The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Rating: five out of five stars
Published: May 12, 2015
Summary from Goodreads: 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.
The Wrath and the Dawn is a beautiful book. I had been putting off reading it for so long because I knew there was a love triangle, but don’t let that get in the way of wanting to read this. It’s one of my new favorites.
So, The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. I don’t know much about the original story to be honest, I just know bits and pieces from all the retellings I’ve read and their similarities. I can’t really compare this to the original when I know basically nothing about it though.
Our main character is Shahrzad, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. I can’t tell you how much I like characters that can actually stand up for themselves rather than let everyone else do it for them. When Shahrzad’s, or Shazi, best friend is married to and killed by Khalid, the young Caliph of Khorasan, Shazi swears vengeance. She volunteers herself to marry Khalid, knowing she will most likely be dead the next morning, in hopes of killing him to get back for killing her friend. Shazi ends up surviving the first night, and more and more, when she begins to tell Khalid stories that would keep him up until dawn. She’s also determined to figure out why Khalid’s brides always end up dead the next day.
Khalid had to answer for such vile deeds. Such rampant death.
Even if he was her air.
Even if she loved him beyond air.
Despite being in love with him, Shazi is determined to figure out why her best friend had to die. I just love that, and though we don’t get to see the friendship, I love strong friendships in books where they will do anything for each other.
Then there’s Khalid, the eighteen year old Caliph. Every day he marries a new girl, and every morning she is found with a silk cord tied around her neck. No one knows why this happens, at least for a select few. And then, he ends up falling in love with Shazi (I love them so much together!). He had a pretty rough childhood too, and I seriously felt so bad for him when he revealed what happened.
I also loved Despina, Shazi’s maid, who wasn’t a main character, but played a pretty big role in this book. I just loved seeing her and Shazi’s friendship develop. At first I didn’t trust her, but then we learn more about her, and now she’s my favorite. Jalal is another one of the supporting characters, he’s Khalid’s cousin and he’s basically the next to be in command of the guard. At first, I didn’t like him much either, but now I really love his character. You can tell that he puts so much work into his job, and is willing to protect Khalid and Shazi no matter what.
Oh, and I almost forgot Tariq. He’s the other love interest, but I honestly could tell right from the start their romance wouldn’t really get in the way. He spends the whole book trying to get Shazi out of the palace and believes that Khalid, like everyone else believes, is a monster. I guess him and Shazi had been in love for four years, but all that went out the window when she started falling for Khalid. I seriously hated Tariq, he wouldn’t listen to Shazi and just couldn’t fathom that she was happy with Khalid.
“You have a beautiful laugh. Like the promise of tomorrow.”He said it gently, with the poise of an afterthought.
And Shahrzad’s heart hurtled about in response, roaring for attention.
Shiva, I swear to you, I will ignore the fickle little beast.
The romance in this book was wonderful. I ship Khalid and Shazi so so much. The love triangle wasn’t bad either, like I expected it to be. Once Shazi starts falling for Khalid, Tariq is completely out of the picture. For some reason I was kind of expecting it to somewhat be like America, Maxon, and Aspen from the selection (just how Aspen and America are always sneaking around) but it wasn’t at all. Shazi was happy with Khalid, and basically wanted nothing to do with Tariq anymore.
Another thing I absolutely loved was the writing. I have a hard time with books told in third person that have super descriptive and flowery writing, but this one did it really well. I’m in love with Renee Ahdieh’s writing style and this is the only book I’ve read by her. Along with that, the world building was also really nicely done. I definitely would have liked more, especially more information on the magic because it felt like it was just kind of thrown in there, so I’m hoping we get it in the next book.
Not a whole ton happened in this book either. It was mainly romance, which I am completely fine with. We had a little bit of action here and there, but not much. A lot of the book was spent building the romance between Khalid and Shazi. We occasionally got other POVs from Tariq and Shazi’s father, but I found myself just kind of skimming through those. I could’ve cared less what happened to them, I just wanted to see Shazi, Khalid, Despina, and Jalal. Seriously, I love those four so much.
Overall, The Wrath and the Dawn was a beautiful book. The writing style, romance, and characters were all wonderful. Though there were a few things I wasn’t a huge fan of, I would rate this book 100 stars if I could. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!