The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (Review)


Summary: A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retellings

Cover: I was first drawn to this cover when I saw someone on Youtube talking about this book being released, and I absolutely love how mysterious it looks.

My thoughts: The Wrath and the Dawn is a story told in multiple point of views that focus on a girl named Shahrzad who volunteers to marry the Caliph of Khorasan. But there is a catch. The Caliph, named Khalid, kills each of his brides the next morning after their wedding. The only reason why Shahrzad chose to marry the dangerous Khalid to murder him as an act of revenge for killing her best friend. She uses her captivating skills in story telling to lure Khalid into letting her live through a full day of their marriage in promise of finishing the tale the next night. But as days progress, Shahrzad finds out that the rumors about Khalid aren’t necessarily true and she even might be falling for the ruler of Khorasan despite his flaws. 

I absolutely fell in love with this book because the writing is so poetic and intoxicating and the story is addicting to read. I immediately became engrossed by Shahrzad’s hatred she had directed towards Khalid who she planned to kill because of how many brides he’s murdered over time. I also became interested in the side characters who brought another side of the story together that let a fantasy element of the book rise as the book progressed. It made me curious to see where the story was going to go thanks to Shahrzad’s motives along with the minor characters who were trying to rescue Shahrzad from Khalid. 

One thing that made me obsessed with this entire story was the unexpectedly heart-warming relationship between Khalid and Shahrzad. From the moment they met, Khalid acted in a different way than he usually did with any other bride by being more gentler and reserved whenever Shahrzad told him her stories at night. They connected in a way that wasn’t too abrupt or fast paced but progressed in a really lovely way that warmed my heart. Just reading the dialogue between the two characters made me fangirl over how much I loved them together as a couple because they spoke so eloquently to each other. Simple actions between the two characters made me smile like an idiot at the book because they were so, so perfect for each other.

Another aspect of this story that I loved was how strong Shahrzad became with her position as the queen of Khorasan. She never acted in a compulsive way and thought through all her options she had placed in front of her during any moment. She never let herself feel useless and stood up for what she believed in. Khalid also developed into this kind ruler who had a special love for Shahrzad that caused him to make actions to protect her no matter what. He changed dramatically over the book through secrets and stories shared to Shahrzad that really did redeem him in my eyes. 

This book, although it does have some fantasy elements that I believe will appear more often in the sequel, was very political. You learned a lot about Khalid’s plans as a ruler along with Shahrzad’s roles as the new queen. The world building was very easy to understand and there was never a dull moment in this book. The magical elements of this story definitely intrigued me and I cannot wait to read the sequel considering this book left me off on a cliff hanger that made me want more of Khalid and Shahrzad’s story. I highly recommend this book for fantasy lovers along with those who have read The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

Rating: ★★★★★