Review: The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

the wrath and the dawnEvery 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.

Rating: 3.5/5

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.

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20 thoughts on “Review: The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

  1. Haha I love this! I thought the same thing regarding Shazi– to be honest her stories weren’t that riveting, if I were Khalid she would be dead tbh. But I did enjoy the romance and the descriptive world! Fantastic review πŸ™‚

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  2. I am always so uncomfortable with retellings! It’s why I have yet to read this even though I’ve heard such praise. But the problems you pointed out would surely bother me as well, and her lack of planning would probably take away considerably from my reading enjoyment. Thank you for the honest review.

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    1. For some reason, of the many stories I was read as a child, fairy tales were hardly among them – and I didn’t watch many Disney movies either. So for me, a lot of the time, it’s the first time I’m encountering the tale – which is quite embarrassing to admit. But the lack of a plan, apart from “let me see if I can tell an interesting story to prevent the king from ordering my death” just struck me as really stupid.

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  3. I did intend to pick this one up, but yours isn’t the first review highlighting the lapses in the plot. So I’ve transitioned into indecision for now. I’m a stickler for details, in life and fiction, and I find it frustrating when things don’t stick together right. Excellent review!

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  4. I’m hoping to pick this one up (this book has definitely been super hyped up) but you make some really great points that I can definitely understand would be frustrating. I’m still planning on picking it up and seeing for myself, but great review! πŸ™‚

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  5. Her backup plan is to tell an intriguing story… oh wait πŸ˜„ She really should’ve been killed. I mean who would be that into a story to wait a day before hearing the rest? I’m slowly getting through the book and I’m liking it so far!

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  6. I was willing to give Shazi a pass on the storytelling thing because I’m like, ok, this is part of the original narrative, I accept that this is your plan. What I didn’t get was … why she never makes any attempts on his life. There’s a lot of *talk* of being badass and avenging her cousin or whatever but precious little action – and also just because you have *feelings* for someone who is a wife-murdering murderer doesn’t mean you should become involved with him!

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    1. Yes! I realise the storytelling aspect comes from the original tale, but the zero action in terms of getting revenge really bothered me. And it’s definitely a warning sign when you have feelings for a wife-murderer – in fact, this applies to so many YA heroines – just because you have feelings for the bad dude, does not make him good or redeem him! *shakes head*

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