The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee Ahdieh

3.75 Stars

The Blurb: 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.

This is a very hyped book, so I was extremely excited to read it. It was good, but I feel like my expectations were so high the faults in this books stood out a lot more than they normally would have, therefore the lower-than-normal rating.

Anyway, The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, which is a reason this is such a good book, because Ahdieh does an excellent job incorporating elements from the original tale into her story. The world-building is great, and although this is a much more character-driven novel, the world always felt believable and real.

Plot-wise, The Wrath and the Dawn is a bit slow, although it does not fail to capture your attention at any given moment. The majority of the book takes place in the palace, and Ahdieh adds just the perfect amount of suspense that every moment, even the slow ones, have a sense of danger about them, as we know from the beginning that Shahrzad could die at any time.

The characters are where this book excels in some aspect, but lacks in others. Shahzad is quite tough and strong, and this is established from the very beginning with her thrist for vengeance and skill with a bow. However, while I loved her awesomeness at first, she quickly contracted a case of “whiny heroine syndrome”, where she hides behind the guys(and there are quite a few guys) to do fight for her. We have a bit of a love triangle, between the caliph Khalid and Shahrzad’s previous boyfriend, and I was quite disappointed with how she handled this conflict. She basically hid from everyone and let the boys do their thing, which is quite uncharacteristic of her established character, to be honest.

Khalid, Shahrzad’s “love-interest”, had plenty of depth to him, but I really did not understand or relate to him most of the book. My detachment from him is probably the reason why I disliked the romance so much, since I couldn’t see why Shahrzad was able to get over his horrible crimes and love him despite the fact that HE KILLED HER BEST FRIEND. All Shahrzad needed to love him was a pretty lame explanation for his crimes and poof, the deaths of dozens of girls are forgiven. I needed a LOT more development before it went from A to B like that, but I understand why that happened, because the plot needed to be moved forward.

The side characters are wonderfully crafted and fun to read about. I enjoyed them very much.

Although I pretty much bashed the romance above, I liked this book very much. The characters and romance were very angsty and beautiful, and it’s all set against a backdrop of very colorful world. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an exciting fantasy romance.