About time, right?! Right. Here’s my thoughts on the book that’s been on various TBRs of mine since the start of the year *hides in shame*
Spoiler Free Review
Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Published: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015
(from GR) 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.
It has taken me SO long to read this book. It’s been on my shelf for forever – and as a YA read, that’s really saying something! – and every time I’ve reached for it, something else has pulled my attention away. But here we are – I’ve finally read this book. I read it mostly on a long train journey, completely immersed and finished it a few days ago. A really enjoyable read!
I love reading stories in worlds completely separate from my own. I feel as if I kind of fall into the world easier, and just become completely ensconced. It was the same with this book. I enjoyed learning about the area, about the lifestyle and the culture. I enjoyed learning about the conflicts in the area and the history behind the reign of Khalid. It felt completely real, even though there were certain magical elements to this story.
Sharhzad was the type of character I really root for – determined, not to be tested and strong in her own beliefs. I enjoyed watching her confound the members of the court and see that she was unlike the other brides. I liked the fact that she didn’t simply fall at Khalid’s feet – she saw him as a person with as much power as she had and wouldn’t bow down to him. I enjoyed that side of her personality.
I liked watching Khalid and Shahrzad get to know one another, and loved the fact that old myths were weaved into their own story, mirroring what was happening to our own characters. It added to the mystical aura the book had. Their courtship was angsty with a good dollop of will-she-or-won’t-she, and that’s always fun!
Additionally, the plot was really strong. I felt like I knew what was happening but wasn’t guessing ahead. I enjoyed the pace of the book – the slowness of their blossoming relationship whilst other parts of the plot picked up the pace. I wouldn’t say this book was action-packed at all, apart from getting faster at the conclusion. But that’s not really – in my opinion – what this book showcases. For me, it shows beautiful writing, a growing and shaping of characters and how a book can seamlessly weave ordinary with mythical.
There were parts of the story that I struggled to get behind, and the main one was the fact that Shahrzad starts to fall for a man that has killed others, namely her best friend. As the story unfolds you find out more about what happened to Khalid and why the killings were happening, but I’m still not sure I could have pursued someone like that, regardless of the situation. I can see how it can happen, and I appreciated that it wasn’t WHAM BAM LOVE – but for me it was something difficult to digest.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars!
An atmospheric, mystical story. I’m definitely glad I read this book – FINALLY – and I’m gonna be on the lookout for the next one soon. Have you read this? What were your thoughts?