Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review | The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

“This dangerous girl.  This captivating beauty.
 This destroyer of worlds and creator of wonder.”

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renée Ahdieh

Published by Putnam
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Pages: 388

My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Teisha's Review

In Marie Lu's blurb on the cover of The Wrath and the Dawn, she calls Renée Ahdieh's debut novel "an intoxicating gem of a story".  I honestly couldn't have said it better; that sums of TWATD perfectly.  The story of Shahrzad, a wounded girl on a quest to avenge her best friend's death, and Khalid, the tortured boy-king who murdered her, is a spellbinding tale.

When I read the blurb for this book, I knew that I was going to love it.  And, guess what?  I did!  The Wrath and the Dawn is fabulous and I'm not just saying that because I share an alma mater with Ahdieh.  (But, hey.  GO TAR HEELS!)

Here are the five reasons why I gave The Wrath and the Dawn 5 out of 5 stars:

★ Culture & Diversity

We need diverse books and Ahdieh has given us one.  She gives readers an Arabian culture that is incredibly vivid and tangible.  It seemed as if I could feel the fine damask material of the mantles Shahrzad wore, as if I could taste the lavash bread she ate, as if I could feel the buzz of the lively souk (outdoor market) the characters visited.  I wanted to immerse myself in the world of The Wrath and the Dawn and never leave.  I even listened to Arabian music playlists so that I might feel that I was truly experiencing the world.  In doing so, I have discovered that I have a new found affinity for Arabian music.  I have no idea what the musicians are saying, but it is all so beautiful and I don't want to stop listening to it.

★ Shahrzad (Her Friends Call Her Shazi)

Shahrzad (Shazi for short) is my spirit animal.  She has easily become one of my favorite female fantasy heroines (try saying that five times fast).  She is headstrong, sharp-tongued, smart, and does not easily abandon her morals.  What's not to like?  She's honest and admirable.  No wonder why Khalid fell in love with her and why Tariq's not willing to let her go.

★ Khalid, the Beautiful Monster

If you read the synopsis, you're probably thinking "Why do you like this character who killed nearly 100 women?"  Well, I suppose that I like Khalid for the same reasons Shahrzad does: he's a beautiful monster.  He is a tortured soul with a heart of ice, and he's just waiting for someone to come around and melt it.  I am a sucker for the mysterious, brooding bad boy type (especially when they have a soft core).  And, Khalid fits the bill.  More than that, he's the most complex character of the entire story.  And, watching his character develop is like watching a rose bloom in the spring.

★ Secondary Characters (I See You, Too)

First, there is Tariq (who, technically could be considered a main character), Shazi's childhood sweetheart.  I found his character interesting, yet annoying at times.  (But I'm biased.  I only thought that he was annoying because he stood in the way of the beautifully blossoming love of Shazi and Khalid).  He is incredibly fastidious in his determination to save the girl he loves, and I saw something honorable in that.

Then there is Despina, Shazi's sassy handmaiden who reminded me of my own crazy best friend.  She is witty and absolutely wonderful.  And, she's got some intriguing relationship drama of her own that I can' wait to read more about in Book 2.

There is the Rajput, Vikram, who serves as Shazi's bodyguard.  He is a quiet presence, only speaking one line (that I remember) throughout the entire story.  However, his reactions to situations and his body language spoke a thousand words.  I enjoyed seeing his tough character slowly warm to Shazi's beautiful soul.  She tends to have that effect on those around her.

And, finally, there is Jalal, who is my favorite secondary character and the Captain of Khalid's guard.  He fills the position of the side-kick/best friend of the love interest who everyone loves.  I would also consider him to be the story's comic relief.  Jalal is charming, witty, and all-around lovable.  His relationship with Shazi is also one that I love.  He welcomes her to the family (he is Khalid's cousin) with open arms.  And, you find that he is incredibly trustworthy and honest in caring for Shazi.

All of these characters, together, work to shape a beautiful world and story.

★ Writing

Ahdieh's debut is absolutely stunning, largely because her writing style is perfection.  The words are lyrical, working together to weave a beautiful web of a tale.  Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“She was a dangerous, dangerous girl. A plague. A Mountain of Adamant who tore the iron from ships, sinking them to their watery graves without a second thought. With a mere smile and a wrinkle of her nose.”
"I prefer the color blue to any other. The scent of lilacs in your hair is a source of constant torment. I despise figs. Lastly, I will never forget, all the days of my life, the memories of last night—For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you."
“People fall in and out of love with the rising and setting of the sun. Rather like a boy who loves the color green one day, only to discover on the morrow that he truly prefers blue.”
“I know love is fragile. And loving someone like you is near impossible. Like holding something shattered through a raging sandstorm. If you want her to love you, shelter her from that storm…And make certain that storm isn’t you."


I loved The Wrath and the Dawn, a thousand times over.  And I will never apologize for it.

When The Rose and The Dagger hits shelves next year, I will be the first in line to buy it.  I cannot wait to find out what happens next in Shahrzad and Khalid's story. 

Write it to the Sky...

  1. Have you read or do you hope to read The Wrath and the Dawn?  Tell me your thoughts!  

Talk to you soon!

1 comment:

  1. Loved your review, especially those quotes you put in. I swear, Renee has written such beautiful words that I feel like re-reading it but I can't go through all those feels again. Not until the next book is released.