Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

20522640Novel: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1) by Renée Ahdieh | Goodreads
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher/TT4L

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

This is quite possibly my favorite book of 2015.

It might even top An Ember in the Ashes on the awesome world building scale.

Me right now:

The Wrath and the Dawn was put into my hands by my good friend and publicist for Penguin, Jill Bailey, at TT4L in April. She said something along the lines of: “This is awesome. Read it. I loved it.” Anything that Jill loves I usually do as well, so I took it. (I also can’t really say no to Jill when it comes to books.) Either way, I was blessed to have The Wrath and the Dawn in my possession.

One thing I’m loving right now is world-building and stories about royalty. The Wrath and the Dawn has both, and they are done impeccably well. Because it’s inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, the story takes place in Khorasan and is full to the brim with culture and language I am completely foreign to. (Heads up – there’s a glossary in the back.) I fell in love with the beauty of this world, and the way Ahdieh described it.

The city’s library was once a grand edifice, columned and swathed in judiciously hewn stones quarried from the finest pits in Tirazis. Over the years, its façade had darkened, and deep cracks marred its surface, the worst filled with slipshod efforts at repair. Every visible edge was worn, and the glorious lustre of yesteryear had faded to a mottling of greys and browns.

Ahdieh is one heck of a writer. Not only are her sentences exquisite, but plot of The Wrath and the Dawn is utterly addicting. There is never a dull moment. The story focuses on Shazi and Khalid’s developing relationship and Shazi’s promise to herself to avenge Shiva’s death, especially as it becomes obvious that killing Khalid is no longer an option for her. Khalid is Shazi’s “dark monster” who falls in love with her. Shazi changes him – he begins to see the world for what it is, reconnects with his childhood friend, and holds a new desire to fight the demons that made him kill all of those girls.

Shazi was one of the highlights of the entire book. She’s fierce, defiant, loving, and absolutely hilarious. Every time she opened her mouth she was back-talking someone or cracking some joke. She was everything a queen wouldn’t be, and yet she was the perfect queen. As she falls in love with Khalid she begins to see that she ultimately is the queen of her land, and that’s incredibly meaningful to her. The love that both Khalid and Shazi holds for their city is immense, and together they begin to fight for it.

I mentioned that this book might have topped An Ember in the Ashes for me. What I loved so much about An Ember in the Ashes was its impeccable combination of tension-y romance, world building, gorgeous writing, and addicting plot. The Wrath and the Dawn does all of these things, and then some. I couldn’t put this book down. I needed to know what happened to Shazi, what happened with Khalid, if they finally admitted their feelings, if Tariq invaded the palace, if the sultan Salim Ali el-Sharif did something horrible – this book had me breathless.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a stunning tale of love and allegiance in a dark time that will leave you begging for more. This book is out tomorrow so GO BUY IT. (it also has a map. so.)

  • Jen

    YES SHAZI I LOVED THAT GIRL. And that intrigue with why Khalid is killing every wife? SO GOOD. I can’t wait for the sequel!!!