Okay, confession time: I didn’t know there could be such a thing as retellings before, in books, I wasn’t too aware of it anyway, and to be honest, I didn’t pay attention to it so much. But how can you NOT see The Wrath and The Dawn? It’s been everywhere, really, and with the sequel just released, well, it’s everywhere again. I’m not that big on following what everyone is reading, but I’m really big on reading what I WANT to read. And that one, well, a bit unusual, a bit gorgeous, I really, really wanted to read it. Buddy-read with the incredible Kat, and you can already check out her GLORIOUS review. As always, I’m late, but I am here. WITH ALL THE FEELS.
AN INCREDIBLE TALE
“When I was a boy, my mother would tell me that one of the best things in life is the knowledge that our story isn’t over yet. Our story may have come to a close, but your story is still yet to be told.
Make it a story worthy of you”
I couldn’t, to be honest, try and sum up this book with one word, because it’s so, so, RICH. I didn’t really remember the 1000 Nights’ tale (this book is inspired from it), but from the start, you can clearly find that familiar tale again, of the girl marrying the man whom kills all of his wives at dawn. Of the girl telling him stories, again, and again every night, so, in order to know the ending, he’ll have to spare his life. For now. Right from the start, we could see this inspiration, yet the author manages to create such a unique, vivid world, it’s quite incredible, and what amazed me right from the start. Everything unfolds before your eyes, from the palace, the places, the characters’ outfit, the delicious food…There’s quite an attention to details, but definitely not in a long and boring way. It shaped the world perfectly and made it feel so real, I could see everything. In The Wrath and The Dawn, the author managed to do a retelling of a very famous tale, and make it feel like a tale on its own just as well.
“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”
The strong suit of a book often relies, for me, on the characters, this is probably because I’m such a contemporary reader. If the world-building in that book took my breath away, the characters took my heart right from the start –well, almost. Shahrzad, the main character, is just the right kind of sassy, and she might say the wrong thing at the wrong time, but she definitely knows how NOT to shut up. And that was kind of GREAT. She’s the one that has ulterior motives, a heart, thoughts, internal conflicts just like every human, and I loved it, I especially enjoyed how, thorough the narration, the author managed to let us know why, how she felt conflicted, like, “I’m not supposed to feel that way”. This really helped bring this character to life, and made me care about her a lot more. I found all of the characters to be well-developed, even if it took some time for others to shine more. I could definitely talk about the boy-king here, Khalid. At first angry and violent, I didn’t get him AT ALL and it was SO FRUSTRATING. Yet he’s a boy with a secret, and we end up knowing WHY, and all at once, everything makes sense. I love when books are starting to make sense just like that.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH FEELINGS…SOME OTHERS LACKING.
“And how will you know when you’ve found the elusive someone?
I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.”
Obviously there’s a very wrong kind of love story here, yet I couldn’t help but root for it, right from the beginning. There’s something about Khalid and Shahrzad’s interactions that got me, every single time. From strangers to almost friends to more, there was such a slow building to the relationship, you could see it coming from miles, yet you can’t help but root for it, you can see they are clearly drawn to each other, and I loved that. All of those FEELINGS. If I loved the relationships in that book, and all of the characters’ dialogue was always witty (SO GOOD), some of these could have used a little more development… as could have some side characters. If I enjoyed seeing Shahrzad’s family and close friends (and one particularly AWESOME character, Jalal), there are some things I thought could’ve been better explained and developed. Since I’m intending on keeping all of my reviews spoiler-free, I won’t state here what I’m talking about precisely.
Another incredible surprise in the hyped-books shelf: the wrath and the dawn was a great Persian tale, a magic tale, a love story, an action-packed book with a writing you’ll devour slowly. If I found some relationships to be lacking, it didn’t take away any of my enjoyment, and certainly not the scream when I finished the book. And can’t read the next one ‘til I’m off my book-buying ban. HELP ME.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read The Wrath and The Dawn? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it?
Is the sequel even better?! Share your thoughts in comments!
Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath and The Dawn, Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers, May 12th 2015.
One Life to One Dawn.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.