Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh cover

The Wrath and the Dawn
By Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Release date:
May 12th 2015
Rating: It's true love

“The more a person pushes others away, the clearer it becomes he is in need of love the most.” 

There are certain books that have been hyped up so much that I subconsciously avoid them. It is as if my brain is a hipster and could not possibly like things if other people like them. I did this for about five years with Harry Potter and I did it with The Wrath and the Dawn. I have been missing out. Other people were right about this book and my brain just needs to get over that. 

I really appreciated the quality of the writing. It was balanced between fresh and timeless which I don’t think is a note that is particularly easy to hit. I love how real the setting felt. Khorasan isn’t a real place. But it felt as if it was. 

Shahrzad is an amazing heroine. Strong with being abrasive. Stubborn without being rigid. I like that she was driven and flawed. I admired her clever way with words. She was snarky and her mouth got her into trouble sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean pretty much all the time. I liked that she was also vulnerable and looking for someone to trust. I like that she took control of her own destiny. 

From the very first description of him standing up and being all graceful, I loved Khalid. I was very much like Shazi in that I spent all of my time both loving him and wanting to scream Why. IS. HE. KILLING. PEOPLE. Because, although I am all for the damaged monsters, there are some things that you just can’t overlook, even in fictional characters. Murder being one of them. Or at least random unjustified murder. He must end up with Shazi. I will not accept anything less. 

Having said all that I am still struggling with the initial sparing of Shahrzad’s life. What was Khalid’s motivation? It couldn’t be because she was beautiful or brave because some of his other wives were also that. He also spent the evening with her which is not part of his pattern. It is a small quibble but I hope that it eventually gets cleared up. 

In some ways, Demonia is everything that Shahrzad is only more so. More beautiful, more devious, more subtle, smarter, and, I suspect, more bent on revenge (not sure what for just a feeling I have.) The friendship between them is great. They challenge one another but also support one another. More of this please.

Tariq kind of reminded me of a high school boyfriend who just cannot figure out why you need to break up when you move away to college and is even more baffled by your college boyfriend. I don’t think that he is evil. In fact I kind of feel for him. But he doesn’t change and Shazi does. It was never going to work.

The description of food in this book are particularly vivid and mouthwatering. I lived in Morocco for two years. I missed the food more than anything else. This book made me so hungry for it again that I had to cook the full couscous Friday meal. Which isn’t easy in China. 

This was one of my favorite reads of 2016 and I have already started The Rose and the Dagger. 

From Godreads:
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 NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.