The Wrath and the Dawn
By Renee Ahdieh
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.
Me oh my. That was a scrumptious read!! Dark, romantic, beautiful, and pretty much every positive adjective out there!! Holy cow!! That was soooo good!! I don’t even know where to start!
Okay, first off, who had some difficulties pronouncing Shahrzad’s name? *raises hand* I did. Thank god, she has a nickname: Shazi. (someone please provide a phonetic aid, so I don’t look bad when I can’t even pronounce the character’s name, I’ve been pronouncing it like SH-are-zad) Shazi, I’ve never met a character like her before. Let’s list all the things of why I love Shazi. Her storytelling. Ohmygod. How?!? Those stories she tells throughout the novel were divine which definitely shows the high level of skills this author has. Next, Shazi’s crafty plan to kill Khalid by sacrificing herself in order to avenge her best friend? Loyal? Check. Brave? Check. Smart? CHECK. Am I loving her? TRIPLE CHECK! Okay, but now why would I praise this character that is certainly walking towards her death? Because the struggle with avenging her best friend and falling in love with the enemy makes things so painful and just a wonderful, captivating read. It makes Shazi relatable, likable and real. She genuinely wants to kill Khalid but she also genuinely can’t because of her growing feelings for Khalid. Oh my lord, so many brilliant things about Shazi and this novel!! Further, you can feel how Shazi is an emotional mess yet understand right away how strong of a women she is. She wholeheartedly believes she is walking to her death but she is prepared with her storytelling and awesome bow and arrow skills?! She’s ready to win. (But like I was an emotional mess alongside her as well, and that made it even more emotional for me!!)
“Wife.” he nodded.
I will live to see tomorrow’s sunset. Make no mistake. I swear I will live to see as many sunsets as it takes. And I will kill you. With my own hands.
NOW, THE CURSE. OH KHALID. You just want to rip my heart into pieces don’t you? Well, go ahead. Rip away. I love how this book has multiple POVs with the help of third person narration. It was an amazing realization to start reading in Khalid’s POV. Getting into his head, while being utterly curious about the details of this curse made it all the more enthralling. His POV was few but well placed out that it was enough to keep me satisfied but also crave more at the same time. Khalid’s backstory is so sad, and he’s like this broken person inside that has been broken for so long until Shazi came along and helped him put himself back together. THE LOVE STORY ITSELF GETS TEN BILLION STARS. Khalid’s presence is full of power and dominance, and it just oozes off the pages. He’s a scary man with a big heart. Khalid is a complicated character to the point where it’s fascinating to read what he will do next, all while anticipating/expecting his next move. Khalid: best male character I’ve read about in a long time.
“Tell me why you’re here.” It sounded entreating in his low voice.
I’m here to win.
“Promise me you won’t kill me,” she breathed back.
“I can’t do that.”
“Then there’s nothing more to say.”
When describing the angst, tension, sexiness, romance, and anticipation of TW&TD, I will use the same adjectives for all. Captivating. Magnifying. Amazing. Heavy. I can’t get over how unbelievable this book was. The romance for one, legit, had my heart in my throat and my chest clutched tight. The words pulled me into the minds and feelings of the characters, and I couldn’t help but helplessly sob during this novel.
I loved the the slow progress of Khalid and Shazi’s romance. It was at the right speed and there was no insta-love!! Their story is surrounded by deception, ulterior motives, revenge and a powerful curse. The journey these characters went on to overcome these obstacles was heart-breaking, and it continues on in the second book, The Rose & the Dagger. This story is uniquely theirs, and that gives me all the more reason to love this novel.
Before I forget, Despina, Shazi’s handmaidan, is freaking hilarious. She’s snippy, sassy, and sarcastic. *gives self high-five for the three consecutive “s” words* (Psst. That’s called an alliteration! #learningwithMichelle) Shazi and Despina’s dynamic is sharp and warm. Absolutely love the growth of their friendship.
“Would you like to eat something? Or do you plan to go on a hunger strike? If that’s the case, do your worst, for I believe a hunger strike will kill a pretty little imp like you long before our caliph does.”
Shahrzad laughed wryly. “That’s the best worst compliment anyone has ever paid me.”
“You’re welcome.” Despina spun around in a whirl of white linen, the scent of jessamine saturating the air about her.
The plot moved at the right pace, however when Tariq’s POV came out every once in a while, I found them excessively long and tedious. I forced myself to read some, and skimmed the rest. I found Tariq utterly immature, and irrational, especially when it came to Shazi and Khalid’s relationship. Gah. So freaking annoying. That is literally the only, mini, itty-bitty problem I had with the novel. I just can’t bring myself to rate it anything but five stars. Everything from the storyline to the characters overshadow this one secondary character that I didn’t exactly connect with.
I’m so very pleased with this novel as I had very high expectations. One of my top 2016 books right here. I recommend this book to those who want a heart-rending romance, a healthy amount of fantasy and magic, and characters that will walk right into our lives and claim our ever willing book nerd hearts.
The Wrath & the Dawn is a mindblowing, poignant novel that effortlessly blends magic and romance together. This enchanting twist on 1001 Arabian Nights will keep readers on the edge of their seats, craving a happy ending (and answers) from the characters and the author.
Keep calm and read on,
P.S. If you can’t get enough of Shazi and Khalid or looking for more reasons to read TW&TD, check out a sneak peek of their first kiss here