A Captivating Retelling: The Wrath & the Dawn Review

the wrath and the dawn coverTHE WRATH & THE DAWN (THE WRATH & THE DAWN #1) BY RENÉE AHDIEH

Published: May 12th, 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult | Romance | Retelling

Recommended to: those who love fantasy with enemies to lovers romance



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?

RATING: ★★★★★

I have no idea what I was doing in 2015 that I haven’t even heard about this series. I only found out about it when a fellow member of an author’s Facebook group asked about this. I was so intrigued by the description that I moved it to the top of my TBR list. Honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

The Wrath and The Dawn is a reimagining of The One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. I didn’t know about it but after reading the stories in this book, I really want to read it now. Like the king, I was captivated by it.

This was definitely a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me. I am not saying this to be cliche, I am saying this because it’s true. I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions these past few days — pity, confusion, excitement, frustration, swoon, and sadness among many others.

“Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable . . . and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”

Confusion. First and foremost, this is mainly a romance book and if I’m being honest, it was one of the main reasons why I read this. But The Wrath and The Dawn is definitely not your usual romance. As stated in the book’s description, Khalid, our boy-king, was known to take a new bride each night only to have her killed in the morning. But incredibly, Shahrzad, our heroine, finds herself falling in love. I am the type who roots for the male lead without question. But Khalid’s murder streak without explanation proved this to be difficult. I couldn’t help but think: who would love such a monster?

Pity. What the synopsis doesn’t tell you is that there is a love triangle in this romance. Before Khalid, there was Tariq, Shahrzad’s first love. This would have been easier if he is bad but he is far from that. His only fault was that he loved. I couldn’t find it in me to hate him, especially when his love for Shahrzad is boundless. The only thing my heart could do was break for him.

“A shared history does not entitle you to a future, my friend.”

Excitement. I really loved everything about this book. I loved the world-building. The writing was captivating and the descriptions were detailed. I really think this would make a great movie. There was no dull moment and there were several scenes that had my heart pounding. The story’s main focus might be romance but it is also so much more than that.

Swoon with little hints of frustration. Although I wasn’t keen on Khalid at first, eventually, I fell in love with him. I can see why Shahrzad did too. Several scenes in this book made my heart melt. But there were also times when I wanted to throw something too. I couldn’t handle some of the interruptions. 😂😏

Sadness. I am not going to elaborate on this because it is a spoiler. Just know that it happens almost at the end of the book. I sincerely hope it is short-lived.

So yes, it’s true that it was a rollercoaster ride. If you would like to know everything I went through in the form of memes and gifs, you can check my reading thread about it.

There are still so many things I could say about this book — diversity, cultural representation, wonderful characters — but this review would be too long. If you love captivating enemies to lovers romance mixed with fantasy, I highly recommend this book.

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