The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Monday 11 September 2017

One Life to One Dawn.

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. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

My god am I glad to be done with this book. I thought I'd come close to DNFing books before, but this right here was my biggest test. 100 pages into an almost 400 page book where practically nothing has happened? Boy did I come close to putting this down for good. So close.

But I didn't. I persevered, slogged my way through it, and emerged.... victorious? Sure, I conquered this snooze fest but there's no sense of accomplishment or satisfaction because I did not enjoy this book.

For one, I couldn't get on with the writing style and the (supposed) air of mystery surrounding everything. Things felt slapped together haphazardly and it was hard to follow what was going on because there was nothing going on. Instead of wondering what will happen to Shahrzad and why you're left stumbling about in a cloud on confusion that doesn't get cleared up until it's far too late and any interest you had is long gone. It tries to be suspenseful but, ultimately, it fails. Big time.

The plot was hard to follow as few things are revealed when you most need to know. Instead, new things are constantly being introduced and never fully fleshed out. It takes an absolute age for us to learn about why the caliph kills his brides, and in this time a magic system is introduced and there's lots of talk about flowers and who can and can't be trusted. More than anything, it feels messy and as if the author didn't think things through properly.

I also wasn't enamoured with any of the characters. Mostly because I felt like I hardly knew them and hadn't formed any kind of connections with them. Shazi is supposed to be a vengeful, grieving friend, and Khalid the cool, distant, murderous caliph. I didn't get that whilst reading. In fact, I didn't get much of anything, as everyone just felt flat. There were moments of humour from some of the side characters, but even they didn't serve much purpose in teaching me about anyone. Even after finishing the book I couldn't answer any questions about the characters or tell you who was who because everyone had merged into one.

The relationships, as well as the characters, were poorly formed and I didn't buy into them. I don't believe Khalid and Shahrzad fell in love. I don't believe Shiva was Shazi's best friend. And I don't believe that there was any kind of familial love between Shazi and her family. Nothing was present in any of these relationships, apart from lots of looking at Khalid. And just looking at someone does not make you fall in love: you actually have to like the person, and Shazi (supposedly) doesn't like him. It screamed insta-love and not the enemies to lovers vibe it was going for.

All in all, this book just didn't work for me. If nothing else, it should have made me want to keep reading but it didn't even do that. Picking it up every time was a chore, and reading should never feel like that.


  1. I know a lot of people had mixed opinions on this, but I personally really liked it. I liked how descriptive it was because it made me feel like I was right in the story. I'm really sorry it didn't work for you :(

    1. I'm glad you like it Emily! I just found it too frustrating to be enjoyable as the descriptions just felt too forced and weird to me. Ah well.

  2. I haven't read this one - but from the reviews I've read, it seems like it's quite a marmite read!

    1. Yeah, it definitely is! I've seen sooo many good reviews for it I was honestly shocked when i read it - was I even reading the same book as everyone else?!


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