Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Series: #1 in the Wrath and the Dawn series
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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?
You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?
I’ve been meaning to read this book since it came out; there has been so much hype surrounding this series and having now read it I can say it totally lives up to it. I was originally planning to pick up a contemporary, for a bit of variety, but I just wasn’t feeling it. So I picked up the first fantasy book that caught my eye at the library.
I was not disappointed.
I think my favorite thing about this book is the atmosphere it has; it’s almost luxurious to read, filled with vibrant characters and a rich writing style. It’s truly transporting; when you read this book, you feel as though you are in a whole other world. That’s the kind of magic I read for.
If you’re on the fence about reading this book, I’d say try out the first few chapters. It doesn’t take long for you to get sucked in. Trust me, this book is addictive; a few chapters is all it takes.
That’s it for my non-spoiler thoughts, so if you haven’t read the book, please don’t read further than this if you wish not to be spoiled 🙂
Speaking of characters, I suppose I’ll talk about Shahrzad, whom I have mixed feelings about. She’s a truly strong female lead; brave, witty, cunning. Some great qualities, and I related to her quick intelligence. Did I agree with her all the time? No. Especially at the end, she made a few decisions that made me want to scream. But what character doesn’t? And I really liked her arc; through her story, Ahdieh clearly shows Shazi’s thought process shift, and when her loyalties start to change.
As for other characters, let’s go down the list. I loved Kalid. Normally I am not one for the bad-boy trope; it makes me cringe. But I think that Kalid’s character was done well; he wasn’t bad for the sake of being bad, and he didn’t really have the other traits that I see a lot in other ‘bad boys’ (like being unnecessarily rude, arrogant, and whining that their life is so hard and the world should pity them…). His character left enough mystery throughout the book to keep me curious, and by the end his arc leaves him truly changed as a person, beyond the act of falling in love.
Jalal and Despina, our two main side characters, were great. I’m not a huge fan of Despina, not sure why, but when we learned about her backstory I began to understand her a bit better. I like that Ahdieh made each character more complex than one would initially think at the beginning of the book. And Jalal…goodness, did we need his humor to lighten the book. He’s one of those characters that walk onto the page and immediately I like, because he made me laugh in almost every scene he was in. In fact, I really like the theme that pops up in the book – that people are not always as they seem. Everyone has secrets, and the closer you are to someone, the more complex they seem.
And then there’s Rahim and Tariq…Guys, please forgive me but I really don’t like Tariq. I don’t know if he’s a character that a lot of people like, cause I’ve stayed away from reviews and stuff to avoid spoilers, but I have a feeling there’s someone out there who’s team Tariq. I feel like I don’t know Rahim enough, because we don’t really get to see him, but Tariq is just…He makes me sigh inwardly in frustration. I don’t like his attitude; he just assumes he knows everything, and is so arrogant! Especially in the last few chapters, when he just assumes that Shazi has to be delusional because obviously she’s still in love with him and even though he doesn’t know Kalid obviously he knows what’s best for Shazi…I’m sorry. No. I understand that Shazi loved you, but she’s clearly made up her mind who she want to be with now!
Anyway, I digress.
There’s one last thing that I want to point out about this book that I liked: the moral lesson interwoven that I think should have had more of a presence. The fact that forgiveness is better than revenge. Shahrzad learns that revenge is what caused the curse in the first place, and it is also the reason she was intent on marrying and killing Kalid. But revenge isn’t a good thing to live by; if you fought for revenge to right every time you’ve been wronged, you’d be left with a pretty broken world, and a pretty broken you. Not to mention what Sharhzad mentions near the end; that killing Kalid won’t bring back her best friend. In fact, it wouldn’t solve anything. It’s better to move on with life, and have that inner piece, than to run after vengeance.
So those where (most of) my thoughts on the Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. I don’t think I’m going to pick up the sequel right away, because I have other books I want to read right now, but if I do read it I’ll definitely review that one too.
So what about you guys? Did you read this book when it came out (and not jump on the band wagon late, like me)? Did you despise Tariq as much as I did? Did any of you read the sequel, and if so is it good?
And as always, have a lovely day and I’ll see you again soon! 🙂