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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

February 2, 2018

Shahrzad is out for revenge. Or at least that’s what she thinks when she marries the murderous Khalid, Caliph of Khorasan, whose pervious brides have been found murdered by the break of dawn. But this time it will be different. To avenge her best friend before her, Shahrzad captivates the Caliph by telling an elaborate fairytale—one in which he must keep her alive to know what happens next. But as days turn into weeks, Shahrzad begins falling for the Caliph. As a result, the underlying secret Khalid and the whole palace have been keeping from the kingdom is revealed. Now they must destroy it, before it destroys them.

This powerful re-telling is based on the book A Thousand and One Nights, and not only has the element of romance, but is also a thrilling page-turner. The perspective switches between the two main characters, Shahrzad and Khalid, giving the reader their separate views on the situation. Ahdieh also employs character development extremely well, as the two personalities complement each other; both try to deny the fact that they love the other because of the positions they’re in.

Another well-crafted feature of this book was the development of secondary characters such as Sharzad’s handmaiden, Despina, whom she becomes close with as the book progresses. Characters like this are built up, and their stories unraveled, resulting in a captivating plotline with mulitiple elements. Ahdieh’s writing sweeps readers into a new land, where they experience the emotions of the characters right alongside them.

Something else particularly enjoyable about the tone of the book was that it wasn’t entirely a romance novel. Ahdieh incorporated this factor into the re-telling plotline, but there was a balance between the two genres. Although this made the novel slightly complicated, the author beautifully crafts the book in an understandable fashion. This allows the story to become complex without confusion.

The diction that Ahdieh uses puts the reader right into the scene, making it easy to picture this time and place through her amazing description and vivid details. The plot comes to life in readers’ minds, and holds their attention to the last page. Another aspect of the book that was interesting was how Ahdieh created Shahrzad as a character. She is nervous and scared, but too proud to show it, which makes for a surprising turn when she begins to fall in love with Khalid.

I definitely give this book a ten for its enticing and well-crafted plot. I recommend this book to students in middle school or above who enjoy fairytale-like stories with a romantic twist. Ahdieh also wrote a sequel to The Wrath and The Dawn titled The Rose and The Dagger, which is a continuation of the previous book and just as amazing. I hope you allow Ahdieh’s writing to transport you into the world of Sharzad and Khalid, and that you find it just as wonderful as I did.


Putnam, 404 pages

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