Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Penguin on May 12th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Ancient Civilizations, General, Historical, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, Retelling, Young Adult
Amazon // The Book Depository
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.
this book is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.
i’m going to try to make this a fair review and not just full-on-fangirl, but no promises!
before i began, i only knew the story was a retelling of a thousand and one nights. i wasn’t too familiar with the original myth/story, but got the main gist of things. i advise looking up “one thousand and one nights” and reading a little what that’s about before beginning this one. there are lots of references that are so much cooler if you knew the story it was based off of. (i googled it in between chapters when i was confused.)
“It would not be a welcome dawn.”
– page 1, first sentence
where do i even begin? the writing was so beautiful and fast paced. i was easily lost into the world and could see, hear, and feel everything. the tale was gorgeously spun together and there were dozens of times i physically stopped to admire a paragraph or sentence. the way renée ahdieh executed this magical tale was perfectly fitting for the setting and era. i love it i love it i LOVE IT. even though it was told in third-person, i was easily connected to all the characters and relationships. i flew by the novel in a day because i was entirely caught in rapture.
“You cannot control the actions of others. You can only control what you do with yourself afterward.”
– pg. 137
at first, i found it a little difficult to get into. give it 25 pages, and you’ll be fine. there’s no introduction to the characters; you’re kind of just thrown into it and i was lost for a bit. especially since the names are extremely unique, i found it hard to differentiate characters from each other. there are also references and words to the arabian culture, such as what they eat, how they dress, etc, and at first i wasn’t sure what they meant, but it gets much better after a few chapters. (however if you’re really confused, there’s a glossary at the back of the book explaining it all.) once you become familiar with the setting, everything is smooth.
the characters are extremely complex and entirely their own. shahrzad had a mix of celaena sardothien‘s fearlessness and june iparis‘s quick wit. shahrzad was fiercely independent and cared for those she loved. she was also super sassy and i loved her. her mind was entirely awake and we could clearly see shahrzad was wholeheartedly honest with everything she did – even when she was deceiving others. her sharp mouth and quick retorts made the entire book much more lively and enjoyable.
“It must be a special book.”
“All books are special, dear.”
– pg. 28
there was kind of a love triangle in this book? but it was more like, these two are bound to be together and there’s a guy still pinning for her. (he needs to GO AWAY.) the relationships were between characters are so cute and lovely, and everything truly grows on you. everything was so natural and gahhhh I LOVE IT SO MUCH~
overall, this book was absolutely wonderful. the plotline was really interesting and had me hooked. the writing was engaging and exquisite. the characters and relationships and pacing and EVERYTHING… it was beautiful and wonderful and so good. thank you, renée ahdieh, for creating this amazing masterpiece. i will treasure this story forever and cannot wait for the next installment. please go read it! <33
spoiler-filled discussion beginning! please do not read it unless you’ve finished the book!!
khalid reminded me so much of warner. you knooooow, the boy-king with a sad, shattered past? the one you just want to hug? the one with the stoic appearance but super emotional insides? yeah, him. khalid was definitely more guarded and mysterious, but it made me like him even more. he was one of my favorite characters. he talks about how he’s regretful and remorseful of his actions, and how he won’t ever forgive himself and i’m just like:
khalid!! it’s not your fault!!! *hugs* also that excerpt at the end of the novel from the rose and the dagger? KHALIDDDDDDD. also this really sad quote made me want to hug him.
“it’s a fitting punishment for a monster. to want something so much – to hold it in you arms – and know beyond a doubt you will never deserve it.”
i also recently finished watching my love from another star, and i couldn’t help but think of khalid similar to the main male character. if you watched this drama… you understand my thoughts!!! (unless you didn’t like the drama, then that might be different)
moving on… i really really really did not like tariq. ever since the start, i found him extremely annoying. he’s going on and on about how he needs to save shahrzad, but have you ever considered that SHE DOESN’T NEED SAVING?! i understand that his cousin had died in khalid’s hands, and shahrzad is the love of his life, but she hasn’t died yet!! it’s been over two days/weeks/months and she’s still alive! if khalid really wanted to kill her, he would’ve after one night. trying to “rescue” her and kidnap her from the palace is the most irrational and reckless idea ever. THEN, he comes to palace for that invitational thing and is so brainless in his actions! WHY WHY WHY?
what annoyed me most was when he sees shahrzad at peace in khalid’s arms, and becomes convinced that she’s brainwashed or something. yes, i see things from his perspective, but he didn’t even consider shahrzad’s feelings and thoughts. in the end, he comes barging in, trying to “save” her YET AGAIN and forces her to leave ASDFKAHSULDF. if you’d just STAYED OUT OF IT, there wouldn’t have been such a big problem. shahrzad wouldn’t be hiding in some unknown place and khalid wouldn’t be burning love letters to her. i’m so frustrated.
don’t get me wrong; i’m frustrated because i love this book. i love it so much that i’ll have these strong emotions towards it.
despina and jalal were unexpected, and yet SO ADORABLE~~ they only have one scene where they kiiiiinda interact together and it’s the cutest thing even though they do nothing. their characters contrast and fit each other so well. i also love the relationship between despina and shahrzad. from the moment she said she was a “spy,” i knew they were going to be best buds. the relationships between everyone were just <3333
also, what is the magic fire-thing that khalid needs to survive? it’s clear shahrzad has that power as well, but she has no idea how to use it or anything. i really hope in the next novel, she’ll learn her powers (from musa, possibly?). shahrzad’s dad also seems to have the power. (is HE the one responsible for the lightning storm???) there are so many questions! i don’t know what to expect, but i need the next book now.
i’m probably going to create wallpapers and such because the quotes in this book were so good and i need to express my feelings. this ‘discussion’ portion of the review has been a mess, and i apologize… my thoughts are currently incoherent and writing this review has been a struggle.
what are your thoughts on the book? let me know in the comments!