“I know love is fragile. And loving someone like you is near impossible. Like holding something shattered through a raging sandstorm. If you want her to love you, shelter her from that storm…And make certain that storm isn’t you.”
BLURB: “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 terrible 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 get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch…she may be falling in love with a murderer.
Shazi discovers that the villainous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. It’s up to her to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.”
REVIEW: It’s been a long while since I read any kind of Young Adult fantasy novel, so I was really looking forward to ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’. It certainly did not disappoint; I was hooked from the first page and found the book difficult to put down. Shahrzad is a brave and likeable heroine, and the reader cannot help but warm to her. After the death of her best friend Shiva at the hands of the Caliph of Khorasan, Shazi is determined to get revenge at whatever costs. She volunteers to marry the Caliph with a plan in place that will hopefully ensure her survival – and his demise.
When Shazi enthralls the Caliph with a story, one she promises to continue the following night – this novel clearly takes inspiration from the ancient story of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, and does so brilliantly – she becomes the first of his brides to survive until the dawn. Much to the amazement of those in the palace, Shazi continues to survive, and begins to break through the Caliph’s barriers in a way that no-one else, not even his closest friends, have managed to do before. This comes at a cost, however; Shazi’s determination to murder Khalid is weakened as she begins to learn more about him and grow close to him. The development of feelings between the two is slightly predictable, yet so well-written that it still leaves the reader hooked even though we can clearly see it coming. The love-hate relationship soon turns to love and as Shazi learns the truth behind the deaths of Khalid’s wives, she realises the only way the two of them can be happy together is by breaking the curse that lays heavy upon Khalid and the land of Rey.
As Shazi grows closer to Khalid, however, outside forces are homing in on the surprising relationship between the two and are determined to put an end to it, including Shazi’s former lover, Tariq. Her father, Jaqar, also uses his magical gifts in order to try and save his daughter, not realising that Shazi is, in fact, beginning to feel at home in her new role as Calipha of Khorasan and wife of Khalid.
I loved the development of the relationship between Shazi and Khalid, so much so that I almost resented the parts of the novel where we got to see the perspectives of other characters, like Tariq. The novel itself is beautifully written and the reader can really visualise the setting; having never been to a country remotely comparable to the fictional land of Rey, this is an impressive feat for Ahdieh to have managed. The cliffhanger ending also made me eager to jump straight into the sequel, ‘The Rose and the Dagger’, which I will be reviewing on here shortly!