The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
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.
Review: I’m pretty sure I took this book out from the library and returned it unread at least three times before I actually read the book. And now that I read it, I can’t believe I ever did that. I’m not the biggest fan of YA books. I actually skipped over the genre and basically went from reading Little House on the Prairie to romance novels or so it seems. However, I have read a few YA books here and there. And this is one of the ones I’m glad I did. Although, I should have read this book after the second one was released. I like to read series featuring the same main couple once all the books are out so I don’t have to wait between books.
This book is a new twist on the tale of 1001 Arabian Nights. The main premise of the caliph having his brides killed the next morning and that Shazi convincing him to stave off her death by begling him with a story is there. However, soon Khalid delays Shazi’s execution for her personally instead of just her story. While the reader is treated to some of the tales from Arabian Nights, they serve to illustrate plot points and add to the story, rather than detract. The reader is quickly immersed in the lush Arabian palace and the intrigues that go along with it. As Shazi and Khalid start to fall in love, both internal and external forces try to tear them apart. While there is magic mixed into the plot, it is not an overarching interest in the story. I’ve read reviews that bemoan the purple prose of this novel. Honestly, I was a huge fan of the writing style. I cut my teeth on the purple prose of Bertrice Small, Virginia Henley, and Jean Plaidy novels so it didn’t bother me too much. At times, there was a bit too much angst, especially with Khalid but the circumstances of the novel justifies the angst. Excellent story and I’m in tenterhooks waiting for the next book!
“My soul sees its equal in you.”
“You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?”
“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”
“There is no one I would rather see the sunrise with than you.”
“This dangerous girl. This captivating beauty.
This destroyer of worlds and creator of wonder.”
“Get up, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. You kneel before no one. Least of all me.”
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.
“When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost. Lost forever. In this kiss. This kiss that would change everything.”
“Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable…and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”
Rating: 5 out of 5!