“It would not be a welcome dawn.”
One life to one dawn. In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, every day a new bride is taken only to be found with a silk cord wrapped around her throat. When sixteen-year-old Shazrad volunteers to be the next bride of the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, she vows vengeance for her best friends, Khalid’s latest victim. She not only promises to stay alive, but is also determined to end the caliph’s reign of terror. Shahrzad enchants Khalid, weaving a tale night after night to ensure her survival. But slowly and unexpectedly, her heart changes as she discovers that Khalid is nothing like she imagined; he is a boy with a tortured heart. Shahrzad comes to understand that nothing is at it seems in this palace, and she resolves to uncover any lurking secrets as well as finally end the caliph’s life in revenge for all the lives he has taken.
Ms. Ahdieh crafts a beautiful story, one every bit as enchanting as Shahrzad’s, in her debut novel, The Wrath and the Dawn. With amazing characters, vividly detailed setting descriptions, and a heart racing plot, it’s no wonder I raced through this book in a matter of two hours. The only reason I had to give this book a 9 out of 10 was due to a fault of my own: it took me a while to stop mixing up characters because I had a hard time with their names. Again, this is not at all Ms. Ahdieh’s shortcoming. I simply have not been exposed to enough literature set in the Middle East, which is another reason why I loved this book so much. It was a wonderful introduction to Middle Eastern culture. With breathtaking pictures painted by carefully crafted words, I was able to feel like I was actually there with Shahrzad and Khalid. And these two: what interesting characters they were! I was in awe of Shahrzad’s fierceness, born from a strong desire to protect what she loves. Khalid’s mysterious demeanor hid a caring and almost adorable personality, one which had me swooning as I read. I shipped this pair so much, and I felt like they really developed a strong chemistry. The “supporting characters” were not cast aside either: they each had their own backstories that shaped their behavior, for better or for worse. The plot itself was perfectly paced, with enough twists to leave me rapidly turning the pages without feeling hopelessly confused.
The ending of this book left me heart broken, and I was so restless in the few days it took me to obtain the sequel. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrilling tale, especially one with romance mixed in!