A Heart-stopping Ending: The Rose & the Dagger Review


Published: April 26th, 2016 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



The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

RATING: ★★★★★

This broke my heart into a million pieces and put it back together again. It is one of those books that fill your heart after reading it. The one that never leaves your thoughts even after its end.

The Wrath and the Dawn duology is a tale with love at its core — a powerful emotion for a powerful book. Love, which can be a person’s greatest strength or ultimate weakness.

While I said The Wrath and the Dawn was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, The Rose and the Dagger played with my feelings. One of the many reasons why this book tore at my heart is the love triangle. Although I don’t hate this trope, I am not a fan of it. More often than not, the third person is annoying and only exists to torment the couple. Or sometimes, the female MC is so indecisive that she can’t bear to choose one. But when done well, the love triangle trope can be powerful and heartbreaking. The perfect example for this is in this book. You would think that after Khalid won over my heart, I would stop feeling sad for Tariq. But no, so much of my heartbreak in this book was because of how much I wanted to console him. He loved Shahrzad with all his heart. But no matter how many years they spent together, no matter how many memories they shared, they just weren’t meant to be. But even though I love Tariq, I love Khalid even more and I understand why Shahrzad chose him. Khalid’s love for Shahrzad is selfless and he proved it. When Khalid vowed to show his love through his actions instead of saying it, he followed through.

[Spoiler: He was willing to let Shahrzad kill him when he thought that’s what she wanted. He let go of her when he thought it was for the best. And no matter how much he wanted to, he didn’t kill Tariq for her sake, even when he had the chance.]

I am so glad that Shahrzad is one of those female MCs who stood by her choice and never wavered. This, my friends, is a love triangle done well. At least, that’s how I want it to be.

It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.

This book was unpredictable. So many things happened in the last quarter that I stayed up past 3 AM just to finish it. My heart shattered to pieces and I almost stopped breathing for a moment. It was that soul-crushing.

The writing is also as beautiful as the first. It’s rich, luscious, and very descriptive. It was so easy to get lost inside its fantasy. I really would love to see it as a movie.

The Wrath and the Dawn rightfully earned its place as one of my favorite series. I know I’ve said too much in this review but I also think I haven’t said enough. I wonder how I didn’t even hear about this duology until this year. It’s honestly worth reading and I hope more people give it a try.

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