BOOK REVIEW | THE WRATH AND THE DAWN BY RENÉE AHDIEH

June 15, 2016


Synopsis
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 NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end. - Goodreads



Spoiler Free Section
WOW. The Wrath and the Dawn was not what I expected it to be. It took me a while to adapt to the new setting and vocabulary, but once I was settled in, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the story. The plot intrigued me immensely and the characters were so enjoyable to read (well, some of them). With that being said, I did have a few problems with it.

I loved the main character, Shahrzad. She was witty, confident, and overall, one of my favorite female protagonist to read. Khalid was so hard to dislike. I knew of his monstrous ways, but when I found out why, I couldn’t help but feel for him. Shahrzad and Khalid together made the romantic side of me melt. Watching Despina and Shahrzad’s relationship develop was super fun and was one of my favorite parts to read. From the minute they met and the first words were exchanged between the two, I knew they would grow to like each other. Jalal gave the book a light-hearted touch with his constant banter and jokes, especially the ones made towards Khalid. I didn’t really care for any of the other characters. Tariq was irritating. Rahim was kind of funny; he reminded a little of Jalal. I sure as hell did not know what Jahandar was doing nor did I care. I just loved the palace and everyone in it. Oops.

I was surprised when I learned that this novel was fantasy. Although magical elements were mentioned in the book, I found them to be inconsistent throughout the novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t love it, but there is something unique and different about it that keeps me intrigued. I can’t wait to read the sequel!

RATING: 4/5 STARS


Spoiler Section
Who else was not expecting the reason behind why Khalid kills his wives at dawn? I originally thought he was doing it on his own will, but as the story progressed, I did start believing that there might be a secondary factor in the situation. The events that took place between him and Ava, from the miscarriage to her suicide, made any resentment I had for Khalid start to crumple. Then we find out that he’s under a curse causing him to execute his wives?! He has the guilt of Ava on his shoulders and this curse to deal with. This guy cannot catch a break. But that alone wasn’t what made me feel sympathy for him; it was the letters. The letters he wrote to the families of the girls he executed. The fact that he knew who they were, what they did, almost brought tears to my eyes. And of course he doesn’t mail them because he believes that nothing can, even an apology, can disregard what he did. Is it weird that I just want to jump in the story and give him a big hug? Oh, let me not forget to mention that he watched his father slit his mother’s throat as a young boy.

But enough about Khalid, let’s talk about Shahrzad. I absolutely loved her character. I loved her sarcastic comments and remarks. I loved the tension between her and Khalid. I loved the stories she would tell the Caliph and how she used them to keep her alive those first couple of nights. I do agree that she let the Khalid cloud her judgement too early and missed many opportunities to kill him, but I am not complaining because I love the two together. It was not the words they exchanged that got to me most of the time, but instead the way they looked at each other. It was as if they knew everything, yet nothing about the other.

Was I the only one waiting for Jalal to find out that Despina was pregnant and then watch them fall in love? I picture Khalid and Shahrzad and Despina and Jalal living happily together in the palace. That is possible, right?

Oh, let me not forget about the other characters. I didn’t really care for anything happening outside the palace. Whatever was happening with Jahandar and his magic book was interesting, but it was weird and hard to understand. Like I said before, Tariq was annoying as hell. He’s like that fly that doesn’t know when to buzz off. 

That cliffhanger though. Now that Khalid and Shahrzad are separated and Shahrzad is with Tariq and more than likely her creepy father, anything can happen. I just hope that her love for Khalid doesn’t fade. I also hope that the magical elements introduced in this book are incorporated better in the sequel.

RATING: 4/5 STARS


Favorite Quotes (only a few because honestly, the entire book is filled with great quotes)
“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.” 

“My soul sees its equal in you.” 

“Shazi, 

I prefer the color blue to any other. The scent of lilacs in your hair is a source of constant torment. I despise figs. Lastly, I will never forget, all the days of my life, the memories of last night—
For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.

Khalid.” 

“Shahrzad, 

I've failed you several times. But there was one moment I failed you beyond measure. It was the day we met. The moment I took your hand and you looked at me, with the glory of hate in your eyes. I should have sent you home to your family. But I didn't. There was honesty in your hatred. Fearlessness in your pain.In your honesty, I saw a reflection of myself.Or rather, of the man I longed to be. So I failed you. I didn't stay away. Then later, I thought if I had answers, it would be enough. I would no longer care. You would not matter. So I continued failing you. Continued wanting more. And now I can't find the words to say what must be said. To convey to you the least of what I owe. When I think of you, I can't find the air to breathe. And now, though you are gone, there is no pain or fear. All I am left with is gratitude.
When I was a boy, my mother would tell me that one of the best things in life is the knowledge that your story isn't over yet. Our story may have come to a close, but your story is still yet to be told. Make it a story worthy of you. 
I failed you in one last thing. Here is my chance to rectify it. It was never because I didn't feel it. It was because I swore I would never say it, and a man is nothing if he can't keep his promises. 
So I write it in the sky-
I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it. 
Khalid” 

What are your thoughts on The Wrath and the Dawn?


Thank you for reading!
xo, kathlyn

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