(The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
Published: May 12th 2015
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
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.
My Rating: 5/5 (Outstanding)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, Young Adult
Page Count: 388
Hello! It’s been forever since I’ve really done a worthwhile post—this past week has just been memes really, and I feel terrible for that! It’s been over a week since I last posted a review, and that really isn’t good. Not to mention I have yet to go around to a lot of your blogs and reply to your comments. I’m sorry, guys! I’ve really been trying to, but I just don’t seem to have the time, and I have no idea how things just got so out of hand. Anyway, please hold your sticks and stones for now, I really am super sorry. 😦
Anyway, gloom and doom aside, today I finally have a review, on, as you may have guessed, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This A Thousand and One Nights retelling has been super hyped up before and since its release, so I was super excited to see that this was the chosen book for the August read-along hosted by Bibliophile Gathering. Now, I’m going to be completely honest here and say that going into this book, I hardly had any idea what A Thousand and One Nights was about. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to know this fairytale before reading this book, but I didn’t. Either way, it didn’t affect the reading experience. This book was amazing and I really loved it. I totally understand the hype and it met my expectations in a completely unexpected way (if that makes any sense)!
The eighteen year-old Caliph of Khoresan, Khalid is a killer. Every night Khalid chooses a new bride, only to have her killed as sunrise. It all comes as a surprise when brave Shahrzad volunteers to be his bride. But Shahrzad is more than what she seems, as her clever mind is set on getting revenge on the man who killed her best friend and so many others. Problem is, she might just be falling in love with him… But how could she, when he’s proven, time and time again, to be a killer?
“One hundred lives for the one you took. One life to one dawn. Should you fail but a single mourn, I shall take from you your dreams. I shall take from you your city. And I shall take from you these lives, a thousandfold.”
Like I said, I hardly had any idea of what A Thousand and One Nights is about going into this book. That didn’t matter because this was such a whole new world, a different time, a different country. Sure, the foreign land and names were slightly confusing at first, (there is a glossary at the end though, and I got used to it pretty quickly) but the world, the setting, Renee Ahdieh created was simply so unique! Not to mention I absolutely loved the idea of the whole thing. Okay, people might now go and look at me like, “Gurrrl, you’re talking about a book where a king kills a bride every dawn. Sounds like fluffy rainbows and unicorns, I’m sure!” but I’m not kidding. I’ve hardly read any book like it before, so it was all very new and interesting to me. And I loved that!
Also…(nope, I’m not done yet) Another thing I really loved was how engaged I was in the story. From the very first page (which started off with an intriguing prologue and then right into the action, AKA not a boring introduction) I was hooked and I always looked forward to finding out more. I was given bits and pieces of information of the characters’ pasts, until I was able to understand what their life was like, which was interesting, especially in the case of Shahrzad. The plot has me addicted and I honestly can’t wait for the second book, in part because of the enticing (but frustrating) cliffhanger at the end as well as the fact that I just really want to know more about the characters, the world, and everything.
I will quickly mention that the ending is kind of a touchy spot, since while I liked it (and am completely dying for the second book) it does leave something missing that I can’t exactly put my finger on. But I did really like it and it wasn’t a big enough issue for me to dislike the book.
Ooh, the characters! I could go on and on, to be honest. I absolutely loved the main character Shahrzad, first of all. One of the main reasons is because she was a fighter—and more of the cunning and smart than the physically-kickbutt kind of fighter, if you know what I mean. You can bet that she will outsmart you in almost any of your plans! I loved how she did not stand back and watch Khalid continue to kill countless other young females. She did something about it, and used her wit and smarts to come up with a plan that will keep her alive as well. You go, girl!
I will live to see tomorrow’s sunset. Make no mistake. I swear I will live to see as many sunsets as it takes.
And I will kill you.
With my own hands.
Shahrzad was clever, witty, bold and brutally honest, standing up for herself in a time where it’s uncommon to do so (in a very natural way, might I add). How could I not love her character? And then you put in her chemistry with Khalid, and the fact that although there is a love triangle, she did not suffer from the angsty lovesick teenager trope so commonly found these days.
Which brings us to Khalid himself! Ah. You know, I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to read this book without falling in love with him. If you’re anything like me, that is. He’s simply amazing (even though he’s supposedly a cold hearted killer).
“Is it not arrogant to think you deserve more, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid?”
“Is it so arrogant to want something that doesn’t change with the wind? That doesn’t crumble at the first sign of adversity?”
The best part was seeing him change his isolated and harsh attitude. It provided so much development over the course of the book. And the thing is, he didn’t change too fast. You know how in most bad-boys in books, they suddenly/immediately become all good and stuff after meeting this one girl? Khalid was different. I saw him change slowly, remaining the same person while changing his attitude at the same time. Like taking little baby steps. Advancing a little bit, falling back a few steps, then advancing once again.
“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”
To sum it all up, Khalid is simply a fantastically-written character that I just couldn’t get enough of. He had so much depth to him and layers that I most certainly was not expecting. At the start he is portrayed as a heartless murderer, but as we go along we see the true man underneath. Sounds cliche, but it’s the good kind, I tell you. You know you shouldn’t really fall for him, but you do anyway because his character is irresistible, and easy to sympathize with. (His character kind of reminded me of how I felt with the Darkling from the Grisha series, actually.) He’s only eighteen, yet so mature in having to bear the weight of so many struggles, and I have to say it broke my heart seeing him go through so much.
“It’s a fitting punishment for a monster. to want something so much—to hold it in your arms — and know beyond a doubt you will never deserve it.”
The side characters were great too. I really liked Jalal, the closest person to Khalid. He really lightened things up and remained a great person throughout the novel. Shazi’s handmaiden, Despina, is also great. She added some interesting twists in the story and was similar to Shazi in her fighting & strong instincts and was a lot of fun to have around. Her witty interactions with Shahrzad were very entertaining and I loved how well the two girls went together.
“Are you a good spy?”
“A good spy would hide her identity.”
“The best spies don’t have to.”
Of course, I didn’t love all the side characters, for I really didn’t care for Tariq, Shahrzad’s childhood lover. Although his persistence and loyalty to Shahrzad is nice and all, I will not stand for anyone who tries to get in between of Shazi and Khalid. And can he not take a hint?!! Really, Tariq just got on my nerves and his chapters didn’t really hold my interest much. We can’t love everyone, now can we?
“When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost. Lost forever. In this kiss. This kiss that would change everything.”
The writing style is simply so amazing, I’m having an incredibly hard time believing that this is Renee Ahdieh’s debut novel. Reading this book was fantastic, a lot of it due to the writing because it felt so whimsical, not simple but complex, without being hard to get through. Renee Ahdieh truly has a gift for being able to tell a story with such writing, the book was fast paced for a romance, and the descriptions were vivid and artfully done.
An outstanding book that I definitely recommend, The Wrath and the Dawn is making it to one of my best reads this year! Although I was considering taking off 0.5 star for some minor issues (I’m not a big fan of Tariq and the kind-of love triangle, as well as the fact that I didn’t care as much for the parts that weren’t from the perspective of Shazi or Khalid) in the end I feel they can be overlooked enough to rate this 5 stars. I truly had a great time reading this, and I loved the whole idea of it. The world-building and the descriptions were so vivid and executed so beautifully that I felt as I were transported in a whole new world, and I loved that. The characters were all amazing (with the exception of Tariq, of course) and I absolutely loved the two main characters. Shahrzad was a witty and smart protagonist whose POV I loved, and Khalid was a layered, swoonworthy character who
I wish could be mine went through great development and whom I also loved. The writing style is beautiful; lyrical and hardly simple, but still easy to read. Everything flowed wonderfully, and there were so many passages that I just loved to read and quote. I simply loved it! All in all, if you’re looking for a unique retelling with a fast paced romance-based plot, amazing characters and beautiful writing, this book is the one for you!
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Agree with me? Disagree? And if you haven’t, do you plan to? Let me know in the comments below!
You’ll want to gobble this up, I assure you! It’s quite the tasty meal.