Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Released: May 12 2015
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.17 (of 81,719 ratings)
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?
Let me say that when I (Sha) first saw the summary on this book I was like, how can I ever love a man who kills his brides? This is for sure, 100% a relationship that is going to crash and burn. But at least I’ll enjoy Shahrzad as she weaves her tales and navigates a world of secrets and evil. Bu-u-u-t let’s just say I was more than pleasantly surprised by what unraveled in this book filled with mystery, magic, love and a lot of a kickass, badass and hella strong-willed filled MC. Does Mandy agree? She did take a loooong time to finish the book. Let’s dissect!
When Quill Touches Paper… (Writing & Plot)
Sha: Almost from the first sentence, I was hooked on Ahdieh’s writing. Her prose drew me in to the historical region of Khorasan and the fantastic elements twisted into the novel. Without trying I could picture the rich colours of Shazi’s garments, smell the roses and feel the cold marble floors in the Caliph’s home, and nevermind how strongly I could connect to Shazi’s emotions.
When [the doors] thudded shut behind him, Shahrzad sank to the floor and pressed her flaming cheek against the cool marble.
Even the release of tears involved too much effort.
Mandy: Her writing really is gorgeous. It never got to be too much, and it was simply just lyrical. It was pretty prose that I could get behind. Also, there was no long drawn out descriptions of birds, which is what usually loses me in lyrical books.
Sha: Right. Of course. Because we all know the rise or fall of the author depends on their ability to describe birds. Buut Mandy and I are 100% in agreement on Ahdieh’s writing!
Mandy: The plot dwindled a bit for me in parts. I mean, there are like 3 separate things going on, and I was really only interested in one which was Khalid and Shazi’s story. I could care less about Taraq’s and Jahandar’s so I was -_- at those times.
Sha: I kinda agree here. I was full on into Shazi and Khalid’s story, about 80% invested in Tariq’s, and maybe 20% into Jahander’s magicking to save his daughter. This is not to say the B and C plotlines were poorly written! I was just soooo invested in Shazi’s development as a character and her plans to thwart Khalid (and then find out exactly why he ran the kingdom the way he did) that reading about Tariq running around the desert building a revolution felt lackluster in comparison.
What’s Yours is Mine (Characters)
Mandy: Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I really only liked Khalid, tbh – which is kind of a mess since he’s the big bad mass murdering king. BUT HE IS DEEP. AND THERE IS SO MUCH COMPLEXITY TO HIM. AND HE JUST SAT THERE QUIETLY AND I’M LIKE, YES, KHALID, YOU’RE THE BEST.
Sha: I’m going to need some real explanation on this one. Since I LOVED Shazi.
Mandy: Shazi? She was okay at times. I loved how unapologetic her strength is and what a badass she is. But I felt like she made a lot of decisions that had me shaking my head and, ugh, she just annoyed me a good deal of the time.
Sha: What decisions?? Please tell me because the decisions I am remembering are ones that showed she had a mind of her own (not influenced by what everyone says is “right”) and also the intelligence to keep herself alive. (Though at least you’re on point that Khalid is amazingly complex.)
Mandy: I think a part of me that fought with Shazi’s decisions because I knew Khalid’s motivations from the first time around. Also, I really had a hard time with how she and Despina interacted. I guess I wanted an empowering female friendship, and instead, they were just bratty messes with each other. Literally, Shazi goes OFF on Despina for trying to murder her when Despina was off just trying not to puke on Shazi. I MEAN.
Sha: I am thinking this is going to be a moment to agree to disagree since Shazi legit believed Despina just went through with an attempted assassination and Shazi is currently in a castle where everyone wants her dead. A little angst is perhaps expected. (And considering how Shazi sticks up for Despina through her *problem* later in the book idk why you’re calling a lack of female friendship?)
Mandy: Would you like some tea, Sha?????
Mandy: Moving on though *ahem* Tariq is literally The Worst. I honestly canNOT deal with him. Don’t make me please.
Sha: Yeah, not into him, and would never believe a soul who thinks this book holds him as a viable love triangle option. He’s not evil, he’s just not able to respect an independent woman.
To Love a Monster (Romance)
Mandy: I’m 200% down with this romance. Okay, like it’s totallllllllllllllllll instalove, but it worked and they respected each other so much. I mean, Khalid is a man that cared deeply not just for Shazi but for her opinions and everything. The way he treats her as the calipha and more…ugh, I don’t want a mass murdering king, but I could be into this. Chemistry was fire emoji for sure.
Sha: I disagree on the romance being instalove. IDK if you’re remembering the first twenty chapters where Shazi legit avoids Khalid, sees him as cold and indifferent, and cannot understand why anyone would want him as a ruler? The romance was a slo-o-o-w build. But yup, chemistry was def a fire emoji in this book.
Mandy: I just liked how Ahdieh weaved in the some of the stories, made them her own, and more. I was desperate for more and more stories and counting down until we got to them.
Sha: I don’t think I have much to say on this side. I know very little about the original One Thousand and One Nights tales (except for Aladdin, Sinbad, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and this is really from the movie adaptations. Not to mention these three tales weren’t even *in* the original OTaON).
Sha: My final verdict? Five crowns because this book is amaze. Yeah, some parts of the plotline slowed me down, but I didn’t really mind when it came down to it? I just enjoyed this book so much for Shazi’s strong-willed character, the well-built romance, and the magical elements twisted into the world. Expect me to be reading the sequel a.s.a.p.!
Mandy: 3 crowns for moi. It had some fantastic moments, but I was mostly feeling eh for it. Loved the story within a story moments and the writing but the characters disappointed me a bit.