Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#Wednesday Review - The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (Young Adult, High Fantasy)

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn # 1
Format: Hardcover, 395 pages
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy 

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. 

The Wrath and the Dawn is the first book in author Renee Ahdieh's The Wrath and The Dawn series. It is a reimaging of either The Arabian Nights, or A Thousand and One Nights depending on how you look at things. The story is set in a mythical land of Khorasan where 18-year old Khalid Ibn al-Rashid is the Caliph of Khorasan. Khalid is trying to live a life atoning for his past sins by taking a new bride every night and leaving a silk cords wrapped around the women's throats come morning.  

"One hundred lives for the one you took. One life to one dawn. Should you fail but a single morn, I shall take from you your dream. I shall take from you your city. And I shall take from you these lives, a thousandfold. "

But, Khalid never imagined meeting 16-year old Shahrzad al-Khayzuian. Shazi volunteers as tribute in an effort to undermine Khalid and get revenge for the killing of her best friend Shiva. Shazi attempts to do the impossible; get close to the Khalid and kill him for all the pain and suffering he has caused multitudes of families. But, after continually delaying the inevitable with her stories and her slick moves, something happens between Shazi and Khalid that pretty throws all of her plans into disarray.

"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." 

For me, this book is very similair to A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston. The books male protagonists are eerily similair except when it comes to the ending and the dangers that face each character. Both male characters are hiding deep, dark secrets that keep them from revealing what is actually behind the killing of brides. So Shahrzad and Khalid go from adversaries, to companions, to a romance that blossoms in the face of severe challenges from inside and outside of Khalid's kingdom.

There are other characters to pay close attention to. Tariq the boy who loves Shazi, and would do anything to save her life from the Caliph. Despina, Shazi's handmaiden and the person who has her back despite all indications to the contrary. Jalal al-Khoury is the Captain of the Guard, and the one who allows Shazi some freedom and flexibility and makes a fateful choice when all is said and done. The last character is Shazi's father Jahander who was once vizier to the former Caliph, and is driven by revenge and hatred to see an end to Khalid's rule.

I could say that this book is far from perfect but it managed to hold my attention from beginning to end. I could say that Shazi doesn't come close to the original Scheherazade who was brave, intelligent, and admired by all around her. There is also the dreaded love triangle that continues to slap me upside my head and call me names while giggling maniacally at my pain and suffering. But, the one thing that really put me in a foul mood, was the cliffhanger ending. I realize that this is a two book series, but, really?  


  1. That cliffhanger was pretty hair-pulling. Seems like that's happening far more often these days... trying to entice readers to pick up the next book I suppose. Seems like a cop-out to me. I did really, really enjoy this one though and have been waiting anxiously for the next installment. At least we won't have to wait for more after that since it's only a duology. :)

    1. Hey Bonnie! Thanks for stopping by! I've been hoping for approval for book # 2, but it's still sitting on Edelweiss like a dozen other titles I requested. Not sure what the problem is.

  2. So I shouldn't buy this? It's on an Amazon deal currently and I'm tempted

    1. I would definitely buy it, especially for the current price!