Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “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 beings 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?”
Review: I think Marie Lu said it best when she called The Wrath and the Dawn an “intoxicating gem of a story.” I have to admit, I was first drawn to this book solely because of the cover; it has to be one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve seen in a long time. Due to these circumstances, I didn’t really have any expectations when I started reading The Wrath and the Dawn. After finishing (and given that it is Ahdieh’s debut novel), I was astounded by this book. Taking place in Khorasan (a historical region lying in northeastern Persia), The Wrath and the Dawn is an illustrious adventure that takes inspiration from A Thousand and One Nights. All of the characters, from main characters Shahrzad and Khalid down to supplementary characters Despina and Vikram, are fascinating, original, and multi-faceted. This book is so much more than a romance or simple love story; it is equal parts a tale of revenge, loyalty, secrets, mystery, stories, betrayal, and love. Characters aside, Ahdieh does a tremendous job of transporting her reader into the world she has created, with vivid descriptions of scenery, food, colors, and smells. While I am not as familiar with A Thousand and One Nights as I am with other folklore and fairy tales, I know enough to appreciate the subtle nuances in The Wrath and the Dawn that pay homage to the original tale. I really couldn’t find any fault within this novel, even when I tried to poke my own holes in the plot. For example, I was initially perplexed by the fact that, despite having never visited any of his other brides after their weddings and before their dawn deaths, Khalid decides to visit Shahrzad. However, upon further contemplation, I realized that Shahrzad is the first and only volunteer bride. This simple fact would have likely peaked Khalid’s curiosity, to the point that he had to know why someone like her would choose certain death. Throughout The Wrath and the Dawn, Ahdieh managed to answer all of my most pressing questions. What a tremendous read! I’m really excited for the second and final book, The Rose and the Dagger.
“All our lives are forfeit, sayyidi. It is just a question of when. And I would like one more day.”