Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series? Yes, a duology
Pages: My edition has 432 pages
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Speak (under Penguin Books)
Source: I bought this book at one of my local bookstores!
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.
Author's Website | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads
I read The Wrath and The Dawn for a readathon I participated in (check out more info here and how I did here) where people voted for which books I should read! The Wrath and The Dawn got the most votes so I read it first, and I can see why! This series has gotten so much love, and let me tell you, it's all worth it.
If you don't know what this book is about (or didn't read the synopsis above) it basically starts as a revenge story as the main character, Shazi, offers herself to be the king's queen. Every night, the king (Khalid) kills his wife. For what reasons, we don't know, and neither does anyone except his most trusted adviers. After Shazi's best friend is killed, she plans on offering herself to Khalid and killing him instead. The story takes off from there, and it is absolutely fantastic. While this book does take it's base material from A Thousand and One Nights, the spin Ahdieh puts on it is wonderful.
The world itself is very intricate, and Ahdieh does a great job of really giving the place character. The setting was never dull and really set the atmostphere nicely. Whenever there were scenes about the political strife, I was able to actually imagine it instead of just read the words and continue on.
As for the characters, I loved them. It takes a lot of work to make sure that all your characters are complex, even the ones that don't have too much time in the book, and Renee does that. I never once felt as if the characters were "just another misunderstood bad boy" and another "reckless heroine". That's never the case. As a reader, we learn more about the characters as Shazi does, and through that gain insight into who she is as well. I really loved each and every single one of them.
The romance was also done very well! Because the characters were so developed, the romance was organic. I never felt like a scene was forced. The romance is push and pull throughout the entire thing, and I loved that the two characters never gave into the other person and diminished who they were to do so. Neither of them changed for the other, they just came to understand each other, which I really appreciated.
For a while after reading this book, I couldn't pinpoint why I didn't give this five stars. I just knew that it wasn't. While writing this review, everything clicked. My main issue is that the action didn't happen until late in the book. Most of this book is rising action, and the climax, falling action, and ending all happened in a very short span. There were a lot of times I felt like I was reading a romance in a fantasy setting with a hint of political intrigue. Don't get me wrong, I liked it! But it wasn't necessarily the nail biting fantasy I thought it would be. I do think that the second book will have a lot more action, so I'm looking forward to that. There was just a lot of set up in this book. It was done well, but I just wanted a little more.
With that said, if you do not like character-driven stories, than this might not be the book for you. I personally love them. I was completely engrossed in the story, but if you don't want to read a romance half the time, don't pick this up.
The Wrath and the Dawn was such a well done novel. I am so surprised that something this good was a debut novel! I understand what all the hype is about, and am definitely going to pick up the sequel shortly. All of the characters were fantastic. The romance was a perfect slow burn that really spoke to me. I just wanted a twinge more action and this would have been a five star read for me.
With that, I give this book
4 out of 5 Stars!