Title // The Rose and the Dagger
Author // Renee Ahdieh
Publisher // G. P. Putman’s Sons Books For Young Readers
Publication Date // April 26th, 2016
Synopsis // In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
The very day that I finished The Wrath and the Dawn, maybe three hours later, I walked into my library to check this book out because I just needed it so badly! I was so entranced by the story of Shazi and Khalid and absolutely had to know what happened to them! Unfortunately, I thought this book wasn’t as good as the former and had some issues with it; however, ultimately it was still a really enjoyable read and I’m glad I read it and finished the duology off!
The book picks up where the first one left off, with Shazi now in the desert with Tariq and her family, while Khalid deals with the aftermath of the storm back in the castle. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too taken with the beginning of this one as I was with the last one. I found the bit in the desert to be boring at times, and I won’t lie, I was sad that Shazi and Khalid were separate! I wanted more interactions between the two of them–that’s what made me love the previous book!
Speaking of them, I still really loved their romance. I love how Shazi defended Khalid, how she was suddenly put into the difficult position of defending him and loving him because she knows that he’s under a curse and was put into the difficult position of executing all those brides, yet as far as everyone else knows, he’s just a monster who was killing all the brides. When the two of them are finally reunited, I was squealing! I never really liked Tariq and the whole love triangle thing annoyed me in the last book and a bit in this one, but there’s some good closure, especially between Khalid and Tariq, and I ultimately was happy with the way that one was wrapped up.
My biggest problem with this book was that I feel like there was too much happening and it was trying to do too much. The events of the first book and the beginning of this book all revolve around the curse that Khalid is under, the curse that led to him being the monster that he is. I thought that this book would be all about Shazi and Khalid trying to resolve that curse, but instead, the whole curse storyline is wrapped up really quickly and instead the story pivots to being about war and I was just like…what? I did enjoy the moments that the curse and trying to break it came into play, so I wish there was more about it, and ultimately with all the buildup to it, especially from the previous book (and I was still heavily invested in the curse of that book considering I finished it the same day I started this one!), it felt really underwhelming and unsatisfying in the way it was wrapped up.
The parts that dealt with the curse though were so amazing because magic! We’re introduced to a new character who literally throws fireballs and rides a flying beast and I was here for it! And that Shazi has magic is teased in the first book, and we really get to see more of that in this book including yes a flying carpet!!! That I just loved!
We get to see more of Irsa, Shazi’s little sister, in this book and she was one of my favorite parts of the book! She gets sort of ragged on for apparently not being able to keep a secret or being too young and naive or whatever, but she proves herself to be really strong and fierce and determined to help her sister that I loved! Also the moments of a sibling brother/sister bond between Irsa and Khalid were amazing!
Although I was a bit annoyed that the story suddenly became a war story, once I’d accepted that that was what was happening, I started really loving the ending and way that story was wrapped up! Mainly girl power, as Shazi and two other girls showed up being all boss and I was like yes pls more of this!
There was one event unfortunately in the last few pages that really annoyed me because it felt weird and unnecessary and made me lower my rating for this book.
Overall though I had issues with it it was still an enjoyable read and if you liked the first one definitely finish it off strong!