After seeing The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh being raved about everywhere by my favorite book bloggers and BookTubers, I couldn’t resist my desire to join in on the obsessing and to satiate my desire to read every YA fantasy retelling on the market. The Wrath and the Dawn is inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. It tells the story of a brave young girl named Shazi who volunteers to be the caliph’s next wife. This might not seem like a huge sacrifice BUT the caliph has had almost 100 brides in the same number of days and each has been executed at the dawn after their first night. Shazi is the first bride to make it past the first dawn and after getting to know her character, it’s no surprise why.
I am torn between what I like most about this story. One the one hand, there is the beautiful setting of Khorasan along with the incredible description of the palace, but on the other hand there is Shazi who is such a unique and fascinating heroine. She is fearless and big-mouthed but also intuitive and personable. She is far from your typical calipha. Her thoughts and actions are complex as her best friend was murdered by the man she is now married to. The man that clearly has feelings for her, but can she possibly find a way to forgive him? Then there’s Khalid, the caliph of Khorasan who is deeply in love with Shazi but who is concealing secrets of his own. I also love Shazi’s handmaiden Despina who is a sassy and lovable self professed spy. However, I am hereby declaring my dislike of Shazi’s first love, Tariq. I am so not team Tariq.
I love that this book put such an emphasis on the power of storytelling. The overall story unfolds brilliantly and the private moments of storytelling between Shazi and Khalid are some of my favorite moments. I’ve always recognized the truth in the fact that while time may be passing by us, good stories are still relevant. I love that no matter what decade a story takes place in, an abundance of prevalent themes remain the same and more importantly, they remain relevant and relatable.
Final Thoughts: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is a beautiful book inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. Ahdieh’s art of storytelling is impeccable and she managed to create a unique and admirable heroine in Shazi. There is so much emotion and so many secrets fueling this book that it is near impossible to put down. If you’re looking to read something different, The Wrath and the Dawn is worth picking up.
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. (via Goodreads)