Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Retellings, Fantasy
Reviewed by: Cassie
Summary (from goodreads.com)
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by
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 LOVED THIS BOOK.
There. I said it.
You know Those Books, where the writing is perfection, the characters are perfection, and you love basically everything about it? This was one of Those Books for me.
How can I describe it? The story was beautiful. It gave me tingles. You know, happy tingles!
One of the greatest accomplishments this book achieves is its characters. Shazi and Khalid are fantastic. Shazi goes from despising Khalid, King of Kings, to slowly but surely learning to love him, and hating herself for doing so. If that ain't poetic, I don't know what is. Shazi is bold and "silver-tongued", and could probably bluff or charm her way out of anything. She was sassy, passionate, and all-together a character that made you want to root for her.
Khalid? God, what a character! I loved him! If beautiful angst had a physical embodiment, Khalid would be it. His dark, mysterious past makes him a serious and aloof boy-king who is- in many peoples' eyes- a murderous tyrant with no heart. Personally, I would have been entirely satisfied with such a character left at that (hello, Darkling #2. I love you already.) buuuuut Renee Ahdieh brings in the angst here. Because Khalid is not what he appears; he is a tortured boy of 18, who laments every wife he kills and has a terrible secret as to why he does it.
Oftentimes, this concoction is a heady but ultimately failing one. But what does Ahdieh do? She says, SCREW THAT. I'll write it so well that you can't hate it! In fact, you'll LOVE it. HA! BEHOLD MY AWESOMENESS.
Okay, maybe not. But there's something about him that's so un-ridiculous that it works. He's quiet and observant, unassuming and confident, conflicted and sweet.
Sigh. How nice.
The rest of the characters aren't as developed as these two, although I believe Tariq, Shazi's first love deserves a mention. Him and his beautiful blue-gray eyes, and his unmatched determination to get Shazi back. Sigh numero dos.
A lot of people had issues with the story, as in, it wasn't spectacular enough for them. Admittedly, it was a bit slow and it was mainly focused around the romance. So for a lot of readers going in who didn't want that, I can see why it was a disappointment. But me? I love romance. I'm a romantic at heart (I'll deny it 90% of the time) and I love a good romance story. Which this was.
Other people had issues with the romance, which I never understood. They say it was underdeveloped and lacked depth- for example, why was Shazi so special? What about her made Khalid spare her life, night after night? And what about the draw between the two? That sort of thing.
Perhaps it is because I'm inexperienced at love, but I found the romance enjoyable. I didn't get stuck on the logistics or the details, I saw what it was: a tragic love story doomed to fail, yet struggling to bloom.
As for the writing: I believe everyone has a different preference for styles, and so it's up to the reader to really decide. I might say that it was beautiful and lovely, but others may find it lacking.
I shall now leave you with models who resemble the characters!
Also, that took me a super long time to find, so I hope you enjoyed that.
To end: this book is a re-read and on my favorites shelf. BOOYAH
Hugs and kisses~