Series: The Wrath & the Dawn #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 12th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
One Life to One Dawn.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.
Dear Ms. Ahdieh,
I’m unsure of how you did it. Whatever magic you used to pry open my brain and look inside, I’d like to have it as well. Because this book was written for me, it is, in many ways, my dream book and encompasses everything I want in a novel. So, I would really like to know how you did it.
You may have other people fooled but this is not a debut novel. This CAN’T be a debut novel because, well, THE WRITING IS PERFECT.
Again, I ask you to give me some of your witchcraft. I promise not to abuse it.
(Also, thank you for writing such an amazing book.)
The The Wrath & the Dawn was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015. Just reading the premise made me want to put everything else down and just READ THE BOOK ALREADY. I love A Thousand and One Nights. I love Middle Eastern culture. I love YA Fantasy. As mentioned above, this sounded like my dream book.
But here’s the thing about hype (both the one in your head and the one outside of it): You tend to get disappointed. BUT I’m happy to say that this novel truly deserves and lives up to all the hype it gets. FINALLY. This book has restored my faith.
The Wrath & the Dawn is not without its flaws. I would easily be able to criticize some of the elements in the story, e.g. underdeveloped magic system, a certain predictability, a hint of insta-love etc. But I don’t want to because I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. Can you tell I liked it yet?
Alright, so let us get into the actual review. I’m going to discuss the different elements separately because it’s the only way I’ll manage to gather my thoughts.
Setting & Writing:
Undoubtedly, the setting is one of the best parts about this book. For one thing, it’s quite unique simply because there aren’t many YA novels out there that have this element of Middle Eastern culture. However, it’s also wonderful because it’s real. You aren’t reading about taking a stroll through a souk, you actually are walking through one. The author’s ability to bring the culture to life with her vivid descriptions of architecture, clothes, people and food is astounding. Everything felt tangible and the imagery was some of the best I’ve ever read. In addition, we have Renee Ahdieh’s gorgeous writing style that is so lush and emotive yet very easy to read and get into. It’s the kind of book that makes it difficult to take quotes from it because every single sentence could be used as one. The dialogue is fantastic as well.
I can now add Shazi to my list of favourite female characters. She is amazing. Fierce and feisty, clever and determined, but yet caring and compassionate. She made me smile throughout the novel and I was rooting for her the whole way. She is both a realistic and an admirable character and her slight arrogance only added another layer to her.
“Shahrzad al-Khayzuran!” The muscles in his jaw constricted. “You are not weak. You are not indecisive. You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure.”
I also loved Khalid. He really won me over over the course of the book. Broken and guarded, Shazi struggles to find out what truly lies beneath Khalid’s aloof exterior. He was a complex character and his self-hatred was heartbreaking yet understandable. He’s confronted with choices that are pretty much impossible to make and his internal turmoil was depicted beautifully.
The side characters were also amazing. Of course, I adored Despina, Shazi’s handmaiden who becomes her friend throughout the story. In many ways, she is just as fierce as Shazi and I thought that the two women complimented each other wonderfully. It was great to see such a friendship in a novel that is primarily a romance.
Jalal was great too; he provided the needed comic relief while still being kick-ass in his own right. Seeing his interactions with the King was fantastic.
And Tariq…oh Tariq. I kind of hated him yet understood where he was coming from.
What can I say? It’s a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, obviously I’m going to love it. Sure, some parts were slightly predictable, but honestly, I didn’t care one bit. The novel was perfectly paced and had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. The story felt mysterious and intriguing and I didn’t know how it was going to end.
I have very mixed feelings towards novels that are primarily about romance. I love them if they are done well, but more often than not, they leave me cold. Not this one. The chemistry between the two main characters was incredible. What I loved most about it, was how equal the two of them were. In a way, Shazi is completely at her king’s mercy and yet her strong will and character caused her to not be inferior to him in any way. With exchanges like this
“Get up, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. You kneel before no one. Least of all me.”
“My soul sees its equal in you.”
How can you not love them together? Did I feel conflicted at times? Sure! But that’s the beauty of it. The romance is sexy and angsty and I loved it all the more for it.
Basically, read it. Seriously, everyone should read this book. It will melt your heart. Also, I need book 2. Like, right now.