Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

Monday, June 1, 2015

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: May 12, 2015

I received a eARC of The Wrath and the Dawn from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. 
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

What a powerful book! Powerful love story. Powerful friendships. Powerful adventure and intrigue and mystery. But most of all this book is all about powerful secrets.

("Say powerful, again." "Powerful.")

If you can't already tell, I am such a fan of this book. It was a fun and gorgeous read that kept me entertained all the way through. The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights but it expands on the main story that is used as a framework for all the tales in the original. Shahrzad, or Shazi, volunteers to marry the Caliph of Khorasan, Khalid, and though she is supposed to die at dawn like all of his wives before, he extends her sentence to hear the rest of the story she tells during the night. She is adamant to tell this story and extend her life, in order to discover Khalid's weakness and to take revenge on his killing her best friend. But there are secrets behind the Caliph and his actions, and he might not be the monster the city thinks he is. Or maybe he is. 

My love for this book may have to a lot with how much I adored Renée Ahdieh's writing. The writing is both gorgeous and easy to read, and it really just sucked me into the story. The plot had a comfortable pacing was a told in third person, giving insight into the actions of many characters such as Tariq, Shahrzad's father, and of course Shahrzad herself. Her descriptions were so phenomenal and really brought the Middle Eastern setting to life. Everything from the guard's eye to a bit of food was had these amazing concisely accurate descriptions. Honestly, I could listen to her describe things all day. Her vivid descriptions are what gave this story life because it immersed me into this beautiful setting and drew me to the characters.

Shahrzad is such an amazing character. Loved, loved, LOVED her. She is bold, strong, and determined like no one would believe, and quite a few times stubborn to a fault! Directly from the beginning, she is determined to discover Khalid's weakness and shows herself as an equal to him even in the life threatening position she put herself in. 
Shahrzad has such a quick mind and amazing wit that keeps her alive essentially and navigates her through life in the Caliph's palace.

The relationship between Shahrzad and Khalid is probably one of my favorite love stories of all time. It was so complex and full of levels of trust/distrust, secrets, and love. Shahrzad doesn't want to fall in love with Khalid. In fact, that is the opposite of her whole plan to avenge her best friend's murder! But as the story goes on she sees that man behind the king, almost in a Beauty and the Beast sort of way of learning to love a beast. And I was right there with Shahrzad about my confused feelings toward Khalid and their relationship. He has his reasons as you discover, but there is still the cold hard fact that he killed all of his previous wives. But damn it if I didn't love Khalid too! Khalid is such a complex character who I respected so much by the end.

Also my heart nearly beat out of my chest every time he called Shahrzad "my queen." I swooned big time.

I am a sucker for great friendships, and this book had two amazing ones: Shahrzad and Despina and Tariq and Rahim. Shahrzad and Despina, her handmaiden, were so snarky with each other, and their stubborn attitudes made them such even matches. I loved their interactions, and I ended up copying down so many quotes from their conversations:

Shahrzad smiled at this in spite herself. "You're arrogant." 
"As are you, my lady Shahrzad. But I do not see this as a shortcoming. For without a measure of arrogance, how can one attempt the impossible?" (ARC 42)
They are put into this position of queen and handmaiden where they have to be close, and it was so interesting to see them grow from distrusting to being more open with each other. 

Tariq and Rahim is another friendship that makes this book. Tariq is Shahrzad's childhood sweetheart and Rahim is their childhood friend, and they are resolute in finding a way to save Shahzrad from the same fate of the Caliph's pervious wives. I am pretty sure that they have matching BFF tattoos somewhere because what bros. These two were so funny together! Sure, there were lots of serious moments between them as they search for a way to help Shahrzad, but I just loved their familiar little jibes at each other.

"Well, if anyone can talk their way out of a beheading, it's you." 
"I thank you, Rahim. As always, your abiding confidence in me casts any possibility of doubt astray" (ARC 122).

Also while Tariq does give this story a little love triangle action, for once it actually didn't bother me too much. I usually loathe anything love triangle related, and I thought this one was done very well so far. I think because Ahdeih establishes such an interesting relationship between Shahrzad and Khalid while also giving insight into Tariq's perspective of the situation that it helps the story along.

The only thing I would say is that the ending seemed a little rushed. So much happened in so few pages that I was just like: "Well this got out of control quickly." Despite that, I feel like it did set it up well for the next book though, which I need right now!

Rating: 5 out of 5. I enjoyed every gorgeous word of this book. The writing, the characters, the relationships! I can't wait to read The Rose and the Dagger.

Leave a Comment

Post a Comment