Friday, June 5, 2015

Diary Entry #0032: Book Review—THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)
by Renée Adhieh
Date of Publication: May 12th 2015
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy

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.

“For love, people consider the unthinkable...and often achieve the impossible.”

That was the only word I could think of when I reached the last page of this book—wow. Wow, the characters were awesome. Wow, the narration was one-of-a-kind. Wow, the world presented was very rich. Wow, the plot was flawless. Wow, it got me feeling like I just went on a roller coaster ride. 10 times. Wow, I’m left speechless aside from the tears and incomprehensible babble in my head. Holy Hera it was wow.

Honestly, I don’t know where to begin. How can one move on from reading TWATD? All I can see in my head are exclamation points because I still can’t believe, still can’t grasp the overall awesomeness of this book. But I’ll try and narrow it down to different points.


First, the setting is breathtaking. I never knew I’d be in love in an Arabian country but oh, wow. I now fully understand why we need diversity in the Young Adult world. I think if this story wasn’t written or if this wasn’t set in this specific place and time, it’d have been a big loss in the literary world. The culture was rich and also intense. The way the palace of the caliph was described was just perfect, though the city wasn’t described that well. It would have been better if it was given more exposure but since most of the happenings took place inside the palace, it was understandable.

Second, the characters were remarkable. Seriously, they were very distinct from each other and from every other Young Adult book I have read in my entire bookworm life. Shahrzad is now definitely on my list of favorite YA heroines ever. She’s fierce, determined, strong, and defiant with a loyalty that’s arguably one of the most impressive I’ve read, ever. Gosh, I just love her. Then, there’s Khalid. Oh my god, Khalid. He’s so...broody! And also passionate, strong, intense and aggressive but underneath all that, he’s also very gentle and kind and so, so sweet. He made me feel all kinds of emotion from one end of the spectrum to the other. He’s just so raw in his emotions—anguish, jealousy, exhilaration, remorse—and I can’t help but feel for him and love him.

There are other characters, too, that I really loved like Jalal and Despina. Then there were those I hated like Tariq, Jahandar and Salim. They all brought something to the table and the drama and chaos were more intense because of all of them. Ms. Ahdieh’s characterization was really phenomenal because her characters have depth and richness to them that made me feel...more. These characters are really my favorite part of this whole book.

Lastly, the plot and narration was very poetic/romantic/lyrical. I went into this book blind—I didn’t know what it was about, didn’t that it was inspired by Arabian Nights and if I did, well, I didn’t know what Arabian Nights was. But I was instantly hooked in the prologue and I just can’t not continue to read and devour this book. It was told in different 3rd person POVs (kind of like omniscient 3rd person) and I admit, sometimes I don’t want to read Tariq’s POV because, hello I don’t like you so go away because you ruin everything, but this style of writing was actually very practical since there were different sides to the narrative. The story was told successfully because of this, so kudos to that. I also love how the story didn’t just focus on the romance but also dealt with family issues and friendship and I really liked that.

There were still unanswered questions and the ending was just heartbreaking and a cliffhanger (seriously, no closure at all) so, in other words, it was the perfect way to end it.

Having said all of that, I guess it’s evident that I really loved this book. This review wasn’t as long as others I’ve written, but it’s because I’m having a hard time putting into the words the sheer magnificence of this book.

5/5 + Stars

About the Author:
I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. My YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, is available wherever books are sold. In my spare time, I like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.

I’m also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.


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