Micheline's Reviews > The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
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really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, romance, fantasy, fairytales-retellings, love-the-romance

*An ARC was provided by Razorbill Canada in exchange for an honest review.*

The Wrath & The Dawn is one of those books I just knew I had to read the moment I read the blurb. Even though I haven't actually read the story that inspired it, A Thousand and One Nights, I'm familiar with the tale, so I was eager to dive into this re-imagining of such a classic. I'm pleased to say that this one managed to sweep me away with it's atmospheric setting, forbidden romance - and leave me begging for more!

The Wrath & The Dawn tells the story of a kingdom crippled by fear. Their young ruler takes a new bride every night, only to have her slaughtered at dawn, when the whole cycle repeats itself over and over again. When the story begins, our wonderful protagonist Shahrzad, or Shazi for short, offers herself up voluntarily as the king's next bride, after losing her best friend to his deadly rituals. But Shahrzad is not your run-of-the-mill heroine and she has a plan to end this madness once and for all. She will stop the king. At all costs. Obviously, I would have been hard-pressed not to be won over by Shazi when she takes on such a noble task, right from the start. She has an understated strength to her character, one I've rarely come across in young-adult fiction. She had a quiet grace about her, one that she carries with her throughout being moved to the king's palace and facing her certain and imminent death.

The Wrath & The Dawn was most impressive because of it's atmosphere. I was transported into a rich, vivid Arabian-nights setting and that was easily one of my favorite aspects of the book. I adore desert-settings and everything that goes with them so I guess it shouldn't be surprising that I fell in love with this world! From the wardrobe, the cuisine, the dialect and the customs, it was clear from the word go that author Renée Ahdieh knows her stuff because every single detail felt overwhelmingly authentic to me. I was left with a major feeling of wanderlust that simply will not let go and to me, that says a lot about the quality of writing on display here. And while we're on the subject of writing, the prose throughout here was simply beautiful, the words painted a vivid picture and seemed to flow like poetry. Sigh.

As the blurb suggests, despite all odds, there is a romance that develops between Shazi and the Caliph Khalid. Initially, I was worried about that aspect because the blurb almost makes it sound like an insta-love sort of deal but I am happy to say that that wasn't the case. When Shazi survives her first dawn, you know something's brewing but Ahdieh takes her time with their relationship. It's clear that both parties are intrigued by one another - neither one is what the other expected to be sure, but they do not trust each other. Not by a long shot. The whole issue of Khalid being a murderer is not glossed over either. Shahrzad struggles with what she knows to be true and the enigma that is the boy in front of her throughout the book. The brief glimpses that we get of Khalid's perspective hint that there is more to this nightmare than meets the eye, but that's a mystery is only made clear well into the story - and I savored every instant of it. Those of you who know me know that I can be harsh on YA romances, but I couldn't help but get completely sucked into this one. And you will too because it is wonderful and glorious all at once! Gah!

The Wrath & The Dawn surprised and impressed me at every turn. It's characters are fleshed out and varied, the pacing was steady with it's fair share of intrigue but all of that pales in comparison to it's setting and romance. I even enjoyed the telling of stories within the story, like Aladdin and Bluebeard! There's only one thing that bugged me about this book: the ending. The ending is basically one giant cliffhanger for book 2. Kind of like one book split into two parts that stops at the.worst.possible.moment. My main issue with this is quite simply the fact that I AM DYING to know what happens next. O.O I can totally picture readers who hate cliffhangers chucking the book across the room once they finish it. I seriously considered it myself, but held back because who could do that to this pretty?! But hey; if that's not a testament to how good the story was, I don't know what is. That need to go on with the story will not be satisfied until I can hold The Rose & The Dagger in my hands and bask in it's pages. Ending aside, this was a supremely absorbing read. Fans of forbidden romance and colourful/unique settings should hurry up and get themselves a copy of this one!

This review was previously featured on my blog: Photobucket
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Reading Progress

December 7, 2014 – Shelved
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: young-adult
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: romance
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy
December 7, 2014 – Shelved as: fairytales-retellings
February 4, 2015 – Started Reading
February 4, 2015 –
page 101
26.03% "Already hooked!"
February 10, 2015 –
page 204
52.58% "*swoon*"
February 16, 2015 – Finished Reading
April 30, 2015 – Shelved as: love-the-romance

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