The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Publication: Putnam's Children on May 12, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy Retellings
Page Length: 388 pages
One Life to One Dawn.
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 one and for all.
Now, I'll be honest with you: The story itself was a bit slow. AT FIRST. The book took me a handful of chapters to really grab my attention, but once it did, Renée's writing, her beautifully-crafted storytelling, refused to let go. I wouldn't say the book started on a high note, but it definitely ended on one.
Author Renée Ahdieh undisputedly excelled in bringing the Middle Eastern Culture to life in these mere 388 pages. What I especially loved about The Wrath and the Dawn were the intricate, well-written details. Too often authors put aside the "smaller" aspects of a novel "on the back burner." Ms. Ahdieh certainly did not. She jam-packed this novel with descriptive brilliance. She didn't just take a dip in the Middle Eastern Culture, she fully immersed herself, along with the reader.
I reveled in how she would describe everything, from the practically indescribable breathtaking beauty of the dawn, to the ornate detailing of the architecture, and even to the food Shahrzad and Khalid indulged in, which brings me to the characters.
The characters themselves were intriguing gems that, as Marie Lu said, added to the "intoxicating gem of a story." Each and every character was interesting. Captivating. You wanted to know more about them. Wanted to know about their life story, their passions, and of course, their secrets. Our main character, Shahrzad, was a fiery, calculative young woman, who I admired for her resoluteness and focused drive. She cared so deeply for her late friend who had befallen the horrific fate of becoming one of Khalid's late brides, that she sought out the noble conquest of ending the Caliph's reign. But of course, there was more to the Caliph and his seemingly cold murders than what met the eye.
It was well-written. That's really all I have to say. And: You'll love it.
When taken a step back from and fully analyzed, there really isn't a whole lot to the plot in this first installment - just set-up. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Renée Ahdieh will take these seeds she's planted in The Wrath and the Dawn and use them to craft a sequel that is in full blossom.
I'm more than excited to see where this skilled debut author takes Shahrzad and Khalid's story next in The Rose and the Dagger.