The Wrath and the Dawn
By: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Retelling/ Another bloody series
I’ll admit I dove into this retelling in large part because I never really liked A Thousand and One Nights. So I thought a new version might really do it for me. I also wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize this was another series. I probably wouldn’t have jumped on it so fast if I knew that and to be honest it wasn’t necessary to write this as a series. It could have been done in one book.
The story is pretty much the same. There’s even an Aladdin mention. Khalid is marrying young girls in his town and killing them the next morning. One of those girl’s he kills has a best friend, Shahrzad who volunteers to be the next wife so that she can take him down. She manages to buy herself some extra time by telling stories and of course… they fall in love. Because that’s what you do with people who murder your friends?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a little torn on this book. It was well written and the deeper mystery about Khalid, his family and why he’s doing what he’s doing is a very interesting part of the book. But to me it fell down hard in other areas. Shahrzad doesn’t really tell many stories and after that is generally obnoxious and telegraphs the fact that she could potentially be dangerous. (She wants to see him at fighting even though that’s not allowed. She gives up the fact that she’s an excellent shot with a bow and arrow…) Khalid seems willing to keep her around no matter what she does.
Was it love at first sight? Did he want her to end him? Was he just so intrigued he was willing to take a chance? I guess those are questions for the next book.
This is also one of those books where the main female character is openly rude and hostile to any one of a number of so-called dangerous and powerful people. Including one that Khalid is afraid of but the same people find her attractive and adorable in her rudeness. Total nitpick but still something that’s starting to annoy me in these stories.
So while I was torn on Shahrzad as a character there’s this whole subplot with her father and magic that was odd and didn’t go anywhere (next book I assume) and her childhood love. The ending was a cliffhanger and the preview of the next book at the back of my version left me a little confused about where this is going. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or a good thing. I guess it’s a question of how you like your intrigue.
Recommend: Tentatively yes. But to be honest I’d wait until the series is complete before I started a journey into this world.