Okay, maybe not that many reasons but I really love the first book of Renee Ahdieh’s rendition of One and One Thousand Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn. One of the main reasons is the fact that there are only two books in this series. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good series as much as the next bibliophile but much like a lot of South Korean dramas that I watch and my run-on sentences, it just needs to stop dragging on and end. This is the first book I’ve read with a Middle Eastern background and it is truly refreshing and a lovely break from my usual choices.
The book opens with an eerie prologue about the young king brooding over his murderous deeds when dawn came. Like I stated in my short review on Goodreads, I groan each time I read about a royal with a dark and tragic past. Yet that’s most of the books I read. I guess deep down I’m a sucker for those types of characters. (This is incredibly off topic but I’m also a sucker for heroes with dark hair and light eyes)
Khalid, the boy king of this story, is wondrously flawed and is completely honest about it except for his deep, dark secret for the most part of the book. He never claims to be perfect and never claims to be a good person. He goes as far as reaffirming Shazi he is the monster she believes him to be. Well through the book, I just wanted to hug this poor kid and pat his head saying everything will get better. He is also very intelligent, one of his better benefits to being king.
Shazi is whirlwind of smart sass. There were many moments I yelled out, “Shade!” or “Savage!” or whatever lingo people use these days. We find out early on in the book she volunteers to marry Khalid to avenge her best friend’s death. Quite extraordinary for a sixteen-year-old. Much in tune to the flow of YA, Shazi begins to see the boy behind the tyrannous monster when she prolongs her death.
I love Khalid and Shazi’s relationship, despite the grim beginning of it. I love how Khalid just takes her sass in stride. I loved reading their conversations with each other. I admit I was a bit frustrated with how they dealt with a few things but I forgave them since they’re teenagers in the world of YA fiction. I really appreciate how they understand each other and address their feels to each other.
I felt the side characters felt a bit undeveloped to me which is okay since the story is mainly about Shazi and Khalid. I really like Despina’s ability to match and even best Shazi’s retorts and tantrums. She’s part mom, part friend, and part older sister that Shazi never had. Jalal is the epitome of a skirt chaser who actually has sincere feelings deep down. Tariq, I believe, is the most underdeveloped. He’s just the childhood sweetheart who tries to rescue his love from a murderous king and not much else. His reaction to Shazi and Khalid’s interactions is what you’d expect.
On a random note, there is one line that I highlighted and artfully commented, “daaaannnnngggg”.
…“A shared history does not entitle you to a future, my friend.”…
I’m very excited to read the next installment, The Rose and the Dagger, which was released on April 26th. I hope not too many lives will be lost. I hate getting attached to a character then they die. I know fans of GoT and AoT know how I feel.
Note: I do not own any of the photos I use unless stated otherwise. Credit to Goodreads for the book cover and book summary.