The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Publish Date: May 12, 2015
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
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.
This book owns me. As well as Renée Ahdieh.
I have always been fascinated with stories set in West/South Asian cultures: Arabian Nights, Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp. To me, growing up, they offered a diversity from the norm. To me, it was like listening about stories of family. When Stacee and Christina told me that I had to drop everything to read Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn, I immediately did so.
The Wrath and the Dawn is a story about love, revenge, and the grey line that separates the two. It is a story about sacrifice and pleasures, but don’t they all correlate one way or another? The Wrath and the Dawn begins with a death. But while some death scenes can be written in black and white, Ahdieh wrote the scene in a way that had me question the harshness of it. And that’s when her words mesmerized me.
A young woman, Shahrzad, makes a sacrifice and volunteers to be the next calipha. She volunteers to marry the one that is said to be horrific and the monster of her nightmares, the Caliph, Khalid. As hatred fuels her, she waits to look in the eyes of not only her king, but also a murderer. But there is a catch. At dawn, her life will be forfeit. At dawn, she will no longer be anything. Shahrzad’s ill feelings toward Khalid give her courage to do what others have not been able to do: survive.
Shahrzad is a heroine that takes action. Given her circumstances, she isn’t just a damsel in distress. Instead, Shahrzad is the white knight in shining armor. She demands attention from death, and will gladly stare him in the eyes. I love her, for her hopes and dreams, her gusto and bravado. She is someone you want to look up to and become all in the same swoop.
Ahdieh adds memorable characters to the fiction world. Khalid, a horrific king with immeasurable power, whom has become my favorite. He is one of the most complicated characters I have met. To even try to figure out his enigmatic personality is a task in itself. Tariq, a heroic love who will stop at nothing to rescue his fair maiden. Where love can be measured as a strength could become his downfall. Jalal, the loyal guard and cousin, will do whatever he must to save his king. Even if he must befriend someone whom he should not.
The Wrath and the Dawn’s world is exquisitely filled with wonderful and complex characters. You cannot simply love them, nor can you hate them. Instead, you have to invest your time and emotions into them, and allow them to live with you forever. It’s complexity upon mystery upon mystique. Words haunt you and they make you fall in love. Characters make you cheer for the bad and jeer for the good. Everything is skillfully crafted, binding each detail to another, making one large cycle of intricacy and book awesomeness.
The Wrath and the Dawn is amazing, and I highly urge you to read it as soon as you can.