A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
I finished reading this book last night and 24 hours later I’m still so emotional that anything, and I mean anything, can make me tear up. The Wrath and the Dawn is definitely the best read of 2015 for me so far, and one of my favorite books ever.
Tariq snapped. “He murdered my cousin. And now he has Shahrzad. This is a man with nothing but evil in his blood. The only thing to consider when it comes to Khalid Ibn al-Rashid is how many times I wish he could die at my hands. And how unfortunate it is that the answer is only once.”
Tariq’s cousin, and Shahrzad’s best friend, Shiva, was taken as the bride of the Caliph of Khorasan and executed as soon as the dawn came, as it always happens. Shahrzad wants this madness to stop, so she volunteers. That alone obviously picks Khalid’s interest, which only increases when the two meet. Their first night together, being an amazing and clever storyteller, Shahrzad starts telling a story, and stops just before the dawn, and surprisingly enough her life is spared. Each night the two share time together, and no matter how hard she tries, Shazi can’t see the monster who killed her best friend behind the eyes of this boy-king.
“Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable… and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”
Shazi. Where do I even start? Shahrzad is this brave young woman, strong willed, and straightforward (she really can’t hold her tounge, and I loved it!).
“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”
But in the end she’s just a girl, and as much as she’s seeking revenge, can she really do what she came for, not knowing if there’s a reason behind every death? Khalid seems so much more than a murdered, or a ruthless king, and every moment he spends with Shazi seems to breach the wall built around his heart.
He was so close, his words were more breath than sound. “How – how dare you say that to me?” she whispered. His eyes glittered with something akin to amusement. “How dare I imply you caused this mess?” “Me? This is not my fault! This is your fault!” “Mine?” “You and your temper, Khalid!” “No. You and your mouth, Shazi.” “Wrong, you wretched lout!” “See? That mouth.” He reached up and grazed his thumb across her lips. “That – magnificent mouth.”
Their interactions are just incredible; they both fight against themselves to stop their feelings, but it’s impossible. You can really see the characters changing with every page turned. There are some amazingly tender moments, and gestures, which are so powerfull, also thanks to the mystical prose, that melted my heart and had me sobbing into my pillow.
With each word, he broke past every barrier, every wall. And Shahrzad’s will fought him, screamed a silent scream, while her heart welcomed the intrusion as a songbird welcomes the dawn.
Aside from Shazi and Khalid, the side characters are all interesting and so full of life; there’s enough banter to keep you smiling for days. But then, well, I ended up crying a lot, sobbing those embarassing loud sobs, while clutching your chest because why do all my favorite characters have to suffer so much!
“It’s a fitting punishment for a monster. To want something so much – to hold it in your arms – and know beyond a doubt that you will never deserve it.”
Ahdieh builds a world that is glorious and amazing beyond words; every detail about the palace, the characters, their feelings, or anything really, written in that beautiful writing, and the diversity, much needed in this genre, just made this book the more mesmerizing. The plot doesn’t only revolve around the two main characters. There are enough twists to leave you begging for answers at the end.
“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”
From the first to the last page I was hooked. And now starts the waiting for the second book!