by Renee Ahdieh
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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.
➸ BR with my broken boys’ favorite specialist, Chelsea
✘ Useless horrible love-triangle : now, that’s an addition to the original tale that doesn’t appeal to me. Indeed it was unnecessary and resulted in predictability for the plot. Plus, Tariq is an asshole. A stupid one at it.
✘ Fast forward in Shazi’s feelings : what is it with the fluttering in the stomach after one night? So Khalid listened to her story, so what? At this point he never showed anything to prove that there’s more to him than his
fucking murderer caliph’s status. More generally, I’m sorry because I know that many of my friends loved her, but Shazi annoyed me something fierce, especially because her inner monologues were always in contradiction with her acts and well, grew old after several chapters. I despise him. I WILL take revenge. I WILL stop my heart from fluttering (again with this word, godammit, I don’t even know how many times she used it), I WILL kill him. Oh, come on. We both know you won’t. Just stop it.
“The tightening in her chest… would have to be ignored.
At all cost.”
It remains to be seen.
The truth is, I was told during the whole book that Shazi was badass and fierce but I’m still not convinced. What I saw is a beautiful, immature and ill-tempered girl who never even tried to fulfill her quest. There. I said it. Actually she reminded me of Frances from Daughter of Deep Silence, as to me her behavior never justified who she was supposed to be and what she was supposed to do.
✘ Can somebody explain to me why Khalid is interested in Shazi in the first place? Why does he seek her after the wedding? Huh? Oh, yes, he does explain it at some point, but his reasons are far too close to instalove for my taste, sorry. So, no, I’m not mad because it is mostly a romance, because I do like romance and that it could have been beautiful. Yet sadly, as it is, I didn’t buy it and therefore never felt enthralled nor captivated.
✘ It was boring : So much that I struggled to go on and felt the urge to skim some parts – I didn’t, but damn, how I wanted to! I’m pretty sure that I can explain this by the fact that I didn’t connect with the characters : I didn’t care about them one bit before the last 30%, therefore it was pretty hard to feel involved in their story. Moreover, let’s be frank, almost nothing happens during most of the book, but I do feel like I read an eulogy of Shazi’s PERFECTION in all things. Good for you, girl. Now show me. I’m waiting. And don’t even get me started about the parts in Tariq’s POV.
✘ I have to admit that I am on the fence about the writing, since there are some features I loved (I’ll come back to them later). However, mostly I found it over-descriptive, with several similes which made me roll my eyes, and in my opinion I wasn’t shown enough.
✔ The settings : I felt like I was there, either in the palace or the market or anywhere the characters go, really. The writing was evocative and if sometimes on the purple prose side (as I said earlier), it did make a great job as creating the world-building.
✔ I liked Khalid‘s character for the most part, who was complex and interesting, even though his eyes-opening changes thanks to Shazi are rather clichés – who don’t like a broken King, tell me? His inner turmoil moved me, especially in the last 30%.
✔ If most of the story failed to pull me in, I have to admit that the last 30% hooked me (well, kind of) and were way better in my opinion (except for everything linked to Tariq. Really, what an useless prick). Is it enough to make me want to read book 2? Frankly, I don’t know. I guess I’ll see.
► Here I am, disappointed and in the minority. The only thing I can say is that unfortunately I didn’t like The Wrath and the Dawn how much I thought I would (I’m the queen of understatements), now do whatever you want with it.