Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 388 pages
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.
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This book was a hype-monster! Everyone and their mother had read it and loved it by the time I picked it up, so my expectations going into it were pretty high.
Perhaps it was precisely for that reason that I felt a little disappointed going into it. I found the beginning to be quite slow and I had a hard time trying to connect with the characters. To be completely honest I think I didn't get the world at first... the cultural ambience was new for me and I felt overwhelmed by it at the start; the names drove me insane because I couldn't remember them and then there were too many names and roles starting with K and J for me to actually keep track of who was who or what.
So I actually had to stop and go read something else before I started hating on the book just because I wasn't getting it. Thankfully, when I came back to it, things started to pick up and after two or three chapters I went from not caring to being unable to put the book down.
The story is about a girl named Shahrzad whose best friend, Shiva, had to marry and then was killed by the king of Khorasan. But Shiva is only one of many brides that the king has taken and killed merely a night after the wedding, so Shahrzad takes it upon herself to end this cycle of death and find out why the king is killing his wives and hopefully, find a way to make him pay for all the pained he's caused. But in order to do that, she has to volunteer as the next bride and do whatever it takes to stay alive every dawn.
I loved Shahrzad strategy for staying alive: telling the king a never ending story so he would let her live each night in order to finish it. I've never read the original A Thousand and One Nights, but I more or less know what it's about and I really enjoyed Ahdieh's take on it. At first I thought it was going to be like the center of the story as if it were a retelling, but it wasn't the case. The plot had a mind of its own and it moved forward without the help of the stories after a while.
Once I got past the initial confusion, it was quite clear for me that the characters were complex, especially Khalid and Shazi. Both of them were multidimensional and had light and shadow within them, which made it hard for me to make up my mind about them. Mot of the time I was reading, I didn't know if I actually liked them or not, or if I wanted them to fall in love and be together or if I would rather for Shazi to stick to her original plan, but in the end I was rooting for them.
The secondary characters were interesting too. I loved Jalal, with his lightheartedness and ready sarcasm at every occasion, no matter if he was talking to an inferior or to the Caliph himself. I didn't care for Tariq all that much, but I liked his friend, Rahim.
The one thing I never quite got in the story was the way magic worked. Who had the magic? Was it something you inherited? Was it something you could learn? Was its existence common knowledge or only people from certain circles knew about it? I would've liked to learn more about it since it seemed to matter a great deal to the story.
Overall, I liked it and I would like to read the next one, but it was a tough one to get into. I wish the amazingness that went down near the end could've lasted more. I felt like when I was finally coming to terms with the way of things and I thought that everything was right with the world, the whole thing just exploded on my face, and truly, the ending kind of broke my heart. I'm really hoping that in the next book we'll get back somehow, to that perfect place where we were before everything went to hell. Fingers crossed!
About the author
Renee Ahdieh lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, is available wherever books are sold. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.She's also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.