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.
The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)FeaturedHot
As with these stories there are constant questions such as: Why does he kill his wives? Is he really a monster? And as always things are a lot more complicated then they seem. Soon Shazi realizes that she truly knows nothing about Khalid and he’s not the monster he’s been made out to be, so what exactly is he hiding and why do his wives have to die?
The plot is slow to reveal itself and Khalid's secret but it will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The Wrath and the Dawn is a gorgeous fantasy that will take you to a stunning world with a rich culture of food, music and twisting tales of Aladdin. I highly recommend this book to everyone and I can’t wait for Book 2: The Rose and the Dagger as it promises a lot more magic!
But in this version, there is magic. The lines between stories, the supernatural, magic, and curses are blurred. It is all real, and the author slowly makes its presence known. The world building of this book is absolutely gorgeous from the clothes the characters wear to the sword the Caliph carries, and I love what a fresh change this book is from the usual novels with magical princesses and Victorian romances. There will never be enough Historical Fiction novels that is set outside of Europe or the Americas.
Curious and absolutely wonderful, Shahrzad (Scheherazade, in this version) is a determined girl who is definitely filled with hate for the greatly loathed Caliph (the sultan, in this version). Shazi, which is her nickname, manages to put her execution off for one night, igniting a new change in the cycle. Despite her wishes to see the Caliph dead and very dead, she slowly falls in love with him to her horror.
The Caliph is shrouded in mystery, and when he starts opening up, the boy-king reveals so much about himself. Without setting off spoiler alarms, I must say that the Caliph is a puzzling character who is a good leader but also has to atone for his actions. Whether or not he is a good man at heart, his actions and orders must be watched carefully and looked over.
The story is very, very suspenseful. Shahrzad is always one step away from death, and she has a brilliant mind. She plays the intrigue of court politics well, always making subtle jabs. Told from multiple perspectives, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN may have strange transitions between POVs, but it makes it up in strong moments of emotions, romance, dialogue, and magic. The ending is one of the most shocking parts of the book, and few would know what Renee Ahdieh would bring next.
Overall, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is an exciting first installment in a duology. It has so much potential for a dark and thrilling tale set in a faraway land with magic.
Rating: Four out of Five
This is a story filled with action, adventure, and an epic romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat, while swooning all the while.
“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.”
It’s all comes down to the writing. Renée Ahdieh’s writing made me feel like I was living this story along with it’s characters; this book had a very opulent feel, with captivating imagery.
The Wrath and the Dawn was a tantalizing amuse-bouche for my reading palette. And I am very eager for more.
Can I please have more?
“You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?”
But I ask this author: ‘You honestly expect me to breath in a world without book 2?’
I need book 2!
Sharhrzad (Shazi), desperate to avenge her best friend's murder, decides to volunteer as tribute to be the next wife of the Caliph of Khorasan, Khalid. He's known as a ruthless ruler, who kills all his wives at dawn the day after he weds. Why is a mystery to everyone including Shazi, who really doesn't care either way, and I don't blame her. Of course, as the reader can surmise from the synopsis, there's something more going on than meets the eye. As Shazi gets to know Khalid, she learns he's not what she thought he'd be and is conflicted that she finds it increasingly difficult to hate him, and more importantly, to kill him. And while that is all going on, we have Tariq, who, for all intents and purposes, was Shazi's boyfriend/betrothed before she took on the suicidal task of killing the Caliph. He struggles with his own feelings of Shazi's impending death (really, no one expected her to live to see the day after her wedding night) and is determined to rescue her at all costs. Little does he know, Shazi falls in love with Khalid and things get a little... messy.
Told in a 3rd person point-of-view, The Wrath and the Dawn seeks to cover a lot of story, which it both succeeds and fails at. I'm not usually a fan of 3rd person because it makes me feel detached from the characters and their feelings, but in this case, it worked out well for me. The reader is able to get a good feel on all the characters' intentions and struggles, and that's a feat consider how many characters are introduced over the course of this novel.
The downside to this is that I wasn't able to fully connect with any characters on an emotional level, let alone the romance, because it simply didn't get much page time. For that reason, I would have preferred for this book to have been longer OR less page time for the supporting cast for at least the first half so that I could see Sahzi and Khalid's interactions more. I didn't have enough build up to have the emotional response lines like these should have set off:
“My soul sees its equal in you.”
“Love is—a shade of what I feel.”
Believe me when I say these were beautiful scenes, but I didn't swoon, and that makes me rather sad. Currently, the romance is getting huge praise from other reviewers, so your milage may vary, but, I felt it lacked a certain spark.
The writing itself is very lovely and flows in a magical fashion befitting the setting of the novel. Ahdieh's set the perfect tone with her descriptions and the dialogue was both thought provoking and witty a good portion of the time. Some of my favorite lines came from Despina, Shazi's handmaiden:
“We women are a sad lot, aren't we?"
"What do you mean?"
"Strong enough to take on the world with our bare hands, yet we permit ridiculous boys to make fools of us."
"I am not a fool."
"No, you're not. Not yet.”
This is probably why 3rd person worked so well in The Wrath and the Dawn. The characters and their interactions always felt genuine and personable and not flat like cardboard. They weren't always likable, especially Khalid with his tug-a-war like personality, but he was consistently complex. I would guess that my feelings toward him mirrored Shazi's frustration at his lack of trust. He spends much of his time trying to atone for what he's done, but can't bring himself to fully trust her with his secret and the reason behind the deaths of his previous wives.
Yet, while beautiful and lush in its own right, The Wrath and the Dawn is not without its faults. You do have your obligatory mentions of the love interest's eyes and how the female main character seems to be the only one to ever truly bring the love interest out of his broken shell. The former is what bothered me the most throughout the novel simply because I couldn't really see what it was about Shazi that he was drawn to. Was it her snarky bluntness? Her beauty? The fact that he didn't understand why she volunteered to be his wife, knowing what her fate would be? I have no idea. I was also a bit surprised (and disappointed?) that Shazi's only plan to survive the dawn was to tell the Caliph a story and deliberately end it on a cliffhanger as the sun rose to generate anticipation from Khalid. Well, okay. It certainly gives new meaning to stories having power, that's for sure.
Then there were times when Shazi felt deliberately obtuse when it came to Khalid and his secrets. When there were multiple attempts on her life and Khalid himself jumps to save her and reprimand those who tried to do her bodily harm, she still continues to blame him for the attempts. That seemed odd and out of character for Shazi since she is written as very observant and sharp. To her credit, she does start to question happenings shortly after, but this misstep felt too contrived and forced.
The final 30% is where this novel truly shined for me since all chips are laid out on the table and characters' true intentions are revealed. I admit to being pleasantly surprised and saddened by one in particular. The stakes will definitely be higher in the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger and I look forward to seeing things get complicated. Also, I'm really hoping for a magic carpet ride.
All in all, The Wrath and the Dawn is a strong start to a promising new series. The pros in the novel far outweigh the small cons, which could admittedly be attributed to my cynical mind and lack of a functioning heart. Don't let that stop you from picking this up.
An amazing debut novel by author Renee Ahdieh. Filled with mesmerizing characters and a unique look at a different culture. An unpredictable and stunning plot with suspense and secrets at every turn is what made me enjoy this book. With intricate details from the beautiful clothing to the delicious food, this book will make readers feel like they are truly there and eager to read the sequel!
What drew me most to this duology was its inspiration: based upon the epic 1,001 Arabian Nights, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran volunteers to marry the murderous Caliph of Khorasan, Khalid, who marries a different woman each day, only to kill her the following dawn.
I love re-tellings and with a premise such as this, how could I resist? I love tales of romance where the intended are so doomed it seems like there is no chance in hell they could ever be together, but the author somehow makes it work. What’s even better with this series is that Khalid and Shahrzad’s growing romance is realistic.
Shazi was a great character: she volunteers to marry Khalid after her best friend was one of his victims, but only for the sole purpose of killing him. She manages to extend her life by telling the Caliph a story each night, but refusing to tell him the ending until the following night. Slowly, she begins to gain his trust, and, eventually his love, until he promises her he will not add her to his list of murdered wives.
Khalid was a tortured character who was struggling to live with the weight of his actions on his shoulders. His pain was genuine and his love for Shazi was boundless. I love the fact that he refuses to say ‘I love you;’ rather, he would show his love through actions, not words.
The slow romance was the real winner of this book. It took a long time for Shazi to lower her defences and not want to strangle him every time she saw him. Definitely a slow burn here. What was difficult to wrap my head around was her continual remarks about how much she hated him, and then minutes later she’s almost swooning in her arms.
I think I might have appreciated their romance a little more if she had started to develop feelings for him after he revealed his big secret; however, that was close to the ending of the novel, so it’s understandable, from a writing perspective, why Ahdieh did not do that.
The secondary characters were wonderful as well. Despina was fantastic with her attitude and Jalal made me laugh constantly. I liked Tariq at the beginning and even felt sorry for him when Shazi continually dismissed him, even though she did, at one point, love him. This is something I do not like in YA fiction. When the female protagonist falls for another guy, her first love is left floundering in the wind and she ignores him so quickly, when not too long ago, they were head over heels in love. But …. Tariq did start to remind me a little of Tamlin in A Court of Mist and Fury, so I don’t mind that he got no loving anymore.
I will mention two quick nit-picks – the magic of this world was a little confusing and not well explained. I honestly had no idea this was a fantasy world – I mean, real, ancient countries such as Assyria exist at the same time, so I just assumed this was our world. It wasn’t until Khalid’s mother’s tutor arrived did I realise magic existed. And all of a sudden, Shazi had magic too. The book definitely would have benefitted if that had been further explored.
The second nit-pick is that the book doesn’t really explain the circumstances before the main plot begins, as in Khalid’s dead wives. At least, not until later in the book. I feel like the book was establishing its plot based on the reader’s knowledge of 1,001 Arabian Nights, when it should have been explained in the first few chapters. Too me, the descriptions of Khalid’s crimes were very subtle, scarcely there. We know that Shazi’s friend died by his order, but it is not fully explained until later.
Aside from that, the book was wonderful. Ahdieh has a wonderful way with words. Her descriptions are so vivid I was able to recall everything in front of my eyes as I read it. Her writing style is fluid, alive, and almost poetic. This book captivated me and I devoured it in one sitting.
"What do you mean?"
"Strong enough to take on the world with our bare hands, yet we permit ridiculous boys to make fools of us."
I picked up this book one night that I was feeling blue and I couldn't sleep. Needless to say, the setting and the characters and the overall atmosphere got me hooked from page one! (or, in my case, since I read it on my Kindle, since 1%!)
I did like this story, I do believe it had problematic points that better reviewers have pointed out in their reviews. What I feel like saying though is that I didn't feel the romance. Don't get me wrong, everytime that Shahrzad and Khalid were together I fangirled like an idiot but in the end their relationship revolved around lust, not romantic love. I couldn't love a man who's the reason for so much pain waaay before knowing his reasons! (still, I haven't forgiven him, not even after his explanation.)
Another thing is that I feel like when you hide many secrets in a book and then reveal only one of them it makes me feel like I haven't understood anything about the plot. I just don't know what happened and don't know what all the characters went through. Of course writers are entitled to hide secrets in their book to maybe reveal in a second or third instalment but as the reader I feel I should be given more chances to have a clearer vision of the story. Many plot lines were left loose or weren't given the adequate attention that was instead given to Shrazard and Khalid eye-fucking each others at every given occasion.
I loved loved loved the native words put throughout the story though! It gave the book a more vivid context and made my internal linguist squeal with delight!
My hopes for the second instalment are that the space given to the romance will be diminished in favour of some more action, magic and world building. Looking forward to it!
This was a book I was really excited to read but also really nervous because I have s a lot of hype about it, which can be dangerous in a book. Before even opening the book to the first page, I already had so many questions. The main question was: could I actually get lost in the romance that seemed like it would play a huge part in the book?
I liked Shahrzad. She was very cunning and brave and she could be very sassy, which I loved, but she was also naive. She excelled in storytelling and in challenging Khalid, both qualities that were important in keeping her alive. She wasn’t one to just not do something she wanted even if it was frowned upon for the queen to do so. She was a very determined young woman and I loved her fire and her passion.
I also liked that, while Shahrzad was the main POV, there were a bunch of other characters’ POVs through the book so the reader could see what was going on with characters not attached to the palace. It worked well in setting up for future battles and showed some very interesting characters.
The romance, I wasn’t completely sold on, but I liked that I wasn’t completely sold on it. Whatever reasoning Khalid had, he was still a murderer and Shahrzad’s intentions had been to avenge her friend’s death, to stop the murders. It was impossible to forget that and, even when they were falling in love, they were both still guarded with secrets. I did get sold on the friendships. They were great. From the newness of Shahrzad and her handmaiden Despina, to older friendships like Khalid and his cousin Jalal, or Tariq and Rahim who knew Shahrzad before she became queen. I would probably read a book where those six did nothing but bicker and banter with each other because it was that entertaining.
The plot was a bit slow in this first book. There was a lot to set up and reveal so it wasn’t a quick read. It was one of those books where it felt like every small detail could be important later on so I wanted to take time and not miss anything. The action really started picking up in the last quarter where it got very hard to read slowly because I just wanted to know what was going to happen.
A great debut that has me very excited for the next book.
Do you ever find yourself wishing for a book to turn into a person so you can marry it? That’s how I feel about this book. It’s so perfect. Renée Ahdieh is a goddess, her writing style is divine. Her writing gave the right lilt to this magical tale inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. This is so good, too good for a debut.
Everything about this book is beautiful, the story, the characters, the setting, EVERYTHING. It has truly enchanted me with it’s magic. This is so amazing everyone needs to read it. Make your friend read it, make your mom read it, read it to your pet, just please. This book deserves all of the literary awards of awesomeness.
Every single element has found it’s rightful place, everything is so well-woven together. The characters and the stories behind them give life to the plot and setting beautifully. AND CAN WE JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO APPRECIATE THE MAJESTIC AND IMPOSSIBLY CUTE CALIPH AND CALIPHA OF KHORASAN?
I will die fighting and manning this ship. And the story, and the plot twists, I’M GONNA DIEEEEE. Everything about this book is making me crazy.
Is it just me or every single first book in either a series, trilogy or duology ends with a cliffhanger? That I-will-sacrifice-my-first-born-child-to-get-the-next-book kind of cliffhanger. *silently cursing every single author that has done this* That ending though! I am in desperate need of The Rose and the Dagger which doesn’t come out until next year. LIKE WHY?! WHAT HAVE I DONE TO BE PUNISHED LIKE THIS?
I totally, highly, extremely recommend this. The Wrath and the Dawn is a MUST read.
How could a boy with legions of secrets behind walls of ice and stone burn her with nothing more than his touch?
Do not live in fear, Khalid-jan, for that is not a life.
Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.
To want something so much?to hold it in your arms?and know beyond a doubt you will never deserve it.
-Everything about this book is beautiful, the story, the characters, the setting, EVERYTHING. Every single element has found it’s rightful place, everything is so well-woven together. The characters and the stories behind them give life to the plot and setting beautifully.
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.