“The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh

Star Rating: 3 and a 1/2 out of 5 Stars ☆☆☆ ½


Disney’s Aladdin Edition

First let me say, this was a great read.  I would have given it a solid 4 Star Rating… if it wasn’t for the ending.  Granted, this is a duo-logy – the second book, The Rose and the Dagger, is slated to be released in May of 2016.  This book could have ended much better than it did, even for a second book being released. The ending seemed like a hastily put together tornado of random thoughts, which lacked the logical composure of the rest of the book; and for that, it needed to be docked a 1/2 of a star.

Synopsis:

“The Wrath and the Dawn” is loosely based upon the tale of the “Thousand and One Nights” from the Arabian Nights book anthology of collected stories without a definitive origin, date, or author.

In “A Thousand and One Nights“, the heroine, Scheherazade, avoids her own death by entrancing the King with stories for one thousand and one nights.  This tale is quite different, although it does borrow some elements from the original middle-eastern tales.

As with the tale of Schererazade, the Kingdom of Khorasan is experiencing a rather… unique problem.  The Caliph (King) of Khorasan has been marrying a different woman each evening, only for her to be murdered at dawn.  The cycle continues…

When our heroine, the Schererazade incarnate, Shahrzad’s, best friend Shiva becomes one of the Caliph’s newest victims, Shahrzad decides something must be done – the Caliph must die.

Shahrzad takes it upon herself to be selected as one of the newest brides.  With no intention of being murdered, and needing time to discover the best way to murder a Caliph, she chooses to distract him by telling him a story she knows.  This is practically the only parallel to the original Arabian Nights tale.

When death continues to escape Shahrzad with each passing day, she becomes curious about the murders in a way she hadn’t before.  Why have so many women been murdered and yet she is alive?  She sets her sights directly on determining the truth of Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, and his murdered brides.  Is everything as it appears to be?  Or is there something overlooked?

Opinion:

I found this novel to be easy to read and it didn’t take me long to finish – approximately a day.  The main problem I had was, honestly, the most realistic of all elements of the book – the family and friends of the new bride determined to “save” her, regardless of the cost.  It is not their tenacity, nor their love for the book’s heroine that bothered me, but instead their blind devotion to a cause they truly know nothing about.  It’s their extreme ignorance throughout the novel that annoyed me. I think the story would have been improved if at least one of these side characters developed in some way as Shahrzad did.

The fantastical elements also seemed a bit forced.  Mostly ignored throughout a novel that is considered “YA Fantasy”, I thought it may not have been originally intended – perhaps a publisher requirement instead of a writer’s choice?  It was uncomfortable instead of natural, and I am not going to label this as a Fantasy because, to me, it really isn’t – it’s a Contemporary.

As far as the storytelling goes, the writer was certainly at her best. She held my interest quite well and I found myself glued to the book at times, determined to know what was going to happen next.  I was highly disappointed when I realized this was a duo-logy, forcing me to wait for most of the answers to my questions.  May can’t get here fast enough.  I’m really looking forward to the release of The Rose and the Dagger.

Overall, even though the family and friends of Sharhzad were quite annoying and some of the magical elements seemed forced, that didn’t take too much away from the fact that this was a solid book.  Too many are simply labeling this as “just some retelling of A Thousand and One Nights”, and while it begins as such, it diverts to it’s own novel – standing on its own two feet pretty darn quick.  This is definitely not the same story.  Don’t pass on this for the reason that you think you know the story – because you don’t.

I do recommend this book to my readers.  It’s beautifully written, and although it has it’s problems in my eyes, it wasn’t enough to do a lot of damage in my eyes.  Ahdieh’s story stands on its own – and its definitely worthy of a place on your bookshelf!

GoodReads Link: “The Wrath and the Dawn”

Amazon.com Link: “The Wrath and the Dawn”