TITLE: The Wrath & the Dawn
AUTHOR: Renée Ahdieh
SERIES: The Wrath & the Dawn #1
PUBLICATION: May 12, 2016
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
FORMAT: Trade Paperback
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.
To be honest, before I started this book, I’ve been in a mild reading slump and it caused me to read slower than I used to, and I found it hard to enjoy the stories I’ve been reading. (Just why do they even exist?) But this book just swooped me out of the tunnel I was in which was the slump, and gave me the motivation to start reading and enjoying books again.
First of all, let me talk about how beautiful the writing style of this book is. It, as a factor of the story was enough to enchant the reader into continuing to read the story. The words written were, I felt, so carefully handpicked and then weaved with other words that makes them into sentences, and then into the story that is so rich, vibrant, and colorful. Renée has a beautiful way with words, and you’ll just find yourself immensely engrossed by the book you hold in your hands. Reading The Wrath and the Dawn, was just so immersive, that mere words on a page will never fail to make you imagine what Khalid’s palace looks like, as well as what every experience the characters had felt like. The writing style used in this book is enough for me to deem this book worthy to be recommended to you.
“I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.”
The whole concept of the story, namely it being a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, incorporated with Persian culture was not at all a hindrance on how the story was told. All my life I’ve been intrigued by that folk tale, and seeing it being told through Renée’s words was a wonderful experience. The Persian culture incorporated all the more captured my interest, and it felt sort of like a lesson as well about a culture not really talked about in popular literature today. Renée gave a wonderful twist to the beautiful tale and made it YA, all the more promoting the tale to the youth of today. This book took me out of my comfort zone, and taught me a smidgen of another culture apart from Western culture as well.
“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.”
The characters of the story are all unique and interesting in their own ways, and Shahrzad as one of the main characters of the story was, in a word, remarkable. Shazi is just so brave and fierce and clever, and you’ll never tire from reading about her in her points of view. She’s a badass calipha, and her character development in the novel is a sight to behold. She does everything she can to discover the reason behind all the previous queens’ deaths, and wonderfully develops her relationship with Khalid while she does so. Khalid, on the other hand, is very intriguing. He doesn’t talk much, but he’s deadly when called for. He might not show much emotion outright, but his way with words was just so beautiful that you’d think otherwise. He is very expressive about his feelings to Shazi when his guard is down, and he definitely isn’t the monster you’d think he is. Tariq, as the other main character in the story, was kind of annoying. When the story shifts to his point of view, I find him boring and I just want to get back to the palace already. I know that’s bad, but I just always want to see Khalid and Shazi’s relationship and I don’t want him ruining it. And some other characters namely, Jalal, was I think necessary to provide a bit of comic relief for the story, as well as someone who “pushes” Khalid for his feelings for Shazi, and Despina, who became Shazi’s best friend of some sort, also provided some of the lighter parts of the novel.
“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”
And as for the plot of the story, which is just marvelous and mysterious and glorious, what I loved most were the stories told by Shazi within the story. It was that they were told for a purpose, and they were related to their current status, not told just for the sake of being told. These stories propelled the main plot forward, all the more adding to the angst between the two main characters. Other than that, there is a beautiful, beautiful build-up before we discover the reason why Khalid’s wives were needed to be killed. The mystery was constantly there, as well as the intrigue, that it felt a thousand emotions were surfacing when it was time for the big reveal. It was that you wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the information you slowly discover, and that is another of the thousand reasons why I love this book.
“You are not weak. You are not indecisive. You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure.”
Overall, The Wrath and the Dawn proved to be an enthralling read, that it wouldn’t just feel right to let go of it once you start reading. The writing itself is beautiful, that when the characters and the plot were put into the mix, you’d just discover a splendid piece of literature you could hold in your hands. I recommend this book to those who love cultural , fantasy, political, and young adult reads. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS.
“You have a beautiful laugh. Like the promise of tomorrow.”
5 out of 5 stars!
Renée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog. She is the author of The Wrath and the Dawn.