I had been eying this book for ages, ever since I heard it got released actually. I’m a huge fan of the Arabian Nights, so of course I had to pick up this one eventually. I listened to it with Audible, and I absolutely loved it.
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA, Romance, Retelling, Fantasy
Publication year: 2015
Khorasan is ruled by a murderous king, Khalid, who is only eighteen. Every day, he marries a new girl. And every dawn, his new wife has to die. When Shahrzad’s best friend dies at the hands of the king, she decides she cannot stay put, and must take revenge, leaving behind her father, he sister, and her first love Tarek. She will volunteer and marry Khalid, with one thing on her mind: she will kill him, and therefore take revenge for all the innocents girls he married and killed. The first step: staying alive.
However, once Shahrzad gets to know him, Khalid is not at all who she had imagine, and he seems to be hiding more than one secret. Once she gets to know him, he is not at all the murderous beast she expected. And once feelings get in the way, how can she take revenge?
I had heard and read so many great things about this book, of course I had high expectations, but the good thing is, I was not disappointed at all. The Wrath and the Dawn is a really clever and modern retelling of the Arabian Nights, and I really enjoyed it.
As you may know, I am a huge fan of The 100, and will ship Bellarke to my death bed (don’t leave, this actually has to do with my review, I swear). Last year, while waiting as patiently as I could for season 3, I read a lot of Bellarke fanfictions. And one of them appeared to be mainly based on the plot of TWATD. And I loved it. So I knew the basic plot of the story, but this didn’t take any of the fun away from it. And all through the book, I kept picturing Bob Morley as Khalid, and it was rather pleasant…
Anyway, back to business. I really loved this book. The only reason I gave it four and not five stars is that I couldn’t stand Tarek. He has too big a self-esteem in my opinion and I just found him so annoying. As much as I loved reading all the passages taking place as the palace with Shazi, Khalid, Despina and Jalal, I got really annoyed with the passages about Tarek.
Since I listened to it on audiobook I also did tend to get confused a lot between all the names, especially at the beginning of the book. And that’s about the only reproach I have.
As a retelling, I think it was really great and original. As a story itself, it was really clever, and enjoyable. Also as YA book, I think it was really interesting to read something a bit different. The setting is rather original for a YA story, since let’s face it, they tend to feature the same kind of American white main characters most of the time. However, The Wrath and the Dawn is set in an entire other culture which is fascinating and deserves to be featured in more books. I love reading books like that.
What made this book so good was also the amount of great plot twists, and all the attention the author paid to the little details and the main characters. The reader never gets tired, and this is probably what makes this book so enjoyable.
I have an audio copy of The Rose and the Dagger, and I will probably listen to it very soon! In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on The Wrath and the Dawn in the comments!
Retellings lovers and fans of the Arabian Nights.