Like reading books on Aladdin and settings in the Middle East?
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is the first in a YA fantasy series set around Middle Eastern-type kingdom.
“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 never really had intentions to read this book. But after hearing about it at a book conference last year, I decided to pick it up.
Months later, I decided it was time to pick this sucker up. After reading the first few chapters, I still wasn’t too hooked on the story, but I kept reading…
And then… I was all of a sudden hooked and loving it! Maybe I just wasn’t connected to the world building, but once our main character began to experience her new life I couldn’t put this book down!
One of the aspects of the plot that you will notice is that there is ALOT of secrecy between the characters and between you and the story. You don’t know too much on what is happening until a chunk of the way into the book, but I think that adds to the storyline. At least for me, I was frustrated. The caliph is stubborn in his ways, and it seemed as though everyone knew his reasons behind the murders, but he kept us and anyone outside his circle in the dark. I was just as frustrated at him as Shahrzad was.. which is saying a lot lol.
Even though the setting is in a fantasy kingdom, I always set the story in a Middle Eastern society. I didn’t see a specific area, but I commonly saw a desert/Egyptian society/Middle East combination with a mountainy landscape. One of my favorite scenes involved an Aladdin- retelling. Now this book is not an Aladdin-retelling. There are subtle elements that have this story contained in them, but if you are looking for an all-out retelling, you will not be satisfied. You will also see an even more subtle introduction to a magical element in the plotline. I think this may be touched on more in the next books, and I am excited to see where that goes.
I really liked the connection between the caliph and Shahrzad. There seemed to be a strong connection (not saying good or bad) with very little romance involved. To be honest, I rooted for them and not the pushy other-guy who I found to be annoying 😦 So much happens between all of the characters that I really want to see where they go in the next book. The inner struggles of Shahrzad between the caliph and her beloved friend helped to push her to develop into a new person by the end of the story. It was fun to see how it happened. We definitely see the struggle between what’s right and what’s wrong.
I give this start to the series 5 out of 5 stars. Even though it was hard to get into, this book was amazing! The ending felt like a total cliffhanger, but good thing the second book has recently been released 🙂 There are so many secrets and mystery that you will be kept on your toes! I really enjoyed this world, and I can’t wait to see the after-effects of the final scene. Literally the last few pages confused and intrigued me SO MUCH!
More Book Information:
Published: 12 May 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / (sort-of) Retelling
How I Read It: Hardcover
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