The Wrath and the Dawn (Review)

Monday, August 24, 2015
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Retelling
Page Length: 388 pages
Format: Hardcover (purchased)

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh left me breathless.  It took me several months to work up the courage to read this highly-anticipated and highly-reviewed book, but I am so glad that I finally dove in.  From the very beginning, Ahdieh weaves a tale to remember.  Her writing is absolutely exquisite, flowing from one chapter to the next like liquid gold.  She truly has a way with words, and I was captivated by every page.  Ahdieh made sure that the reader was fully immersed in the story and culture, constructing mouth-watering descriptions of the meals and beautiful imagery to make the story shine.

What shined the most for me, however, were the characters.  In fact, with the exception of three or four people, I loved each and every character in the book.

Shahrzad was a fantastic female protagonist, who was sharp-tongued, stubborn, but also very honest.  Although I’ve found that characters with similar traits in other books can be frustrating, I could not help but love her as a character, especially her sheer determination and willpower.  She fights her own battles, with the worst ones seeming to be ones from within.  Despite all her turmoil and struggles, she manages to stay strong and make decisions.  Some of her antics I would consider crazy, but that just made her a better, more intriguing protagonist.  She acknowledged her flaws, and was willing to look past others’ to see their full potential.  Shahrzad was a wonderful and fascinating character, and I loved following her on her journey from the first page until the very end.

Khalid was an enigma of his own.  He could come across as cold at many points during the story, but during others I couldn’t help but fall in love with him as Shahrzad did.  He had many demons, and although he had his secrets, he almost always had Shahrzad’s best interest at heart.  I think out of all the characters, Khalid was my favorite (with Shahrzad coming in a close second, or perhaps tied with him).  I am often a sucker for mysterious and gorgeous royals with secrets, so it was not much of a surprise when I found myself loving Khalid.  He was hard to crack, but when he did, he was passionate and caring and just… So adorable.  Yes, the “monster” is adorable.  Once you break down his walls and thaw his icy and tormented heart, he is really just a boy.

I will not go into detail in fear of spoilers, but let’s just say I hated both Tariq and Shahrzad’s dad even more than the “bad guys”.  And that’s saying something, considering the fact that the bad guys were pretty... well… bad.  It had nothing to do with the writing at all, but something about them both just completely rubbed me the wrong way even from the start, so I hated reading from their perspectives...


Shahrzad and Khalid both resisted their romance for so long, but the whole time it just felt so right.  The romance grew slowly, and when it finally blossomed, it was stunning.  Although their relationship often seemed like two steps forward and one step back, I just felt so much joy knowing that they were moving somewhere.  Shahrzad and Khalid often contrasted like day and night, the sun and the moon, or even dawn and dusk, yet they also seemed so similar--so broken--that together, they just seemed whole.  They loved each other with such radiance that even a million suns could not outshine the beauty of their love.

Overall, Ahdieh wove a masterpiece of a story: the characters were each unique and (mostly) loveable, with even the minor characters having a special depth to them, the world-building was stunning and informative without a single info-dump in sight, and everything about the novel was just brilliant.  The ending left me reeling, and if anything could make me truly happy right now, it would be having the sequel in my hands.  I cannot wait to read the rest of Shahrzad and Khalid's beautiful tale, and I could never thank Renée Ahdieh enough for making her wonderful retelling of A Thousand and One Nights a reality.

Rating: ✪✪✪

About The Wrath and the Dawn (via Goodreads):

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One NightsThe Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

12 comments :

  1. I loved how the characters stood out to you the most. For me, it was the cultural aspects that were infused into the story to make it more real and entertaining. The writing was something else. But this is my favorite book of 2015 so far and it's definitely making my top list of favorite books of all time since it was so beautifully written. Loved this review and I'm so glad you loved the book. I haven't seen a single bad review :D

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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    1. Thanks, Alex!!! I totally agree that the cultural aspects were absolutely amazing as well. That was another one of my favorite parts. She made the story seem so much more authentic and real with all the glorious details. It's definitely one of my favorites as well! :D

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  2. YAAAAAY FOR THIS GLORIOUS BOOK!! I'm glad you liked it too. :D It's been one of my top favourites for this year because fajskdlafd I'm pretty sure it was 10000% perfect. (Except for Tariq's chapters. Ugh. I would happily have just never heard from him ever again. -_-) And the ending. OMG THE ENDING. So devestating. It's so hard to wait for the next book!!

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    1. I know!!!! I would prefer if Tariq fell into that well in that one scene and never came out -_- I loved that Omar put him in his place though. THE ENDING GAVE ME ALL THE FEELS. I NEED THE SEQUEL. Like, right now.

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  3. I too hated Tariq and her father! And what's interesting is that there are so many similarities between Tariq and Khalid. I loved this book!!! And now I'm waiting for the sequel! So so good! Www.livingalifeinbooks.blogspot.com

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    1. Hmmm... I didn't notice any, but you're probably right. I was concentrating too hard on how idiotic Tariq was being, but ultimately they both are giving up everything to "save" or "protect" Shahrzad... I just hate Tariq because he kind of acts like a know-it-all and runs around thinking he knows what's best for Shahrzad. And he reminds me of one of my least favorite characters from another series too, so that sure didn't help either. I NEED THE SEQUEL NOW. I need to know what happens next!!

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  4. I've heard so many great reviews for this one, and it's nice to hear that the characters were fantastic, as well as a growing relationship between the characters (yay, no instalove!) and I can't stand instalove because it's just so unrealistic. Really well written review!! :)

    Olivia @ Fictionally Obsessed

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    1. Thanks so much, Olivia!!!! I totally agree -- instalove is definitely unrealistic. You should definitely definitely read it when you get the chance!

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  5. Yay!! I'm glad you loved this book so much, AJ! I agree with what you said about Shahrzad and Khalid - I absolutely adored both of their characters and their relationship. I can't wait to read what happens in book two!

    Julia Anne @ Peach Print

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    1. Thanks, Julia Anne!!! AHHHHHH SHAHRZAD AND KHALID <33333333 I love them so muchhhhh (sorry for my intense fangirling)

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  6. I LOVED THIS BOOK! Renee Ahdieh has such a beautiful writing style and her descriptions of food and the culture was just glorious! AND THE SHIP! Khalid and Shazi was the ship of all ships, and I loved them to death! I am so eager to read the sequel!

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    1. I totally agree!!! They're definitely my OTP and Tariq needs to go leave. Without Shahrzad. LEAVE. Anyway, I am really excited for the sequel too :) (And the book made me start using the word glorious. A lot.)

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