The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
“You are not weak. You are not indecisive. You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure.”Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn
I love reading retellings, they offer new perspective to a well loved tale and endless possibilities as to how the stories may end. One of my favourite retelling is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer which is a series I really enjoyed reading.
For my third read this October, it is The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. It is the first book of her The Wrath and the Dawn duology and it’s a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, more commonly known as The Arabian Nights.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen.
For my fourth read this month, it’s The Rose and the Dagger, second book in The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renée Ahdieh. I am halfway through the book and it was revealed that the only way to break Khalid’s curse is thru blood, meaning he has to shed some of his own to pay for his negligence.
The common curse atonement I read are true love’s kiss, death or blood, friendship, and realization of one’s own mistake and change. I think this concept is interesting if it’s well thought, like really clever and unique.
The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
I have high hopes for The Wrath and the Dawn, considering that the author is well known and the book won literary awards. The book premise is promising, boy murders wives and a girl avenging death of her best friend. I like that the story were combination of different stories from The Arabian Nights but also has its own story tell. The author was able to describe the scenes, foods, drinks, and clothes that gave me good visualisation. I also appreciate the dictionary in the end, it helped me understand the Arab terminologies making the reading experience easier.
In all honesty, I was rooting for Shahrzad and her plan on killing Khalid because that was the story supposed to be. Who knew a single kiss will just erase all the rage she felt and proceed not to kill him even if they just spent so little together? She constantly reminded herself that he was killer of her best friend but she was so weak to his charms and words. I feel so frustrated by the fact that she easily forgot her purpose, her first love, and even if there were letters, those don’t justify why Khalid kills and it’s his fault all along. He neglected his first wife and if I was the mother of the his wife, I’ll also curse him because of his pride and inattentiveness. I feel sorry for Tariq, Shahrzad’s first love, he just wants to rescue her but after a few weeks, she was like who this?
The quote above was an exchange between Shahrzah and Khalid which was confrontation scene where he gave her a dagger and instructed her to kill him for already knows the reason why she volunteered as his wife. I know this scene was supposed to be an important moment for the story but honestly, I couldn’t care less. Shahrzad was depicted like Katniss, good at archery and volunteered as the tribute, but performed poorly for her role, she was in deep Stockholm syndrome.
Overall, if your like retellings, Middle Eastern story background, and enemies to lovers trope, then you may give this a try.
Let us be friends!