“The rose’s rarest essence lives in the thorns.”
Indeed, the name of this book rings true in the emotions it made me feel. Like a rose, there were many parts that made me feel happy and complete. Like a dagger, there were definitely parts that hit me hard in the heart, making me want to cry. I felt such a huge range of emotions throughout my reading of this book, and it definitely contributed to my current huge book slump!
Shahrzad is forced to leave her beloved Caliph with Khorasan on the brink of war. While she may have thought him a monster before, the unraveling of his secrets leads to the discovery of both an extraordinary man and love. Many obstacles threaten the couple, including a curse and family, who have found refuge in the desert and are set on destroying Khalid and taking over his empire. Trapped between these two loyalties, Shazi decides to act using her blossoming magic to end the curse and the war, all while evading enemies of her own.
Where to start? This book touched me in so many places, and it truly was an emotional rollercoaster. One of my favorite things about this book was the character development. Almost all of them grew more mature and understanding of each other, willing to put aside their differences by the end of the book and fight for a common cause. Those who didn’t, like Jahandar, broke my heart, for he was an example of good intentions gone wrong. As for the others, I enjoyed seeing the relationships between former enemies blossom, including the progression of Shahrzad and Khalid’s relationship, which matured as time passed by. The love triangle was also resolved artfully, with the girl not being fought over like some prize and both parties understanding this. The one relationship that felt rushed to me was Irsa’s, but it was sweet and left not much room for complaint. This book also included many of the wonderful elements from its predecessor, including beautiful writing, setting descriptions, and plot twists. While almost nothing turned out the way I thought it would, I’m happy with the conclusion for the most part, especially for most of the girls. The epilogue was just too cute too!
My review may sound cheesy, but this book is truly deserving of all the praise. My only complaint is that Shahrzad’s story is over, but I can’t wait to see what Ms. Ahdieh writes next!