Tuesday, May 31, 2016

#Wednesday Review - The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdreh (Young Adult, Fantasy)

Series: The Wrath & The Dawn # 2
Format: Hardcover, 420 pages
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: GP Putnam & Sons (BYR)
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. 

Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Renee Ahdreh's The Rose and The Dagger is the conclusion to The Wrath and the Dawn duology. 16-year old Shahzrad al-Kharzuran finds herself between a rock and a hard place. Intent on gaining revenge against Khalid, Caliph of Khorasan for the killing of her best friend, Shazi instead found herself falling hard for the troubled boy-king who has been cursed and troubled to lead an unhappy existence. After her own father Jahander helped the enemies of her husband attack her home, and her sanctuary, Shazi was taken away by her once romantic interest Tariq.

As the story unfolds, Shazi is basically a prisoner of circumstances. She's found herself among those who are eager to see Khalid brought to his knee, and they have distrust in their eyes when it comes to why Shazi didn't kill him when she obviously had the chance. With Shazi being the Calipha, they also believe they have leverage against Khalid. But, Shazi refuses to give up, even it it means using her new magic carpet to seek assistance and a way to break Khalid's curse. Even if it means keeping secrets from her sister Irsa who more than makes her presence felt in this story.

I am not one of those readers who gets all mushy and bushy eyed over couples who find a way through all of the heart break and pain to find each other. But, I do adore Shazi/Khalid and the way they each find the road uneven and dangerous as they try to fight their way back together again. Yes, the romance started off as insta-lust. Yes, there was a rather eye-rolling quick in the bed sex scene. But, 
I am so happy that the dreaded love triangle of doom never had a chance to raise its ugly head. Tariq may have been Shazi's childhood crush, but Khalid holds her heart and her future.

"For the first time, Tariq saw what Shahrzad saw when she looked at Khalid Ibn al-Rashid.He saw a boy. Who loved a girl. More than anything in the world."

Ok, let's get to the likes and dislikes. I love the authors writing. I love her characters. I adore Shazi and yes, Irsa who has her own budding romance possibility. I was worried that Despina and Jalal would end up getting written off. As in, dead. This duology featured a wonderful world where things are dangerous, and yet, the curse seemed to easily broken when the time came. I was hoping for some more bloodshed, or screaming, or anything than what happened. Ok, so, let's talk about the epilogue quickly. Nawww let's not because if I do, I'll spoil the ending! 

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