The Wrath and The Dawn Book Review

Shazi and Ahdieh Leave Fans on a Cliffhanger

The Wrath and The Dawn
Renée Ahdieh

3 / 5

Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, and King of Kings, is seen as a monster by his people, as he repeatedly takes a new bride every night, only to have her executed at sunrise the following day. Shahrzad, a headstrong and confident young woman, volunteers herself to be the Caliph’s new bride, with the mindset of attempting to outwit him and exact revenge on behalf of her friend who suffered the same tragic fate as all of his brides. 

The Wrath & The Dawn

Shazi extends her date with death by telling Khalid a story which she is unable to finish before the sunset, consequently leading her to live another day. This stay of execution provides the springboard for Shazi to undertake her investigations into Khalid’s character, to find out his weaknesses and the reason behind the brides deaths. Eventually, she finds out that nothing is simple and the uncovering of Khalid’s many secrets provide Shazi with tortuous dilemmas. The relationship between the two develops interestingly, and to add to matters is Tariq, an impulsive and skilful young man who loves Shazi passionately, who has begun proceedings to rescue her from Khalid and to plan a coup for the kingdom.

[ Contains Some Spoilers ]

The romance between Shazi and Khalid is described incredibly well, except for the repetition of some phrases that became the standard such as ‘flashing eyes’ and the smell of ‘sandalwood and sunlight’. Besides those minor grievances, the language did flow well, and Ahdieh did conjure some fantastic metaphors and declarations of love from Khalid.

“For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the dark sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.”

“My soul sees its equal in you.”

“Love is – a shade of what I feel.”

These would definitely make female readers swoon, but more importantly, these speeches had a similar effect on Shazi, who, despite her determination and single-mindedness, was turned by Khalid’s words, eyes and body. In all honesty, I was hoping for more resolve from Shazi, as she fell for him very quickly despite not knowing his reasons for killing his other brides, including her best friend Shiva. Shazi’s disloyalty for falling for Khalid, her friend’s murderer, lacks weight with the reader, who almost have no feeling for Shiva and are more interested in the Shazi-Khalid romance. Personally, I feel Shazi’s friendship with Shiva should have been introduced at the beginning of the story, so the reader could understand Shazi’s wretched feelings, rather than having their friendship appear like an afterthought in comparison to her growing feelings for Khalid. The reader doesn’t feel much for Shiva, and apparently that is the case for Shazi too, as loyalty goes out the window the longer she spends in the palace.

One thing I will bring up here concerns the main dilemma of the story. Why hasn’t suicide crossed Khalid’s mind? He could not only save 100 innocent girls (including Shazi), but also the entire kingdom? By continuing on this course, more and more innocent people will suffer, and Khalid’s and Shazi’s guilt will continue to mount up. By doing the noble thing of forsaking himself to make up for his past failings concerning his first and subsequent wives, he will ensure that Shazi lives, the kingdom will not suffer, and the curse will have been lifted.

Moving on front that niggling notion, a personal highlight of the story’s structure was the dialogue and moments of silence between Shazi and Khalid. The thrilling exchanges between Shazi and Khalid opened a window into their developing relationship, and the slow withdrawal of Khalid’s guard as he lets Shazi further into his heart and mind. It was good to see that the King and Queen were on an even keel during their discussions with one another. The clash of personalities contributed to fascinating conversations and the developing storyline. Even the silences shed light on their thoughts, which combined with the internal monologue of Shazi, which I viewed as, as important as the dialogue itself, as she mentally wrangles with herself and her feelings for someone she once described as a monster.

The developing political and supernatural forces, which played intriguing supporting roles to the Shazi-Khalid romance were an interesting inclusion to the story, and these aspects will undoubtedly play a more crucial role in the sequel especially after the thrilling finale. I felt that the story was strong enough already without magic, due to the engaging premise, the romance between the two leading characters and the political stirrings among a faction that are planning to depose the King. However, the magic, if used well, will help to make the sequel an even better read, especially as the ending provided a glimpse of what is possible.

Like the cliffhanger stories that Shazi told Khalid to keep herself alive, Ahdieh does the same with The Wrath, as Ahdieh leaves the reader on a cliffhanger ending which has a plethora of potential outcomes. We will just have to wait another night to hear the conclusion of this thoroughly interesting story. 

I know quite a few of you have done a review of The Wrath, so feel free to post the link to your review so I and others can have a look! 🙂

Published | May, 2015
Goodreads | 4.2 

4 thoughts on “The Wrath and The Dawn Book Review

  1. This is such a great review and I agree with so many of the points you made. I do feel that if Shiva and her friendship with Shazi had been a bit more central then I would have cared a lot more but unfortunately the only time Shiva’s memory had any impact on me was when Shazi read the letter Khalid wrote about her.

    In terms of the suicide point. I think he may have considered it but I think if he had done that then it would have allowed his “uncle by marriage”, Reza to move in and usurp the land and I’m not sure if his suicide would have even ended the curse or not since he wanted Khalid and the family of the women to suffer as much as he did emotionally. The magic in the world wasn’t as fleshed out as I’d have liked it to be so it remains to be unclear but I’d say it was more due to the uncertainty that prevented him from suicide. 😀

    • There wouldn’t be “the family of the women” to be made to suffer as Khalid wouldn’t be able to take a bride as he would be dead (unless the curse applies to every potential bride in the kingdom). I think the man who cursed Khalid, did exactly that. Cursed Khalid. He was responsible for the death of the man’s daughter, not the kingdom or potential brides to come. If Khalid did the noble thing and fell on his sword, I am confident that the curse would be fulfilled in the eyes of the man.
      Even if the “uncle by marriage” gained power, what difference would the people feel? I have seen no evidence that Khalid is a good ruler. The only thing I have seen is him trying to build a better irrigation infrastructure, and the reason for that was the curse, which would no longer be around. But balance that against 100 dead girls?

      *Though this is all guesstimation. Anyway, we’ll never know!! 🙂

  2. The romance in The Wrath and the Dawn was probably my favorite part mainly because of Khalid and Shazi’s relationship. I love that, as you mentioned, they saw each as equals but were also different enough and didn’t always share the same opinions, which made the dialogue interesting.

    And interesting alternative! Suicide wasn’t an option I considered, but you do make a point. However, I will probably have to agree with Lois’ comment somewhat. Instead of fearing for the kingdom under the “uncle by marriage”‘s rule, I think it was more of the burden of having a great responsibility to lead many people. I think there’s seldom been royal suicides among kings/queens that were the last of their bloodlines. XD Also, I don’t want to assume… and I’m not certain what religious views Khalid held. Maybe suicide wasn’t a choice because of his beliefs. Who knows!

    Anyway, I’m interested to see what you’d think with The Rose and the Dagger, Richard. I actually buddy read both books with Lois.. and we both pretty much agreed that we liked the second book less than the first. But I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

    • Thanks for your thoughts!
      I’ll have a look at both of your reviews for The Rose and the Dagger after I have read it myself, and we can compare them.

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