The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publication: April 26th, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle Edition, 420 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Retellings, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Read: September 2016
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”
I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is an amazing sequel and finale. It’s so intense and full of twists and turns. This one in particular is a lot slower paced and it doesn’t have as much action but it doesn’t away from the excitement and power of the story. There’s a lot of different parts and pieces in place and deals with war, romance, betrayal and heartbreak. I loved it but it was not what I was expecting to happen.
Writing Style – 5 out of 5 stars
I absolutely love and adore Ahdieh’s writing style. It’s engaging and addictive. It makes the story really easy to read even though it’s poetic and lyrical. It’s beautiful, powerful and emotional. It packs a serious punch and manages to tell the story perfectly, both plot and writing fit well together. The writing is detailed and descriptive and I love reading it, just makes it so much fun to experience the book.
Characters – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I am utterly and completely in love with these characters. They are so real and so tangible even through the page that I couldn’t help but be enamored with them. Shahrzad is an amazing narrator and protagonist. I love her. She’s determined and so very smart. She’s powerful and self-reliant, though sometimes a little bit too much. She’s very sassy and she stands up for herself even when it’d be much better for her safety if she doesn’t. She knows how to spar verbally to kick some serious ass that way which I loved. She has a really strong temper and I loved her character development, I feel like she learns a lot about herself and her family in this sequel. Khalid breaks my heart, that poor baby. He’s still so broody and apologetic. But he’s also strong, and smart and just tenacious. He’s always ready and steady for any confrontation that comes his way, big or small. I loved how he did what was best for his country and not what he wanted to do, it shows a lot of integrity. I’m glad that we got to see a lot more from the side characters in this sequel. Not only ones that we came to love in the first book but also ones that were more behind the scenes. They’re all complex, interesting and intriguing. Their motivations and actions cause a lot of disruption and make the story that much more entertaining.
I was really apprehensive to read this book, I put it off for a long time after it came out and while I didn’t love it as much as the first one, it was still really great.
The plot is magical. We pick up where the first book left off as Shahrzad is in an enemy camp trying to keep her family safe while trying to find a way to safe Khalid and their kingdom from war and destruction. I honestly expected this book to be more action packed but it was more about strategy, conspiracies and finding a way to break Khalid’s awful curse. There wasn’t as many hard hitting scenes, we get more information about the Khalid’ enemies, what is happening with the people and the city, things like that. I liked it but at the same time, I fell in love with the first book because of the romance and I really missed that interactive part in this book. It’s not like it’s not mentioned, but because the two main characters are apart for a big chunk in the beginning, it made me feel a little bit disconnected from the things that I was learning about. I liked the variety of POVs since I feel like it lent well to the way the story was being told. Because there are so many more things going on in this one, we needed more perspectives and opinions. I particularly liked reading from Shahrzad’s sister’s point of view because she’s almost like the “lesser” sister, though not really. Because her big sister is so full of life she tends to be in the shadows and it was very interesting and entertaining to see how she felt about that and how she went about changing it because she didn’t like that feeling. I think the story was full of tension and intensity. I was on the edge of my seat as I was reading. But at the same time, I feel like some things were too easily resolved or not fleshed out enough. For example, Shahrzad’s powers and how they work. I still don’t really understand 1. why she has them and 2. how they work. It was just such a weird addition to the story that I couldn’t quite grasp why it was needed that made me disconnect as well. However, I lovedddd how the badass women were the ones to take control and managed to resolve the conflict (though yeah it was a bit too easy) and the epilogue was everything I ever wanted and more!
Shahrzad is one of my favorite female characters and favorite main characters. She’s fierce and powerful and smart. I love how resilient and tenacious she is. She knows she has to find a way to safe the people she loves so she puts her sole focus into that. Yet at the same time, that caused her to be more solitary. She didn’t trust the people that I thought she should have, specially with such a big burden. It became really frustrating to see her fight all by herself, not because she had no one to support her but because she was too stubborn, or too secretive, or too independent to let someone help her get stuff done. I feel like she improved on it as the book went on but it was too slow of a development for me of that in particular. However, I think her personality flaws just make her that much more real and complex as a character so yeah, it’s pretty easy for me to love her.
I want to talk about the side characters for just a little bit. Khalid is amazing, I absolutely adore him. He’s still such a brooding and moody hero but he’s become much more self aware I guess since Shahrzad. I love how their relationship is, he allows her the space to be herself, to be strong all the while knowing that he is just as powerful and he’s there to support her should she need it. I’m gonna be blatantly honest and say that I hate Tariq. I really do. He was really annoying in the first book but in this one I just felt like he imposed his thoughts and opinions on Shahrzad and she needed to hit him in the face for being such a douche. I didn’t like his presence specially since he always seemed to make matters worse for everyone. Irsa, Shahrzad’s little sister has probably the most extensive growth of a particular character in one book. She’s so sweet and kind but quiet and a bit scared of all the big things that are happening around her. But she manages to swallow back her fears and push forward. I hurt for her so so much in those last few chapters, I literally hurt for her and I just wanted to wrap her in my arms and help her be okay. Lastly I want to say that Artan is freaking hilarious, his presence was unexpected but totally welcome and I love his banter with Shahrzad. He definite should’ve made an appearance sooner because I kind of want to learn more about him.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this finale. The plot was intense and powerful though a lot slower than I expected and with less action. I feel like the conclusion to the story was well done and some things ripped my hears to shreds. I love the cast of characters (almost all), old and new and I think each one of them grows by leaps and bounds when needed. I can’t wait to read more books from this amazing author because her writing style and storytelling are gorgeous.
So that’s it for this post! I am so glad I finally got around to reading this book though I really put it off for quite some time. And I avoided Tumblr like the plague to make sure I wasn’t spoiled (which was a success by the way). I would love to know if you’ve read this book and what you thought. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!