A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
So this book was one that had been on my radar for a while, and I’d heard nothing but people who adored it or people who DNF’d within the first few chapters. But after my best friend and mother read it and raved to me I decided to dive in. I am so thrilled that I did.
The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. Now I haven’t read the original tale, but it’s hard pressed to find people who don’t know it. One of the largest things I was worried about was how Ahdieh was going to deal with the murderous prince. In YA, the men have to be worthy of the crushing, and, well, a psychopathic murderer doesn’t exactly fit that category. Well, fear not. Not only does he have a reason, but the seeds of the reason and quite a bit of mystery are pulled right out in the prologue.
The writing in this book is absolutely amazing. The way that Ahdieh strings together words is something of an art. I do believe her writing is the reason that some people DNF this book. She uses honorifics that are native to the language of our characters which is something I love, but it did also lead me to flipping to the glossary often. As someone who loves beautiful writing and loves language I ate The Wrath and the Dawn up like nothing else.
In my ARC the glossary was on the page after the final page. So there were spoilers sitting right there whenever I had to go check what a word was it was a fun game of covering while I read. Now note I haven’t looked at a finished copy yet so this could likely be changed. (Update: I’ve looked at a finished copy and it’s still right on the final page.)
What? That doesn’t count? Drat. All right, fine.
I really wished that more of the past had been explained. There were a few stories here and there, but I really would have liked to know more about Shazi and Shiva. We know that she’s important to Shazi. But I would have liked to have gotten to know her myself.
Now it’s time for the gushing……more than I already did…. heh. I mentioned a lot of the basic things that were wonderful about this book but I think some of the best things that worked in this story was the actual pacing of the plot. Yes, Khalid got on my nerves sometimes because I wanted him to just come clean already and he wasn’t. But the story flowed in such a way that it fit with his character, it fit with him getting to know Shazi, and it fit with the pacing of the entire book.
I really loved the slow burn romance of this book. It flowed so nicely and easily through the story and it took the reader through as many emotions as the characters and it created a wonderful reading experience. So few YA books keep with a slow burn instead of insta-love, which is to say if you know of more slow burn romances you should send them to me.
I loved seeing the changes in Shazi too: her anger melting away, her feelings changing as the story progressed. All of it was so beautifully done that as the reader your feelings change too, which is always the most masterful of writing I feel.
Just go get this book. Seriously. Go get it. And read it. And love it. If the writing seems hard to you at first give it a bit longer to sink into the story, because you will.