Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

fantasy book review

The Wrath & the Dawn
By Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath & the Dawn #1
Paperback: 432 pages
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Speak
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ | 5 / 5 |
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Related: | Star-Touched Queen | Cinder |
Categories: Fantasy, Magic, Fairy Tale, Favorites

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

fantasy book reviews
Oh my. I absolutely fell in love with this book. I binge read the entire thing in one night, neglecting sleep in pursuit of finding out what in the hell was wrong with Khalid. There was no way I was putting this book down without finding some answers, and it just so happens those answers came at 5am, right before the baby woke up for the day. Was it worth the sleep deprivation that I am suffering today? Absolutely! In fact, I almost considered picking up the second book immediately. Almost.

The caliph of Khorasan is a madman, a murderer. He marries a new wife every day, only to have her slaughtered at sunrise. No one knows why he chooses to commit these heinous crimes. No one understands the young man that became king in a flurry of violence and inexperience. He was never meant to be king, and thus was raised without instruction on how to do so. None of these things excuse his behavior, yet they are just the beginning of a story rife with tragedy and death. Khalid is the first 'villian' that I found myself rooting for. I fell in love with him; his strength and determination to save his country, his will to become nothing like his father. I loved him. As I learned more about him throughout the pages, my heart broke for him again and again. Is he a murderer? Most definitely. Would I make him my book boyfriend and swoon over him in my head? Oh, yes.

'Tell me, why do you find it permissible to talk to me like this?' 'Because someone has to,' she replied without hesitation. 'And you think it should be you?' 'I think it should be someone who isn't afraid of you. And though I do feel...anxious in your presence, the more I see of everything around me, the less I have reason to fear you."
Shahrzad is our main protagonist and has chosen of her own free will to marry the murderous caliph. She seeks revenge for the death of her best friend, Shiva, who was killed at the hands of Khalid. She has a plan. An insane one, but a plan all the same. The night of her wedding, she begins to tell the boy-king a story and he is immediately entranced. So much so that he pardons her the next morning at sunrise. This cycle continues, and against both of their better judgement, they begin to fall in love with each other. Shazi hates herself for betraying her cause. She wants this boy dead for the horrible crimes he has committed, yet his personality does not match his actions. He is soft spoken and thoughtful, intelligent and brave. She cannot reconcile the King of Kings with the man that she married.
'What compelled you to do something so foolish?' 'Excuse me?' 'Perhaps it was the lure of marrying a king. Or the vain hope you might be the one to stay the course and win the heart of a monster.' He spoke without emotion, watching her intently. Shahrzad's pulse jumped to a martial beat. 'I don't suffer those delusions, sayyidi."
The secondary characters, especially Jalal and Destina are wonderfully written. They both add so much complexity to the story, and I loved their bantering back and forth with each other and the main characters. The humor was dry and sarcastic, just the way that I like it. I found myself laughing out loud more than once. The idea of the whole forbidden love thing is the only reason why I never picked this book up off of the massive heap that is my to be read pile. Imagine my surprise to find there was no insta-love like I originally assumed. These two did not immediately fall for each other, in fact, they both seemed appalled by the idea of loving the other. It was more of a build-up over time, and for that, I applaud Miss Ahdieh. The relationship was so well done; they balanced each other perfectly and the reader can see that connection in written words on a page..
'Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable...and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.'

'What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?' he whispered. 'If I'm a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.' The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest. 'No.' His hands dropped to her waist. 'Destroy me.'

The world building was fantastic. I fell in love with this beautiful desert world filled with magic and intrigue. The plot line twisted and turned throughout our story, and caught me off guard more than once. It flowed well, and I definitely never found myself bored with what was happening. The end left me drained and unsatisfied, but there is another book in this series so I'm not worried. Too much. All in all- I loved it! A beautifully haunting tale, with original characters and a refreshing story line full of unexpected twists. I recommend this to.. well, everyone really. Just read it. You will not be disappointed..(:


  1. Great review Morrighan! I'm really looking forward to picking this one up. Renee Ahdieh is a local author where I live, and I've had the opportunity to meet her a couple times now. She has that dry and sarcastic humor in person, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I hope you love the sequel!

  2. I'm so glad you loved this as much as you did and also I love this particular cover a lot! Also loving the quotes you've featured. That is some beautiful writing <33 Great review!

  3. In the beginning I didn't think I would like this book because it was kind of slow. But the world made me love it. There's also the fact that I loved almost every boy in the book, too. Great review and glad that you enjoyed it!