Emily May's Reviews > The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
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bookshelves: arc, young-adult, 2015, fantasy

“Make sure they never forget. You are the Calipha of Khorasan, and you have the ear of a king.” She bent forward and lowered her voice. “And, most important, you are a fearsome thing to behold in your own right.”

My original plan was to finish this book tonight and then write up a review tomorrow, but after that ending, I just can't stop thinking about it and I need to get my thoughts down right now. In short: I enjoyed this book very much. Way more than I expected to, to tell the truth. And I guess you should know that, though there are many elements of fantasy and action, it is primarily a romance. And yet...

It completely melted my cold, unromantic heart.

Where should I start? The Wrath and the Dawn was a deliciously angsty, sexy romance inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. If you know me, you know how often I complain about romances - either the guy's a jerk, the girl's annoying or they fall into some crazy instalove that just leaves me bored. Well, I finally found a romance where I just loved the characters, totally obsessed over what would happen, and finished the final page with a pounding heart.

My god, what has this book done to me?

This story is about Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, who takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. When Shahrzad's friend becomes the Caliph's victim, Shazi volunteers herself with a plan to outwit the evil ruler and exact revenge. In a similar way to Keturah and Lord Death, Shazi extends her date with death by telling Khalid a story and promising only to reveal what happens next if he should let her live another day.

As it turns out, of course, nothing is as it first seems and Khalid is hiding many secrets. The relationship between the two develops from seething hatred (on Shazi's part) to reluctant companions to something much more. I've been craving a romance that feels genuine in its development and actually has me wondering how things will turn out (and, god help me, the jury's still out on that last point). The dialogue between them is addictive and feels natural... and don't you just love stories within stories?

Though I said this book is primarily a romance, there are many other things that need mentioning. There are some beautiful descriptions of the palace, for one thing, and a wonderful cast of secondary characters that all feel important to the story and not just throwaway. Jalal is charming and hilarious, Despina is a source of much-needed female friendship for Shazi, Yasmine is intriguing and bitchy (but kinda in a good way) and Tariq inspired a mixture of love/hate feelings in me.

Sure, it's not a perfect book. I definitely think Shazi didn't try so hard to get her revenge and missed a bunch of opportunities, and I was a little frustrated with how long it took Khalid to trust her with his secret. But, oh well.

If you're partial to a bit of romance, then hear me out. A book which contains lines like the following and manages to make me swoon instead of rolling my eyes must be something kind of special:

“My soul sees its equal in you.”

and

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”


God, I love the two of them. And I need book two.

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Reading Progress

November 18, 2014 – Shelved
April 4, 2015 – Started Reading
April 4, 2015 –
page 99
25.52%
April 4, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 64 (64 new)


message 1: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose This book was one of my highly anticipated reads for this year, Emily. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I look forward to reading it!


Deyse So happy with this review, this seems like the romance on Cruel Beauty and I absolutely loved that one.


message 3: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica Beth I didn't realize this was a series! Was there a cliffhanger?


Emily May Rose wrote: "This book was one of my highly anticipated reads for this year, Emily. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I look forward to reading it!"

Thank you, Rose! Hope you enjoy it too :)


Emily May Bound with wrote: "So happy with this review, this seems like the romance on Cruel Beauty and I absolutely loved that one."

Actually, yes! That's kind of what it was like, in terms of the dynamic between them.


Emily May Jessica wrote: "I didn't realize this was a series! Was there a cliffhanger?"

Hmm, yeah, it was a bit cliffhangerish. I think it seemed worse to me because there were a few blank pages at the back of my ebook so I was expecting it to be longer and was really surprised to discover it ended like that.


message 7: by Jessica (last edited Apr 04, 2015 09:51PM) (new) - added it

Jessica Beth Emily May wrote: "Jessica wrote: "I didn't realize this was a series! Was there a cliffhanger?"

Hmm, yeah, it was a bit cliffhangerish. I think it seemed worse to me because there were a few blank pages at the back..."


Thanks for the response! Your review got me all excited for this one :)


message 8: by shanghao (new) - added it

shanghao I hardly read romance, but from your review it seems this is on the less cheesy side and I love 1001 nights stories! Might give this a read.


message 9: by Bianca (new) - added it

Bianca You had me at "It completely melted my cold, unromantic heart."


message 10: by Patrycja (new)

Patrycja Fab review Babe ;)


Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ Aww. Beautiful review, Emily :)


message 12: by L DelaRG (new) - added it

L DelaRG Huh, there's also another book coming out later this year that is also based on 1001 Nights: A Thousand Nights by EK Johnson. They both sound interesting though.


message 13: by Namra (new) - added it

Namra Amazing review Emily! Can't wait to read this one. :)


Emily May Thank you, everyone :)


Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell OMG, I love 1001 nights. I've even watched that cheesy 90s version of it (and read the film novelization *cringe*).

THIS LOOKS AWESOME. *____*


message 16: by Turkan (new) - added it

Turkan Taskin Great review Emily! You've really made me want to read this now :D


Vanessa J. It completely melted my cold, unromantic heart.

LOL, Emily. I loved that line. I'm going to try it. Your comparison to 1001 nights intrigues me... and I also want to see if a romance manages to warm my heart too Great review!


message 18: by Jay (new)

Jay Awesome review


Errin That last quote *dies* This is one of my highest anticipated books this year! I am sucker for romance and now I'm even more hyped from your review!


message 20: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue (Hollywood News Source) So happy you like it Emily! This one is a stellar debut.


message 21: by Ons (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ons Amazing review . I'm so excited about reading it.


Emily May Ons wrote: "Amazing review . I'm so excited about reading it."

Thank you! hope you enjoy it too :)


Anabel (inthebookcorner) Even more excited to read this now!!


Noémy Ooooh a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights? love it, i've just added it to my TBR, dang it!


Noelia Lucia Sold!


message 26: by Rade (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rade This sounds a bit like "cruel beauty". Thanks for the recommendation! :-D I just wonder about one tthing: is there a love triangle?


message 27: by carinne (new) - added it

carinne It sounds somewhat like Arabian nights.


Emily May Rade wrote: "This sounds a bit like "cruel beauty". Thanks for the recommendation! :-D I just wonder about one tthing: is there a love triangle?"

Not really. I don't want to say too much in case I give away any spoilers, but Shahrzad's first love appears throughout the book and still has feelings for her, though it's clear she no longer feels the same.


Emily May carinne wrote: "It sounds somewhat like Arabian nights."

Yeah, it's based on the Arabian Nights stories.


message 30: by carinne (new) - added it

carinne Sounds like I might enjoy :)


message 31: by Ju (last edited Apr 26, 2015 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ju Great review, Emily! Those last 2 quotes are swoon-worthy somehow?? It's like the cheesiness just disappeared somewhere and was replaced by likable angst. Wow, I need to get my hands on this.


Emily May Thank you! And, right?? It should be cheesy but it just... worked. Hope you love this too!


Helena Awesome review! Like you, I fell in love with this book.. :)


Emily May Helena wrote: "Awesome review! Like you, I fell in love with this book.. :)"

Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it too :)


message 35: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa Now you're making me really curious about this book.


Hillary "My God what has this book done to me." I feel the same way. I have started to read read it because I can't stop thinking about it. some reviews were kind of negative and so I'm glad I'm not the only one who loved it.


Emily May Hillary wrote: ""My God what has this book done to me." I feel the same way. I have started to read read it because I can't stop thinking about it. some reviews were kind of negative and so I'm glad I'm not the on..."

I know, I'm surprised about the negativity because it's easily one of the better YA romances I've read this year.


message 38: by Highwind (last edited May 30, 2015 09:28PM) (new) - added it

Highwind Emily May wrote: I know, I'm surprised about the negativity because it's easily one of the better YA romances I've read this year.
I think it's because it promised different things than it delivered. From the first few chapters it looked like it was going to be a dangerous fantasy adventure. But pretty much nothing happened except romance. Shazi was so gungho about her revenge... and yet she was hanging around the palace not even trying to come up with a plan. In short, it was as if the author ignored everything for the sake of romance, and the cover description doesn't really come off that way, so for a lot of people it was like "nothing happens in that book, why do they keep comparing Shazi to a bird of prey if she does nothing for 300 pages?" At least that's what a lot of negative reviews say (and mine would too, if I weren't too lazy to write it.)
It's not that it is a bad book, but it felt like it failed to deliver on its promise and premise.


Kandes I'm so glad you liked it! I haven't even heard of this book but I received it in the mail from Uppercase & your review has me stoked to read it even though it seems like it normally wouldn't be my cuppa tea.


Jessica That ending killed me! Now we have to wait a year for the second book?!


Charlie Wow, great review! I can't wait to read this!


Nicole Duer Thank you for your amazing reviews. I have read so many great books since following you and it's all thanks to your thoughtful reviews. You make me laugh and and always manage to make a book gnaw at me until I finally pick it up and read it. This book was no different, I practically gobbled it up.


Emily May Nicole wrote: "Thank you for your amazing reviews. I have read so many great books since following you and it's all thanks to your thoughtful reviews. You make me laugh and and always manage to make a book gnaw..."

Thank you for saying that, Nicole ^_^ I'm so glad you enjoy my reviews! Seriously, your kind comment really brightened my day :)


Danielle Marie i just finished reading it...and i'm crawling out of my skin...i need the second book!!!! the quotes you posted were perfect btw...<3 and really nice review....! :D


Samantha I must admit, I now scan a books page to see if you've reviewed it yet. lol, they're always pretty on point. :)


Sarina Wow. After reading your review of "A Thousand Nights" by E.K. Johnston, I came to this review. And the way you referred to "Keturah and Lord Death"(which is a magnificent fairytale in my eyes, by the way :3 ), my eagerness to try this book out has certainly been heightened! Just tell me this, which retelling should I try first, you think? This one, or "A Thousand Nights"?


Emily May Sarina wrote: "Wow. After reading your review of "A Thousand Nights" by E.K. Johnston, I came to this review. And the way you referred to "Keturah and Lord Death"(which is a magnificent fairytale in my eyes, by t..."

Thank you :) They are very different so it really depends what you're in the mood for! For more romance and fast-paced drama, definitely try this one. For a deeper, more literary work, check out A Thousand Nights.


Jamie Love your reviews! Now im excited to read this!


Roxanne I picked this up last night because of your review, and I agree with your review wholeheartedly. Such an enjoyable read!


rikki This review pretty much sums up my thoughts as well. I just finished it, and it's actually dawn right now


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