Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Wrath and The Dawn

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdeih



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. {goodreads summary}

I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I would like to start by saying how pretty this book is. I'm not sure if you can tell from my picture, but the edges of the paper are feathered. It felt so nice to read. The cover image has a really clever effect too; TW&TD first caught my attention when Lauren DeStefano kept posting pictures of it on her facebook page. 

“I know love is fragile. And loving someone like you is near impossible. Like holding something shattered through a raging sandstorm. If you want her to love you, shelter her from that storm…And make certain that storm isn’t you.” 

The writing in this book was beautiful. There were paragraphs I read over and over again, they sounded so lovely. TW&TD is a YA twist on One Thousand and One Nights/The Arabian Nights. When her best friend, Shiva, is killed by Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, Shahrzad vows to seek revenge and offers herself as Khalid's next bride in an attempt to get close enough to kill him. However, it doesn't take long for a genuine relationship to blossom between Khalid and 'Shazi' (because plot) and Shazi finds herself warring between her desire for revenge and her growing feelings for Khalid. One of the overarching themes of the novel is revenge and the additional pain and suffering it can cause; all of the characters fall prey to its lure at some point in the novel. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way and some fantastic mini stories (I know there is a posh word for that, but my brain is refusing to remember it at the moment - I was thinking mise en abymes, but google is suggesting that they are something else). The ending was heartbreaking in a way that has left me desperate to read the next in the series: The Rose and The Dagger.

“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.” 

Shazi was a great character: her feisty wit was fun to read and I always wanted to know what she would say next. The italics used to show her internal turmoil was a really clever touch and often vocalised criticisms I might otherwise have had as a reader over her feelings for Khalid. It was a clever way of presenting a difficult emotional situation and I wouldn't have believed Shazi's actions without it. 

“I will live to see tomorrow's sunset. Make no mistake. I swear. I will live to see as many sunsets as it takes. And I will kill you. With my bare hands.” 

Khalid was flawed, but still an intriguing hero and I am really looking forward to seeing him develop across the series. His possessive nature would have been grating if Shazi hadn't called him out on it whenever it reared its head. 

“No. I want someone who sees beneath the surface-someone who completes the balance. An equal.”
“And how will you know when you’ve found this elusive someone?” Shahrzad retorted.
“I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.”
Shazi and Khalid's relationship was my favourite aspect of the novel and was the source of some of the most electric language. The scenes between them were beautifully written. 

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.”
“No. Destroy Me.” 

If you haven't read The Wrath and The Dawn yet, I really recommend that you check it out soon. I hated having to put it down and can't wait to return to the stunning world Ahdieh created in May. 

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