The Wrath and the Dawn Review // An Enchanting, Romantic Retelling

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Title // The Wrath and the Dawn

Author // Renee Ahdieh

Publisher // G. P. Putman’s Sons Books For Young Readers

Publication Date // May 5th, 2015 

Synopsis // 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? asset 1

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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I went into this book knowing that it was a retelling of 1001 Nights, and literally nothing else; I didn’t even read the synopsis on the flap! So I had basically no idea how it was going to go. Well, overall it was far from perfect, and I probably would have enjoyed it more 5 years ago when it first came out, but I still definitely enjoyed it.

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I was immediately compelled from the prologue, which talks of a tortured boy sitting alone with his sacrifice as it pours rain outside. This was such a great way to start the book, and I was absolutely hooked needing to know where the story was going with this. Then, leading into the beginning about the monstrous boy king and the fact that nobody expected Shazi to survive the dawn, I was completely compelled and drawn in!

I haven’t read many retellings of 1001 Nights, but so I was pretty excited to read this one, and I think it was great as a retelling! It was pretty fun to get these small stories within the larger story that Shazi was telling at night to keep herself alive. I loved seeing Shazi tell storiesI loved the mystery in why the boy king Khalid is executing all of his brides, and how tortured and the internal conflict Shazi has as she starts to fall in love with him, knowing that she shouldn’t considering how he’s a monster who even murdered her best friend, yet she still wants him.

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And speaking of that, the romance was so swoony! This book is a high fantasy, but really it’s a romance more than anything else, and the swoon worthy romance definitely takes center stage in the tale. I loved seeing Shazi and Khalid’s moments together, loved seeing Shazi get to know the boy king who is so closed off from the world and break down his barriers. I loved seeing him go from this tortured monster who can’t trust anyone, to opening up to Shazi! I will say that as others have said, it’s definitely a bit of instalove and that was a bit annoying, but taken in context that it’s basically just a glorified romance novel with this fantasy stuff in the background, I didn’t mind that much.

I will say though that there was one scene between Shazi and Khalid towards the beginning when she still hates him that felt sort of rapey, and it wasn’t really addressed and was pretty much just glossed over, so that made me a bit uncomfortable. I wish it had been addressed more, but I still did enjoy their romance!

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I loved Shazi and how fierce she is. She’s an amazing archer, and she comes to the palace with one goal and one goal only: to kill the monster boy king. I love seeing her strength and determination in that. After the beginning she starts to soften though, and I’m conflicted; on one hand, I loved seeing how her growing feelings for Khalid made her conflicted and her internal struggle on what to do, but on the other hand I was kind of annoyed at how weak she became like come on girl you’ve only known him for a bit and he killed all these people why are you not mad anymore?

The writing style in this book is absolutely beautiful. I loved the descriptions and the style of the words felt so pretty without being too heavy and annoying purple prose. Overall this book wasn’t my absolute favorite and had a few issues and annoying things, but I still really enjoyed it!

 

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