As I’ve talked about in my recent posts, I’ve been in a huge slump recently. It took me almost a month to finish a 300-and-something page book in February. So it was a big risk I took in March when I basically said “f*** it!” and picked up The Wrath and the Dawn.
But then again, maybe it was the best possible thing that I could’ve done…
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Hardcover: 395 pages
Published: Putnam publishing, May 2015
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Synopsis: (Spoiler free)
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.
I LOVED THIS BOOK!! *tries to keep it together to write coherent review*
I had expectations to like this book but nowhere near as much as I did. Let’s break it all down.
The book starts quickly and the reader is really thrust into the world of the story (luckily with a trusty map and word-translator to help). It didn’t start where I expected it to and so was a little confused from all the character names, world and new vocabulary to learn. This quickly subsided when the plot started to come into play.
We meet our main character Shahrzad and I knew immediately that I’d love her for the rest of the book. She’s sassy and resolute. She takes no crap and is strong-willed but still has that part of her that is growing and willing to change. This combination was perfect. I also love how much she valued family and friendship. She would do anything to help those she loves. But there was one problem that I had with Shazi. She had the ability to solve some problems and conflicts that arose and yet chose not to which was a little frustrating. Understandable for some but a bit of forward planning would have been nice.
Khalid is our male character. Of course, I wasn’t buying all the vibes that he was giving off and fell head over heels for him straight away. His voice was the best mixture of force and kind that I couldn’t help but swoon, plus the actual words he spoke were so beautiful. Who can go past the broken man who needs fixing? Not me.
“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.”
“No. Destroy Me.”
I think all this character love was down to the fantastic writing. Ahdieh knows what she’s doing. Her prose flowed and despite its simplicity, managed a lot of depth and had a lyrical quality to it. She paced her tale well and knew when to slow and speed up the tension and action. The best part was the chemistry she created between our two leads. It was so real and gave me some heart palpitations at times.
As for the world, it was so vibrant and rich, a testimony of all the research Ahdieh must have done to ensure her novel was true to the culture of The Arabian Nights. I loved all the descriptions of the palace and surrounding areas but wish we got more sight of the other places our secondary characters visited. I love particularly how Ahdieh covered architecture, food and even specific rooms when painting a scene, it added so much to the reading experience.
There could have been a bit more backstory for specific secondary characters and their connections to other people to explain some things too. In particular, the military side of things.
The plot was fabulous. I’d say the story is marginally a romance book (unsurprising given the source material) but the balance is held between that, action and cultural exploration. It was easy to keep up with and definitely had me turning the pages even if I had an early wake-up the next morning! I sense that a lot more adventure/action is coming our way in the next book given where it ended.
I NEED BOOK TWO NOW! The cliffhanger is intolerable…
Overall, a brilliant young adult fantasy that is very different from any other I’ve read. Complete with characters you can really connect with, a burning romance and enthralling plot. I’d recommend this book 110%. Even with my little criticism, I gave The Wrath and the Dawn:
If any of you have read this book, let me know what you thought. Do you agree with me or not? Or have I convinced any of you to give this series a go? Let me know!
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll talk to you in my next post!