Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath & the Dawn, #1)

Hardcover, 388 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Although this debut made a big splash and it’s been on my TBR since I first read the synopsis and saw that it was a reimagining of 1001 Nights, I just got around to reading it.  Why?  Honestly, I had tried a couple of times in the last two years since its release, but the beginning was both too fast and too slow at the same time.  The story jumps right in without any background, character introduction, or world-building and expects the reader to know what’s going on.  Then, it almost feels like the author is trying to make up for that by giving us lots of exposition in the following chapters.
But, since this was a debut novel (and I read the excerpt from The Flame in the Mist), I knew I needed to move past those bits.  And I’m really glad that I did!  The author did a really great job creating depth in the two main characters  and many of the secondary characters as well.  Although I didn’t care for the Tariq-focused sections, I could tell what the author was trying to do.  Let’s just say I’m not shipping him with Shahrzad.
Image result for wrath and the dawn
I really liked the diversity aspect of this book since it used some Arabic vocabulary throughout.  There is a glossary in the back, but I rarely felt like I needed it.  The surrounding clues were just enough context to keep the story flowing.  And maybe I learned a little something as well.
The build up and hints to magic in this universe left me wanting more, which I guess is good since book two’s synopsis mentions magic becoming important.  It will be interesting to explore more of the magic rules in this universe.  There are so many different directions this could go.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the sequel and e-novellas.  I can’t quite say that it’s a favorite, but if the writing shown in the excerpt from The Flame in the Mist is any indication, then the author’s style may have solidified into something I would add to that list soon!

Summary:

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.

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