Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Fiction
Book Jacket Synopsis: “In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster – a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain – but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever. Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid – a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive. The sumptuous saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.”
Review: Once again, I have to commend whoever is in charge of cover design for Ahdieh’s books. Seriously, these covers are beautiful. Aesthetics aside, however, I did find that The Rose and the Dagger couldn’t quite live up to the precedent set by The Wrath and the Dawn. My best guess for why I didn’t enjoy The Rose and the Dagger as much is because Khalid and Shahrzad did not reunite until a third of the way through the book. Let me clarify; I wasn’t frustrated because Shahrzad and Khalid had problems and I wanted an immediate happy ending. I was frustrated because Shahrzad and Khalid’s interactions really drive the plot in a way that other character interactions simply cannot. For that reason, the first third of the book felt like it dragged for me. Additionally, many of the major conflicts in The Rose and the Dagger felt like they were too easily resolved. For example, the tricky task of stealing a book of dark magic from Shahrzad and Irsa’s power-hungry father, Baba, was accomplished with a simple sleeping potion. Even when the plan becomes derailed due to an ill-targeted arrow, Baba still does not wake up until the book has been safely dispatched. It all felt just a bit too easy. And while I do appreciate that Ahdieh did not create unnecessary conflict, such as in the rather one-sided Tariq-Shahrzad-Khalid love triangle, at times it also felt like she didn’t create enough conflict. On a high note, The Rose and the Dagger was filled with twists and turns that kept me guessing. All in all, this book is still one that I would absolutely recommend, but I did enjoy its predecessor a bit more.