Friday, December 11, 2015

The Wrath and Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 388

"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?"

I read mixed reviews about this book, so I wasn't sure going into it what to expect. It was a good read. More romance than anything else, but it was the good kind of romance. The kind you  root for even if it is cliche and predictable.

The story is about  Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, who marries a new woman each night and has her murdered at sunrise. When Shahrzad's best friend in the world dies at the hand of the Caliph, she offers herself as the next bride, determined to avenge her friends death. Just like in the original One Thousand and One Nights, she tells Khalid a riveting story with a cliffhanger, promising to continue the story the next night, in return for another day of living.

As Shazi gets to know the Caliph, she realizes that everything is more complicated than she had thought, and that despite the pain he has caused, Khalid is a good man with good intentions. As Khalid falls for his queen, Shazi reluctantly falls in love with him as well, forcing herself to deal with the guilt of falling in love with the man who caused the death of her dearest friend.

The Wrath and Dawn was fun to read, I only wish the secondary characters had been more developed, especially Jalal and Despina. I'm hoping that will come in the next book. I really did not care for Tariq, and could have done without the whole love triangle, honestly I don't think it was necessary to the plot in any way. Tariq could just have easily been her brother or her father. I also would have liked more of a back story at the beginning, I felt like I started the book a quarter of the way in, like I had missed something.

This was a retelling in the true sense of the word. It didn't differ much from the essence of the original story, but it worked. It read like a fairy tale, like a real story rather than just a novel, which is something I always enjoy. I noticed some similarities between this book and Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (which I loved).

The ending frustrated me, a lot, but because it's the first book in a duology, I can forgive a bad ending. I'm definitely excited to read the next book.

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