Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Gorgeous prose, addictive romance and captivating world-building…need I say more?
Published on/by: May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 416 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: 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.
Before I start this review, I have to preface with a huge revelation. My reading game has been very poor this past few months, and I can say it’s because of school…but come on. The hours I spend on social media could’ve been better used reading about hot aliens or dark lords taking over the world. And I have to say, it’s not that I didn’t try. I’ve started quite a number of books but none held my attention for long. I’m actually a hundred or so pages from finishing ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J Maas but, I don’t know, I just didn’t have the mood or enough care to give for Little Miss Mary Sue. And then I realised I’ve been feeling this way about many books for months because I’ve been busy with my SOCIAL life. Busy with people of the opposite gender. My friend nailed it on the head when she told me last night that the reason why I couldn’t emotionally attach myself to books in recent months was because I was already emotionally invested in something else in my real life and I didn’t have enough to give to a book.
Starting “The Wrath & the Dawn” was a little difficult. There was no flaw, don’t get me wrong. The flaw was me and my fickled heart. But as the story progressed, my interest piqued. Soon, I was completely enamoured with the world. Inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights” the story was captivating and vivid as we’re introduced to such beautiful world-building. I gotta say, I was so, very pleased with the world (but I mean, c’mon! It’s inspired by ‘One Thousand and One Nights’!) but above all, I was chuffed on how familiar it was. Being of Middle Eastern descent, it felt a little like home…as you can tell by the picture I took above featuring my home decor. I actually had a huge lamp but it didn’t make the cut, unfortunately.
The most excellent part of this book has got to be Ahdieh’s writing skills. She weaved beautiful descriptions of the palace and such enjoyable characters and interactions with such ease. Never did I feel like the prose was too flowery or chunky, but just a joy to read. In just under a couple of hours, two hundred pages had passed.
The characters were incredibly enjoyable. From Shahrzad’s (what a beautiful name, omg) sass and bravery to Jalal’s dependable humour, I felt that most of the characters were used to their full potential. My favourite characters, after Shazi, have got to be Despina and Jalal. Both brought such light and joy to the story as well as companionship to the two main characters and ughhhhh SPOILER! Seriously, I can’t wait to see their relationship blossom in the second instalment! END OF SPOILER!
THE ROMANCE. Oh, my god. This is a romance to melt any icy heart. Trust me on this. In any other book written by any other author, my eyes would have bled by the words Khalid said to Shazi. But Ahdieh? She does it right, and she does it good. I MELT for Khalid. Can we start a hashtag trend? #Melt4Khalid. This boy-king has my heart, dat boi he do! We’re introduced to him in the eyes of Shazi and like her, we have preconceived ideas of this ruler. Heartless. Monster. Blood-thirsty. And of course, us YA readers know that we’ll be proven wrong. This is a common trope in Young Adult. But Ahdieh writes this character in a way that it doesn’t feel like a cheap trick at all. Also, many would say their relationship falls under insta-love, but honestly, it didn’t feel that way to me. I fell in love with him at the same pace Shazi did and if he were in my world I SWEAR I would’ve fallen for him quicker than an ant were to be swallowed by quick sand. Now, let me just confirm that YES, there is a love triangle BUT WAIT. It’s not a cheap one. I mean, yeah. There is a clear winner. From the synopsis alone, you know which couple is endgame, but it’s a love triangle that makes sense. Tariq, Shazi’s first love and childhood sweetheart is not only just her childhood sweetheart, but a friend and son, a leader in his own right and that’s what I loved about the romance in this book. The characters were more than just a device to push the “love triangle” trope.
The element of magic was present in this book, and although it wasn’t fully explored, you can bet that in the second instalment, “The Rose and The Dagger”, we’ll find out more about this dormant magic she possesses and what trouble her father has gotten himself into. The only flaw I can think of this book was how little Irsa, Shazi’s younger sister, appeared. She will probably have a bigger role in the second book but I found myself wondering when I’d see more of this character as she was only introduced in the beginning.
All in all, this was a solid first book of the duology. Actually, it was more than solid. It was absolutely lively and enjoyable. Rich in prose and characters, Ahdieh has managed to create a world that I’m so impatient to jump right back into. And hello? That cliffhanger? No. Simply will not do. 2016, come faster!!!