Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn
By Renee Ahdieh
Published: May 12, 2015

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.

My review:

I wanted to read this book because it is inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, a story I've always found fascinating. The Wrath and the Dawn is probably my most anticipated debut of 2015 and unlike some of the other books that ended up disappointing me, for the most part I was really pleased with this.

Shahrzad volunteers to be Khalid's bride with the intention of finding a way to kill him. He has been marrying and killing girls one after the other including Shazi's best friend, Shiva. Shazi's choice devastates her father and sister and Tariq, the boy she's cared for since childhood. As she tries to survive inside the palace walls and find a way to stop Khalid, her father and Tariq pursue dangerous paths to eliminate Khalid's rule. When Khalid turns out to not be the monster she expected it becomes harder and harder for Shazi to stay the course especially when she falls in love with him.

Shahrzad is a brave and intelligent heroine though she is rather quick to fall for a man she holds responsible for the death of her friend and many others even though he does have his reasons. At first it seemed that there would be a love triangle but Shahrzad makes her choice clear by the end of the book. While the romance wasn't always easy to buy into (kind of hard to overlook the dead girls like the proverbial elephant in the room), Khaled gains some sympathy as the book progresses. He becomes less of a monster in the eyes of the reader as his secrets are revealed but he is not the ideal hero. Thankfully there are other things besides romance going on in the novel. 

The Wrath and the Dawn has an interesting setting with historical and cultural details, elements of mythology and fairy tale and magic. The descriptions are sumptuous, especially the food and the clothing. The magic in the book involves blood sacrifice and so far is only shown occasionally but will likely have an even bigger part to play in the sequel. Shahrzad tells a few tales but not as many as I'd have liked. One of her tales is that of Bluebeard and it nicely ties in with her own situation of being married to Khalid. There are other fairy tale nods to Aladdin especially with Shazi sharing some of his story as well as the tale of a genie and a magic rug. 

Overall I thought this was a great debut. It was suspenseful with political intrigue and light fantasy elements. I cared about Shazi, wanting to know what would happen to her. The book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts so I can't wait to find out what happens next.


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! I have been very curious about it. I love that it includes fantasy elements as well as suspense, political intrigue, etc. Sounds like my kind of read! Great review!

  2. I've heard nothing but great things about this!

  3. So glad to hear you like this one!! Hopefully I'll be reading it soon!


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