Okay, I’ve spent about two incredible nights stuffing my face into The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, the sequel to The Wrath & the Dawn. I still can’t believe that this is only a duology. I want more!
Anyway, we pick up from where the first book left the near destruction of Rey and Shazi leaving with Tariq. She finds herself among a questionable company and distrusts them. Meanwhile she searches for a way to break Khalid’s curse and end the terror hovering over their home. Things start to unravel and the stakes get higher. And there’s betrayal everywhere and a tyrant sultan…
Like Wrath, I fell in love with this book. The writing is so rich and sensational – it’s like hands caressing me. The high stakes are so high that I was on the edge of seat or burying myself deeper into my bed, trying to control the feels. There are twists and turns that left my mouth open. The book also made me ship a few couples like Irsa and Rahmid. I don’t ship Despina and Jalal. I think Jalal deserves better. I don’t trust Despina even after the ending. Forgive my cold heart. Friendship is valuable to me.
I didn’t see much character development coming from Shazi and Khalid, to an extent. The book is plot-driven rather than character-driven. Even though it’s refreshing to have the main character to use their powers to a minimum, I wanted to see more of Shazi using her powers. She does embrace them though.
At times especially towards the end, I felt that the characters, in particular Shazi, were distant, and I thought Salim, the Sultan of Parthia, could’ve been fleshed out more. But I thought Yasmine’s development and role was great. There’s girlpower, the female characters kicking ass. Not just with weapons but with their minds. They click together so well.
I thought the climax was slightly anticlimatic and it was more telling than showing. The breaking the curse part was a little too easy. The getting to the source that breaks the curse was great, sending palpitations, but the struggle, the action of breaking it was too easy. I wish that the struggle was met with stronger obstacles and expanded enough to feel a deep cut in me. The ending gave off a fairytale vibe, too happy and all and it’s an epilogue set years later (annoying usually for me) – but I love it.
Rooting for the characters and the quest made me give the flaws a pass and made my reading nights magical.
If you love retellings, magic-related stories, fantasy novels with PoC, and Arabian Nights, then I recommend The Rose & the Dagger.
Rating: How about 10,000 out of 10,000, yeah?
PS. Dear Renee, please write one more book about Shazi and Khalid.