Series: The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: May 12th 2015 and April 26th 2016
The Wrath and the Dawn – 4 stars
The Rose and the Dagger – 3 stars
Synopsis (for the first book)
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?
The Wrath and the Dawn duology is one I was very looking forward to reading, but ultimately I was left wanting more. And not in a good way. Where the first book was rather addictive to read regardless of some flaws, the sequel could not live up to it.
First things first though, Renee Ahdieh has a great writing style. Her descriptions of food for instance was quite luscious and the chemistry between Shaza and Khalid sprung of the page. Those kissing scenes were well written and might I say hot to read. We did get a lot of palace scenes of course and I would have loved to have seen more of the city than we got. The stories that Shaza told I had little interest in though. I often don’t enjoy reading about characters telling stories to others especially when they take a few pages. I prefer the back and forth interaction between characters.
Plot wise the first book focuses more heavily on the romance portion with in the background the politics dance that Khalid has to do with his uncle. Like I said Shaza and Khalid have a great chemistry and while I enjoyed reading about them both I found their relationship a bit iffy at points. Let’s be honest here, he murdered her best friend and I thought the change in Shaza to loving him and Khalid being misunderstood was a bit too fast. She also moved away from her feelings for her ex-fiancée rather easily when hearing stories of them before this happened they clearly had a very close bond.
The ending to The Wrath and the Dawn was rather explosive and left things wide open to be continued in The Rose and the Dagger. There was a lot of potential for this sequel to work with but ultimately I felt it was a bit of a letdown. The start was slow. I thought everything wrapped up too easily at the end. What was even up with that ending and Khalid? Shaza’s powers I felt were easily glossed over. She learned very little about her powers. I also felt that some of the added point of views weren’t very necessary. Her ex-fiancée turned into one big idiot to make Khalid look better which really wasn’t necessary at all.
I will say that Khalid and Shaza had the best moments in the book. Their interactions and flirtations felt natural. Everything else in the Rose and the Dagger fell away to that unfortunately.
Shaza is a bit of an impulsive character who really should get more consequences to her actions. Regardless she was a strong character throughout the books and for the most part quite enjoyable to follow. I was disappointed with how her relationship with her father was depicted in the sequel. Their relationship was one I did not understand and as such could not quite feel.
Khalid was a bit of a mystery at the start but this was cleared up throughout the first book. I liked him. He is one of those possessive types but Shaza is strong enough to handle that. I think she secretly like this. He’s been closed off for a long time and it was nice to see him open up throughout the books. To learn to trust others again.