The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
What is The Wrath and the Dawn about?
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.
I don’t even know where to start with this book. Originally, I hadn’t planned on reading it. I don’t know why, but it just wasn’t something I was anticipating. However, I kept seeing more and more amazing reviews and there is so much hype surrounding this book. So, finally I decided that if this book was as good as everyone’s been saying that it was, I need to experience it for myself. And I’m glad I did.
This book was enchanting. The writing was captivating. I flew through this book so fast because I would find myself forgetting that I was reading. I would get lost in the pages. It felt so immersive and real and I loved it. I’m still just in awe.
I loved everything about this book. At the start, we have the MC, Shahrzad, volunteering to be the Caliph’s bride in order to get revenge for her friend who died at his hands. I liked how confident Shahrzad was and how determined she was that she would be the one to make it. That she would live and avenge her friend.
I feel like a main theme in this book is revenge. There is this cycle if revenge that has led up to this point. But, at some point, it has to stop with someone or it will just go on forever. It has you wondering whether it’s really worth it anymore. People do the wrong things for the right reasons and sometimes you just have to realize that everything isn’t black and white.
I loved the mystery surrounding why these girls had to die each morning. When Shahrzad first is there, it’s just about surviving and getting revenge. But, then, slowly, it becomes more about trying to figure out WHY this has to happen and who exactly the Caliph is. There is a magical element to this story, too, which only adds to the amazingness of this book.
The MC, Shahrzad is headstrong and spunky and fiery and I loved her. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind or be bold. She has this presence and people pay attention to her. She’s just such a strong character. And I really admired her. The one thing I didn’t like, I’ll admit, are the names. Or, figuring out how to pronounce the names, more precisely. The names are beautiful, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to say them.
The Caliph, Kahlid, was a really complex character. You want to hate him, because you know what he’s done. He’s done horrible things. Yet, the more you get to know him the more you begin to think that there has to be a reason behind it. So, yes, he’s done bad things, but that’s not the full story. He’s doing it for reasons that nobody else can understand, and he’s making sacrifices for the good of his kingdom. He has so much on his shoulders and nobody to share the burden with. Until Shahrzad comes along.
Their relationship was one of the most beautifully written and developed love stories ever. I loved how slowly, you got to see him caring more and more about her. You see him going out of his way to protect her. And then you realize how much that really does mean. Because he’s never done that for any other bride before. Shahrzad really is one of a kind.
Another thing that really made this book amazing and unique it the setting and the world. I’ve never read much anything set in the middle east. I have little knowledge of their culture. It was great to read this and experience such an amazingly rich setting. I fell in love with it. I loved how it felt Fantasy, yet also like Historical Fiction. I love the diversity in setting that this book brings to the YA fantasy genre.
This book was incredible. And I think because of that, I’m having a hard time reviewing this one. Because how perfect this book is – it’s something I can’t correctly convey through this review. Clearly, i’m not as amazing with words as Renee Ahdieh. But, let me assure you, this book will blow you away just as it did me.
Actual rating: 1001 Stars
Honestly, I adored absolutely everything about this story. It is one of the most wonderfully written books I’ve ever read. The characters and the world feel so real. The character development is amazing. This book truly is one that you can find yourself lost inside. If you read one book this year, make it The Wrath and the Dawn.
Have you read The Wrath and the Dawn? If you have, what were your thoughts? Did this blow you away just as much as it did me? Are you going to read it?