children killed at the end of Now I Rise.
    • Matthias kills his rival to Hungary's throne. Said rival is less than ten.
  • Young Conqueror: Mehmed, Lada.

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