The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publication: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Genre: Retellings, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Read: March 2016
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.
Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I loved this! It was a little slow in the beginning which made it a little hard to get into at first, but once I got past that hurdle I just wanted to know more! The whole plot is shrouded in suspense and mystery and intrigue that kept me on the edge of my seat. There’s a lot of court drama involved as well as some action. Secrets and lies and deception are everywhere and I just wanted everyone to get along! I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Writing Style – 5 out of 5 stars
It takes a lot for a writing style to get 5 stars from me because I usually pay that the least attention (unless it’s awful) but the way Ahdieh writes is glorious. It’s lyrical and poetic and it flows so well that it makes the story completely addicting. The descriptions and details for the world building are mind blowing and it’s so easy to picture the setting in your head. It’s emotional and powerful, every word is placed with a purpose and you can definitely feel it. One of my favorite parts is that it’s culturally representative. The setting doesn’t carry itself, the writing helps immerse you as well.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I LOVE THEM! I’ve mentioned this before but I am a huge fan of character driven novels and this is one of them. The characters in this book are so real and intense and palpable that I could not help but love them. Shahrzad is amazing! She’s really strong and decisive and I love her tenacity. She has a strong temper and sometimes it lands her in tough spots, but underneath her hard exterior, she’s really smart and caring. I love her development throughout the book, she kept her values but managed to learn how to see beyond herself and her opinions. The main love interest Khalid, is very similar but at the same time very different from Shazi. He also has a really strong temper and is used to getting his way, considering who he is that’s not weird at all. But he’s also very broody and moody and angsty which gives a complexity to his character than I wasn’t expecting. He’s a lot more vulnerable than he appears while at the same time being powerful enough to rule over his kingdom. Even with my love for the main characters, the side characters completely stole the show for me. They range from hilarious to annoying to downright infuriating but they’re all complex and well developed and they each have a specific purpose to the story and to help move it along.
I was actually a bit nervous to read this book because of the huge hype surrounding it but it’s so well deserved, guys.
The plot is intricate. We follow Shahrzad who volunteers to become the Caliph’s next wife even though he’s killed the wives before her always at dawn, including her best friend. The book started off slow for me. The world building kind of takes over in the beginning and begins to paint an amazing picture, incredibly beautiful I swear, but it didn’t catch my interest right away. Once the mystery was introduced and more of the characters were revealed, I was hooked and I wanted to know more and more about the story. Sharhzad gets such a limited view of what’s going on, she’s kept in the dark about a lot of things so it makes everything so much more suspenseful in that part of the story. Then we get glimpses of things from Khalid and some of the other characters but not enough to really reveal anything. There are so many different facets of this story. Shahrzad and her experience in the palace, her father and his weird decisions, childhood lover trying his best to save the day and the giant mystery. Everything is so slow and purposeful that the mystery isn’t actually the main point (you obviously think about it the whole time) but this gives room for the romance to slowly develop. It was amazinggg. It’s such a slow burn and it was so refreshing to see that kind of development in a YA novel. Yes, it has some issues which is not uncommon but I don’t really care! I loved it anyway, despite all the giant red flags it presented because of how emotional and powerful the connection ends up becoming. They have the potential to become one of my OTPs, they’re just not completely there yet.
Shahrzad is spicy haha, I don’t really know of any other way to describe her. She has a really strong personality, she’s stubborn and temperamental. She’s 100% sure of her thoughts and convictions, even when she starts to see that she doesn’t know the whole picture, she clings to what she believes is true. She tends to talk back and let her anger get the best of her that while at times could get really frustrating, it made her feel a lot more genuine and well rounded. She also shows a lot of love and a caring attitude towards her friends and loved ones. Shazi has a cold exterior and tries to come off as unemotional but she softens throughout the book and lets some of the new people she’s meeting into her life and into her heart. This causes an intense internal conflict between what she set out to do and how she ends up feeling within the palace and with Khalid. I really loved that development but I feel like she has so much more that she can grow to accomplish and I can’t wait to see how it plays out!
The side characters are my faves ya’ll! Khalid took me awhile to warm up to but once I did, gah *insert heart eye emoji here*. He’s such a sweet cinnamon roll who’s had such a hard life up to this point. He’s so broody and moody and dark but he lights up considerably while the book progresses. He finally begins to do what he wants and what he feels is right instead of being scared and tucking his tail and doing what is forced upon him. There’s another male character named Tariq and I hate him. With a giant passion. I haven’t hated someone this much since the Everneath trilogy which was two years ago. I’m not going to explain why but yeah. He should die. The only thing that I want to say about Shazi’s dad is that I think he’s an absolute nut job and he’s not helping anyone at all at any moment! Shazi makes a great friend in her handmaiden, Despina, who’s amazing!! I absolutely loved her to pieces. She didn’t take any of Shazi’s shit and gave back as much as she got. Their friendship develops so well and naturally despite stubbornness and secrets. Despina brought a lot of comic relief to such a heavy plot as is Jalal who is Khalid’s cousin and the sunshine to his rainstorm. Their relationship is a little rough but I am so hopeful that their bond will get stronger in the next book.
Overall, this book blew me away! The writing style is exquisite, the world building is amazing, the plot sinks it’s hooks into you without you know and all the characters are well developed and complex. I’m so anxious to see how this duology will end and I am heartbroken that there’s only two books. I NEED MORE THAN THAT!
So that’s it for this review! I need more people to talk about this book with, so if you’ve read it please let me know in the comments! I am so excited for the release of the second book at the end of this month! Eeeep! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post.