Book Review: The Wrath and The Dawn

I had extremely high expectations going into this book. Since joining the world of bookstagram and book blogging, this book has been on my radar. It is one of the books I saw talked about, raved about, and recommended the most. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it and found it was a nice, quick read. However, I wouldn’t say that I was blown away by it, but I think that’s just a personal thing. It seems to take more these days for a book to really blow me away. Here’s a few of my thoughts.

Summary: The Wrath and the Dawn is a re-telling of One Thousand and One Nights and follows a young woman called Shahrzad who marries the Caliph Khalid, who is known for murdering his brides each night. Desperate to avenge her best friend, a victim of the Caliph, Shahrzad volunteers to marry him with the intention of killing him herself. Managing to trick the Caliph into letting her live her first night, Shahrzad begins a dangerous game with some twists that she never would have anticipated.

Writing: The writing flowed well and was easy to follow. My favourite part was the descriptions of the food, the clothing and the setting. It was all very evocative and having never read anything set in a middle-eastern (I believe) setting. It was really beautiful and I enjoyed the way that Ahdieh wove her world together – it was poetic, yet simple.

Plot: Going into this, I felt that I already knew the plot. I’ve heard so much about it and I didn’t really expect to be surprised. However, the story was interesting and fast-paced and I didn’t find myself getting bored. However, I did have one, more major problem with the plot (spoilers ahead). I was really intrigued to see how Shazi tricked him into letting her live that first night and I have to say that I was… pretty let down. I just found it really difficult to believe, especially when it was revealed why he was killing his brides near the end. If the situation was so dire, how did Shazi telling him a story distract him? Surely he would guess that she was trying to deceive him, and surely he would find it extremely difficult to forget, even for a moment, that he had to kill her? I just found it to be quite a weak point and since so much relied on it, I couldn’t really get past it. Of course, Khalid does cave and almost have her murdered the next night (or the night after), which I found to be more realistic given his situation.

Characters: I really liked Shazi! I found her to be kick-ass, brave, interesting and smart. She didn’t embody a stereotypical kick-ass character whose arrogance is overwhelmingly painful, but nor did she doubt herself. I just found her to be very refreshing, and it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why. She didn’t really behave how I expected her to. She is both extremely tough – she doesn’t let Khalid scare her or walk all over her – but she is also extremely forgiving and gentle. She was probably my favourite part of the book. I liked Khalid for the most part as well, he, like Shazi, seemed quite refreshing. Although I do find myself conflicted with the whole murdering all his wives thing. I understand why it had to be done, but I also don’t think I could ever do that? I realise this review is quite vague and contradictory, but this book left me feeling pretty conflicted. I liked it, but I also struggled to justify everyone’s actions. Also Shazi’s father was a tad unstable, and that ending? Tariq was also such a possessive fella who needs to learn to trust and listen to people.

In conclusion I think I’d give this 3 stars, a) because I’m not really a high rater in general, and b) I feel pretty neutral about it the more I reflect on it.

Have you read The Wrath and The Dawn duology? What did you think of it?

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