Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Also in this series: The Rose and the Dagger
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2015
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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.
I picked this book up on a whim. I had seen the cover around the blogosphere, but I didn’t even read the synopsis. I’m sort of a judge a book by it’s cover kind of girl, so if the cover is pretty, I don’t feel the need to really know a lot about the book to read it.
The Wrath and the Dawn was beautiful. It’s really mostly a romance, and I loved it. It’s a take on 1001 Nights, with Shahrzad (nicknamed Shazi, thank goodness) volunteering to become the bride of a ruler who takes a new bride every day, only to murder them the next morning. Shazi volunteers so that she can exact revenge on Khalid, the ruler, for her friend that was a murdered bride. What Shazi and everyone outside the palace doesn’t understand is that Khalid isn’t murdering his brides because he’s a monster. He’s doing it to save his kingdom.
So obviously, not to be killed, Shazi has to bewitch Khalid; not in the magical sense, but she tells him a story that he wants to know the end of, but she refuses to finish until the next night. This goes on until they form an interesting relationship. Shazi, though telling herself she is only there for revenge, begins to develop feelings for Khalid, and he for her.
I was worried at the beginning that I wouldn’t be too interested in the stories Shazi tells, but Renee Ahdieh writes them in a way that keeps the reader as interested as Khalid. Especially once Shazi tells stories that are somewhat parallel to their situation. I loved watching Khalid fall in love with Shazi, and the climactic scene was PERFECT. It was absolutely how I wanted to happen, and I didn’t even know it until we got there.
There are some truly likable secondary characters, including Shazi’s maid and the captain of the Guard. Both are jovial and witty, bringing some comedic relief and levity to Shazi and Khalid’s seriousness. There’s a secondary plot-line that included a love triangle (that was doomed from the start, thank goodness) that wasn’t quite as interesting to me, but became very important by the end, with one of Shazi’s friends stirring up rebellion against Khalid since he doesn’t understand what’s truly going on at the palace.
I hated the ending. Only because it was a cliffhanger. Mostly. And now I need the next book. Like, yesterday, would be nice.