Series: The Wrath & the Dawn #1
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers Length: 2015-05-12
Reviewing Kindle from Amazon
Reading Challenges: COYER 2021
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.
Growing up, I was always fascinated by Arabian Nights and Aladdin and of course the mysterious Scheherazade or Shahrazad. I watched so many cartoons and retellings that I lost count! So when I first stumbled across The Wrath & the Dawn, it is no wonder I bought it immediately. Sad to say though, it sat on my shelf far too long. Lenore @ Celebrity Readers asked if I wanted to buddy read this one for the #COYER retelling readathon, and I jumped at the chance. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is a beautifully written, heart-aching story about finding love despite the odds.
The story begins with Shahrzad marrying the Caliph of Rey (King of Kings), one of many brides who die every dawn. She seeks revenge for her best friend who died at the Caliph’s hands. However, once in the palace, Shahrzad quickly realizes there is more to the Caliph than the monster he presents to the public, and she is determined to learn the truth before her own neck meets the silk rope.
I love Shahrzad. She is cunning and loyal, cares to a fault, and loves fiercely. I do not believe I’d have had her courage to volunteer to be one of the many brides, knowing that I most likely would die the next morning. Her gift for storytelling and her honesty with the Caliph are what saves her. She realizes that he is observant and would notice a lie so she makes the decision to tell him the truth or just not answer 😉
Khalid, the Caliph of Rey, is not much older than Shazi. He is cold and calculating, yet behind that monstrous mask is a lonely boy. He is drawn to Shazi, her honesty and the fact that she refuses to show that she fears him is endearing to him. I personally fell in love with Khalid as the story progressed as did Shazi. It was easy to when you see the loyalty of his closest advisors.
Trouble arises for the Caliph and Shazi when her first love Tariq arrives at the palace. He is there to save Shazi, but does she want to be saved? I like Tariq. He’s floundering and struggling, ready to go to war for the cousin he lost and the girl he loves. But he’s fighting for all the wrong reasons. Something Shahrzad is learning herself.
Overall I really enjoyed The Wrath & the Dawn. The characters are fully fleshed out, the world is immersive, and I adored Shazi and Khalid. The side characters are amazing. I loved Despina and the Rajput and Jalal. There is so much I want to say, but fear spoiling it. If you like adventure and romance, I highly recommend this one for your shelf!