The Wrath and the Dawn by Reneé Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Published: May 12, 2015
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?
I was sooo close to rating this book five stars because it was absolutely enchanting, but there were a few things that held me back from giving it the penultimate rating.
Ahdieh’s writing is absolutely transporting – I felt as though I were truly a part of the story and the tension kept me on the edge of my seat. However, in a few places, I felt that the situation or scenery was being explained to me rather than shown to me which seemed disjointed when compared to the prose surrounding these sections. There was also a lot of terminology that had me flipping to the glossary in the back during the middle of the story because the word wasn’t explained other than a vague reference to it “an endearment” or “a title.” This part helped to build the world of the story once the meanings were understood but was a little annoying at the beginning.
Hate-to-love romance is one of my favorite tropes of all time, which is my way of saying I loved the romance. Shazi and Khalid provide perfect foils for each other, pointing out each other’s weaknesses and strengths and helping each other flourish. There is a side romance between two characters that I also love and is further explored in a companion novella which I will be reading and reviewing later.
The one other issue I had with with this book was a plot point that seemed odd to me. It is mentioned repeatedly that Shazi is close with a very important and powerful family in this book who is one of Khalid’s bannermen. It was very strange to me that Shazi was not familiar with any of Khalid’s past, given that he was the King of Kings and would likely be talked about in the powerful circles. That being said, I don’t know enough about the court life and communication of the time period to know whether the personal life of the Caliph would be known among the nobility.
I absolutely cannot wait to read the sequel because this installment was absolutely amazing! I don’t want this story to end!