The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh follows Shahrzad and her quest to fulfill vengeance on the Caliph of Khorasan Khalid who has killed his brides (one of them was Shahrzad’s friend Shiva) shortly after their wedding. At dawn.
Shahrzad becomes Khalid’s new bride and waits for the opportunity to kill him…but soon she finds herself still breathing after dawn and then the next one after and another…
Shahrzad is still bent on ending the monster’s life but she’s starting to fall in love and surprisingly her feelings are returned, and soon she discovers the reason behind Khalid’s executing the brides. Magic is involved…
Meanwhile, Shahrzad’s father, her first love Tariq and their friends plan to rescue her and end Khalid and his reign of terror.
The book had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t relax. Each chapter is important and builds up to a climax, never missing a beat. The writing is so rich and detailed enough for me to taste an Arabian land of long ago. I love the references to Aladdin and A Thousand and One Nights – the magic carpet makes a small appearance. I like how magic has a subtle role in the story – it’s there but seems to be only used for serious or desperate circumstances.
I’m way past the phase of “Oh, the man is broken, that’s why he’s dark and mysterious, yes female protagonist, love him. Love will cure him”. So I thought. The Wrath and the Dawn made me succumb to the brooding-male-because-of-terrible-childhood-and-therefore-absent-of-love trope. I couldn’t resist Khalid even though he’s a murderer…but I’m glad that he isn’t as possessive or abusive as other male love interests I’ve read and watched.
Shahrzad is intelligent and she can handle things herself. She shows that you can be beautiful, dress pretty, a flirt and be a warrior at the same time. Maybe because of the setting, I found Shahrzad and Khalid quite mature and serious for their teens, so that’s refreshing – but nothing beats true love, of course.
The Wrath and the Dawn promises a magical adventure, so get a magic carpet and sit down while reading this glorious book. It’s worth it.