"There is no one I would rather see the sunrise with than you."
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?
Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.
There is always something more than what meets one’s eye and The Wrath and the Dawn is no exception. This captivating book managed to suck me into it from page one and I found myself thinking of the book even when I took breaks from reading it. The feels! The atmosphere! The feels! The characters! The feels! The feels, the feels, THE FEELS!!
Shahrzad- aka Shazi- is all set to avenge the murder of her best friend as she agrees to be the new bride of the Caliph of Khorosan, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid. He's renowned as a monster of a ruler who kills his wives the next dawn after he marries them. It's up to Shazi to captivate him long enough to find out a way to kill him, and to everyone's surprise, she manages to postpone the deathly fate awaiting her by telling stories to the Caliph that end in such cliffhangers that make him want to know what happens next. That much we do know from the original story and yet, despite drawing inspiration from A Thousand and One Nights, Renée Ahdieh has managed to create an even more enchanting tale that makes the reader go until the very end to see how the story turns out to be.
The writing style was gorgeously lush and it's safe to say the author has woven together an epic saga. The book is big on details that somehow don't sound over-the-top. The world-building was done exceptionally well and I felt Ahdieh perfectly captured the Persian essence of it all and managed to transport the reader into her mesmerizing new world with the ease of the genius that she is. This book beguiles and enthralls- and definitely makes one drown in feels.
Shahrzad is witty and bold, badass and feisty, and is no doubt one of my favorite female leads of recent times.
"A true plague of a girl. And yet a queen in every sense of the word."
I could totally understand her conflicted feelings and yes, they were justifiable. Here she was, plotting to murder the Caliph who robbed her best friend of her life- and her feelings had to come in the way. What Shazi wasn't is stupid. She was very level-headed and knew exactly what she had to do. I loved her relationship with Khalid. I loved how they reluctantly let each other inside their lives and how each of them changed for it.
“When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost. Lost forever. In this kiss. This kiss that would change everything.”
When dealing with a relationship between two people from such different walks of life as Shazi and Khalid it's not an easy task to make them feel equal to each other, but that's just what Ahdieh did. When with Shazi, Khalid was not the King of kings but a man with a broken heart that so needed mending. Shazi was in no way made to feel inferior- which would have been quite impossible anyway given her strong will and character.
"For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you."
Khalid was by no means an easy person to get to know. Cold and elusive, he was the very definition of enigma, but the more we got to know his vulnerable side, the more we felt for him. The mystery as to why Khalid became the monster that he is and his self-hatred was really heartbreaking. He was confronted with choices that were so impossible to make and it was all so unfair!! I just wanted to wrap him up in a bear-hug and take him out of that horrible place. If Shazi hadn't kicked me out by then, that is.
The side characters were very well-done and despite their small roles, each of them had something important to contribute. Jalal and Despina were great friends to Khalid and Shazi respectively and I loved their relationships with each other. They understood the main characters and what they was going through and for that I'm thankful. I started off liking Tariq quite a lot, but towards the end he only annoyed me as he went on to prove he was driven, not by love, but a misguided obsession. I get where you come from, but I'm sorry, Tariq, I just have to quote Omar here-
"A shared history doesn't entitle you to a future, my friend."
The final quarter of the book was what I loved the best. All the characters were revealed for who they really were and we got to see the whole story in a different, better light. The ending, oh my GOD the ending. How I wish the book had ended two chapters earlier- it would have saved a lot of freaking out on my part.
The Wrath and the Dawn is not without it's flaws- I could criticize it on certain aspects, but I refuse to take them into account because I loved it so damn much. It was everything I wanted and more, and I wouldn't change a thing about it. Do I recommend it to you? You bet I do!
Here is where I'm faced with a tiny little problem. I want to quote the whole freaking book here. There's no such thing as "favorite quotes" when it comes to The Wrath and the Dawn because there are just too many and so I'll settle with one that was simple and beautiful.
The realization of the story: 5/5
The characters: 5/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 5/5