Review: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

“I’ve been told a good storyteller can trap an audience with a single sentence.”

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This review contains *spoilers*.

I picked this book up completely on a whim, and I’m so glad that I did. I was completely entranced by The Wrath & the Dawn. The setting was just right, the writing was engaging, and I thought every character brought something important to the story. This book felt like it should go on forever, and I was really disappointed when it didn’t.

The Wrath & the Dawn follows Shahrzad on a quest to avenge the death of her dearest friend, Shiva. Her friend was executed at dawn by Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. Shahrzad is determined to stay alive.

“You said you understood; your life is forfeit. That was clear from the very beginning.”
Shahrzad rose to her full height. She pulled back her shoulders and lifted her elfin chin.
When she spoke, she matched the biting softness in his tone.
“All our lives are forfeit, sayyidi. It is just a question of when. And I would like one more day.”

The slow romance that developed between Shahrzad and Khalid had me on the edge of my seat. I needed wanted them to KISS already.

“You were saying?” He was so close, his words were more breath than sound.
“How—how dare you say that to me?” she whispered.
His eyes glittered with something akin to amusement.
“How dare I imply you caused this mess?”
“Me? This is not my fault! This is your fault!”
“Mine?”
“You and your temper, Khalid!”
“No. You and your mouth, Shazi.”
“Wrong, you wretched lout!”
“See? That mouth.” He reached up and grazed his thumb across her lips. “That—magnificent mouth.”

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When they finally did kiss, it was heartwarming and heartbreaking. This is the first book in a long time that has managed to make me feel so many emotions all at once.
I knew what Khalid was, a beautiful monster, but he had this perfect way with words and he was so sweet with Shazi and and and…

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“How can I desire him? After he killed Shiva? After he killed so many young girls, without explanation?
What’s wrong with me?”
I felt just as perplexed as Shahrzad, but Khalid was so good that it hurt me. My favorite parts of this book were always with the two of them together.

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But he’s not the monster everyone perceives him to be, he’s just a boy with secrets. “Just one boy and one girl.”
And when Shahrzad found his letters of apology to the families of the girls murdered at dawn, especially the letter addressed to Shiva’s family, I had tears streaming down my face.
This book.

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I also really cared about the secondary characters, they all added something special to the story.
The friendship between Despina and Shazi reminded me somehow of Cinder and Iko’s friendship, which I truly enjoyed. They made me smile with their daily conversations.
And Jalal had me laughing every single time he opened his mouth.

“Would you be willing to teach me how to use a bow and arrow, Captain al-Khoury?” she asked.
“That depends on a few things. The first being that you dispense with the formalities and just call me Jalal. The second being that Khalid never discover my part in this transgression.”
Khalid? He calls him by his first name?
“I can meet those terms. Gladly. If you’ll return the gesture, on both parts.”
“Jalal leaned forward conspiratorially. “Then follow me, Jalal.”
Shahrzad laughed.”

I really hope we’ll get to see more of Jalal and Despina together in the next book.

But I’m not quite sure how I feel about Tariq— I definitely didn’t want him to be with Shahrzad— whenever he did try to persuade her to be with him, I got really mad.
There’s just something about him that I don’t quite like. I can’t seem to put my finger on what exactly. He reminded me a bit of Adam from the Shatter Me Series.
So there’s currently more hate than love in my feelings towards Tariq. He frustrated me a lot (especially towards the end).

I know this isn’t you. I know something must have happened. But we can fix it. I can fix it. Come home with me. Every day we are apart is a day closer to death. A day wasted on what might have been. I can’t stomach it any longer. Come home.”
“But,” she whispered, “I am home.”
(I was so relieved when Shazi told him that.)

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All I can think of right now is that I need the sequel.
This story is captivating, beautiful, and definitely a favorite of mine. I can’t believe it’s over. I want need more.

5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying The Wrath & the Dawn, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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