- The Wrath and the Dawn, Renee Ahdieh
This book was a bit of a surprise. I read it over the course of three weeks and managed to keep it all together. It's so beautifully put together and the descriptions are so vivid. At times the names were hard to keep up with but that didn't keep me from enjoying the book.
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. zad 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?
Shazi is a girl determined to kill. She comes to avenge the death of her best friend and she is determined to go through with it. When we begin the story its a bitter self sacrificing one. Shazi knows she will likely die but she is willingly to sacrifice herself to save future girls and families from the pain of losing a loved one. But of course as most stories go the bad guy wasn't what she was expecting. Khalid is quiet and sorrowful and as the story continues we see that he is just as determined to see the kingdom survive as Shazi is to see him dead. Or is she?
The way this story is worded is probably what I loved most. It is so beautifully pieced together and the descriptions literally make you feel as if you've been there before. The stories Shazi weaves are intriguing and oddly familiar. The tension every sunrise brings is a continual build up that keeps you reading long past your bed time. I loved every minute of this story. Until I got to the end. Then I just cried and looked up how long it would be till the sequel came out.
What threw me sometimes were the names. It was very easy to get the characters mixed up and most times the switch of perspectives was hard to keep up with. It would go to a different character and I would be lost for a few paragraphs (pages...?) before it would become clear who we were dealing with. I also got really lost at the ending. I had to reread it a few times to make sense of it all. All of this didn't keep me from loving the story though. It was just a bit faster paced then I would have liked it to be.
All in all the story was great. Shazi was spunky and Khalid was stubborn. The side characters (namely Jalal and Despina:) were awesome. The world was creative and filled with magic and mystery. If you love a good retelling then I would definitely recommend this.