"Just because one is born a woman does not mean she cannot do anything that a man can do if given the proper chances."
"It does not work that way. A woman is not as strong as a man...You are strong, but most women are not"
"That is because most women have not had the opportunity to become the best of what they can be."
I really liked this! I love a good "heroine in disguise" plot, and i especially loved that Van didn't turn into a whiny girl whenever she put on a dress. That's usually the one problem with the whole "woman pretends to be a man" trope...once she dresses and acts like a woman, she inevitably switches personalities and becomes a weak character. In this, however, Vanessa/Van stayed true to herself the whole time she dressed as a woman with her temper and strong personality...at least until she has a completely understandable and, more importantly, BELIEVABLE breakdown when she questions her sense of self (which was the most emotional part of the story for me...I truly felt Van's turmoil and anguish as she struggled to understand herself).
This book has a wonderful cast of side characters in the form of Van's men-at-arms. Richard especially was a great character. I also really liked the hero, Peter. It was entertaining to see how much Van's actions drove him completely crazy and I loved whenever they would battle whether physically or through wit and words.
The only thing I found frustrating was that none of her men or even Peter recognized her as "The Dark Knight"...It's a common theme with these types of stories but I can just never understand how people she's known for YEARS don't recognize her at all just because she threw on a dress, powdered her face, and poorly disguised her voice. It just always seems like a stretch to me, but for the sake of the story I just ignore it. Though it does make it more fun once you finally DO get to the reveal that's been building for the whole book (having the reveal too soon is no fun at all!).
Overall a highly entertaining read! I also enjoyed the audiobook, although the narrator read a bit too quick in my opinion...but I did really like his voice for Peter as well as Van's "Dark Knight" voice...her high pitched woman's voice was annoying but that was kinda the point so it's forgiven.