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.
On one hand, this was a pretty enthralling, compelling story with magical elements, but on the other, it required me to ignore some gaping logical holes in order to enjoy it. In this case, I sat back and was prepared to overlook some of the flaws for the sake of entertainment – it really depends on my mood at the time whether I choose to do this or not – and I’m aware that it makes me a bit of a fickle reader.
I think my biggest issue with this one is Shazi’s lack of planning – the king kills a wife every morning, and you go there in some revenge fantasy, with your only option to live being that you tell such an intriguing story each night that the king cannot help but allow you to see another dawn in order for you to finish the tale? (Long confusing sentence is long and confusing.) That was your big idea? What exactly was your backup in case it didn’t work? Come now. Also, she has so many opportunities to end him but doesn’t take them, and before long Feelings Emerge and then it’s pretty much game over for the assassination attempt.
I did, however, enjoy the weaving of the story, from Shazi’s arrival to the somewhat hasty ending. As many people have mentioned, the side characters really stood out – from the take-no-shit handmaiden to the king’s cousin who isn’t afraid to poke the proverbial bear. The rich descriptions of the food, clothing and customs of the region were a gorgeous gift for the imagination. If you take The Wrath and the Dawn as an improbable fairy tale in itself, you’re in for a treat.