“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”
― Renee Ahdieh,
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 the best story retelling I have ever read. No exaggeration. This books prose blew me away as much as Erin Morgenstern’s, The Night Circus, did. And my readers probably know how much I rant about that book. This novel just gave me so many feels. So many times while I was reading this I got the chills. I love the main character Shazi. She’s headstrong, if not a little bit arrogant. But she is also forgiving and loving.
I loved many of the characters in this book. I loved Jalal because of his protectiveness of Khalid. I love Despina because she was a humorous match for Shahrzad but also a good friend. I loved Khalid because he really did seem like a lost little boy who had to grow up faster than he should have. The title “boy-king” was very fitting.
Throughout the book I struggled with hating and loving the Caliph. In the beginning you believe he is a monster, and he is in his in reality, but then you understand why. And you see behind the scenes how much he truly laments the deaths that happen at his command. It’s all so twisted. But I love any novel that makes me feel torn in such a way. I believe that is one of the hardest feats for a writer, is making your audience hate AND love the villain of your story.
The only other authors I can think of who accomplished this are J.K. Rowling with Snape and Draco, and Marissa Meyer with Levana in Fairest. Sure it’s easy to give the villain a troubled past, that’s forgivable. What’s hard is to make the villains actions forgivable and to get your readers to actually root for them while they’re reading the story. I’m really not sure how Ahdieh did it. HE’S A MURDERER OF YOUNG WOMEN for crying out loud. It’s awful.
The setting of this book was amazing. I love the time period and the fact that Shazi is an archery master and that Tariq has Zoraya, the falcon. It makes the whole story feel enchanted. Not to mention all of Shazi’s beautiful clothing throughout the book. I love the inside cover of the book. It’s a picture of Shahrzad in her Calipha attire.
I usually try and add in something that I would like to see differently in a book or what I would like to see in the next installment to the book but this one was perfect. I have read some reviews of it where readers have stated that the plot was slow but I couldn’t disagree more. It was a beautiful build up to Shahrzad working through her feelings and discovering more about Khalid. I am astonished that this is Ahdieh’s debut novel. What was she doing before now? She needs to bless us with more books.
I gave this novel 5/5 stars on Goodreads, but I would give it 1,001 if I could 😉 It’s that great. From what I gather online, the next book is coming out May of 2016 and these are meant to be a duology. I have no idea what I am going to do until May. I will probably have a full-fledged book hangover until then.