Source: Purchased copy
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.
The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, which is also known as Arabian Nights. It follows the story of a young girl, Shahrzad, with an ambitious plot. The Caliph of Khorasan, a boy-king, marries a new bride each night and has each one of them hung by a silk cord at dawn. One of these girls happened to be Shahrzad’s best friend, Shavi, and Shahrzad cannot stand by and watch as the Caliph continues to tear families apart. So she has a plan. She volunteers to be the Caliph’s bride, with the single intention that she will do to him what he has done to so many others. For Shavi, and all of the other girls and their families, she would murder the Caliph.
The Wrath and the Dawn is the first retelling I’ve read, and since I haven’t read A Thousand and One Nights, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The synopsis reeled me in before the publication date and after seeing all of the glowing reviews, I preordered it.
We follow Shahrzad, a strong female character with a mission. We see her determination from the very beginning, her need for vengeance but as the story goes on, we begin to learn more and more about this murderous boy-king. It turns out that everything isn’t quite what it seems. Shahrzad manages to evade death, and despite her best efforts, she begins to fall for the Khalid. This was interesing to read about because it wasn’t straightforward. The entire time, guilt nagged at Shazi and she couldn’t help but feel that she was betraying her friend. Also, there was the slight problem that Khalid still wouldn’t tell her why he was having his brides murdered.
I loved the setting in this story, you’re instantly transported to the Middle East with the exotic fruits and rich culture. There are some Arabic words in the book, so the glossary at the back definitely helps! Renee Ahdieh writes so beautifully, she weaves the plot, the setting, and the characters together into one awesome story and it’s as if you’re actually there. I have to admit that it takes a few pages to get really stuck in because it’s written in third person and there are quite a few characters to wrap your head around, but after a short while the characters begin to take on their own distinct personalities and it becomes easier to distinguish one from another.
There have definitely been a lot of great YA novels released this year (seriously, it’s unbelievable) but The Wrath and the Dawn has to be up there in my top three reads!
“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.