I stayed up late reading this book, unwilling to put it down, only to make it to the end and just stare blankly at the screen. Why? Because I wanted more. This book was beautiful and absolutely fantastic!
Khalid, the "boy-king" and ruler of the land, has taken and killed a wife every dawn. When Shahrzad's best friend becomes a victim, she volunteers to become the next wife with the intent of killing the boy king. Shazi has to use her smarts to survive the dawns, but each time she holds back from killing him. Despite what has happened to the other girls, Shazi is growing closer to the boy king, and him to her. The thing that holds her back is that he's keeping a dark, secret. Why is he killing the girls?
I have never read the book that this is a loose retelling of, but I am familiar with it. Still, I was able to fully enjoy this book. I admit, it took a little while. At first, I had trouble because this book changes who it is following every chapter or so. Sometimes it's Shazi, sometimes it's Khalid, Shazi's family, Tariq, etc. I was getting confused and it was a bit slow-pacing for a bit, but then I FOUND THE MOST AMAZING BOOK!
One thing that really stands out is the world-building. The entire world was crafted so brilliantly and so well-detailed, that I felt like I was actually within the pages.
As for characters, Shari is a fantastic MC! She's smart, snarky, and many people in the book described her as fiery (maybe not very nicely). But what more could you ask for in a character? This character knows how to play this game and get what she wants. Even with her strength, she isn't a completely badass girl with no weaknesses. She's' a very complex character and, if I must say, all of the characters in this book are so well-developed. Really, Ahdieh is such an amazing writer!
Lastly, the romance. I ship it hard. I was kind of iffy for a bit, since Khalid definitely has the bad boy thing, but I absolutely adore hate-to-love romances. And I need to stop now before I begin fangirling (more than I have already).
Though, there is a bit of a love triangle-esque thing with Tariq, who was Shari's boyfriend before. I really hope that this doesn't come into play in the next book.
Overall, this book is my favorite book so far this year! I loved everything about it and I'm sorry if I was vague, but I'm having such a hard time formatting my thoughts that actually make any sense! If you enjoy well-crafted fantasies with a brilliant storyline, brilliant characters, and all of the twists, so do yourself a favor and pick this up. Heck, if you're a fan of amazing books, pick this book up.