Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn, #2)

GoodReads Summary:

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

My Review:

Veronica and I reviewed The Wrath and The Dawn together not too long ago, but she is currently busy with life so it will just me today. Though you will probably hear from her in June regarding the book.

Renee Ahdieh’s The Rose and The Dagger is a wondrous follow up to The Wrath and The Dawn. It’s full of magic, mystery, and love. It reads like a complex piece of music, words flowing around each other, bringing together an epic love story.

The novel starts right where the first left off. Shahrzad has left Khorasan to project her city, her people, her king. But she doesn’t know whom to trust or where to turn for help. She does know that the only thing to prevent this wrenched war is to break the curse. Khalid is love sick and tired, but ventures out to help rebuild his city. The relationships Shazi and Khalid have with others are strained and one wrong move could send them toppling over the edge. But if they can focus on their love for each other and the love for their families, they might find a way back to each other.

I spent this entire novel with my heart clenched. The love that Khalid and Shahrzad share is one for the ages- an epic love story that will live forever. You can see it drive these characters and their choices. And it was admirable to see others who were so unaccepting of their love, come to terms with it.

This novel was from mulitple POVs again, which always drives a story to make it stronger. I loved getting to know Irsa- Shahrzad‘s younger sister, seeing into the mind of Omar al-Sadiq- how he viewed his people, his wife, and his friends. The friends between the character’s were tested, while some broke, others held steadfast. And the twists throughout the novel were never seen until the curtain was drawn aside.

I absolutely fell in love with this retelling, with Shazi and Khalid’s love, with their friendships. And while I wish there was more, I am satisfied with the way the story  ended.

“Love was something that did much to change a person. It brought joy as it brought suffering, and in turn brought about those moments that defined one’s character.” -Omar al-Sadiq

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

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.

Review:

The Wrath and The Dawn is a retelling of Scheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights. Renee Ahdeih’s story is colorful, imaginative, and full of magic. This is the first story I have ever read that has a back story belonging to anything Arabic. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, given that retellings of fairy-tales I read are from Europe- Cinderella, Snow White, Little Mermaid, etc. And I am so glad I wasn’t sure of my response, it made the story even better than I could have imagined.

The relationship between Shazi and Khalid is one of mystery, of twists and turns. Shazi is a stubborn girl with her own thoughts and ideas, not afraid to voice them or of the consequences. Khalid is a stoic figure, presenting a different image to the audience than one purported to his kingdom. The feelings these two have is something people dream of. And they are a perfect combination when working together.

As my first adventure in Arabic stories, my heart thoroughly enjoyed the emotional roller coaster Ahdeih led me on. Go read this novel, you won’t regret it.

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After Contemporary Conversations I did not want to read anymore contemporary, and that is a big deal as you all know my grand love for YA Contemporary Fiction. I decided to read this much raved re-telling as a way to distance myself from my much loved genre just enough so I could read it again. And now commences the unedited, not holding back, fangirling review that I hope you will identify with and laugh right along with me at my ridiculous outcry about my feels.

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Oh My Gosh. I CANNOT BREATHE. WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED.

*wheezes into paper bag*

My heart cannot take the ending. WHY DID IT HAVE TO END LIKE THAT. HIS HEART. ITS BROKEN. I CANNOT TAKE IT.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about the beginning. My gosh was that not dramatic and full of everything I wanted and more. We have Shazi’s hatred fueling her ill decision of avenging her best friend by killing THE CALIPH, or in other words, THE FREAKING KING. That alone has you on the edge of your seat as the first night unfolds, and low and behold she lives to breathe another day.

The Wrath and The Dawn is a story full of action that the majority of time is driven by powerful emotions. We get to see Love, Hatred, and Happiness at its shinning moment, where the emotions are so pure they drive the characters to new heights. I feel like I’m preaching for some reason, but let me tell you that you will not be disappointed by The Wrath and The Dawn if you haven’t already read it. It will play with the strings of your heart into the utmost haunting and heart wrenching melody that will have you in a puddle of feels for days.

Have I intrigued you enough? Go read it! I will not spoil thee!
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Rating: 5 out of 5