Book Review: The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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.

For the love of young adult fairy tale re-tellings, this novel was everything I could have wanted it to be. Fast paced, dripping with what I like to call “quote-ables,” AND a unlikely love story between two very different people, The Wrath and the Dawn is impeccable.

Ahdieh wastes no time setting up the narrative and immediately places the reader in the palace with Shahrzad the first night (of 1001, presumably).  I felt an immediate connection to this stubborn strong-willed, clever, beautiful girl. Shahrzad’s (a.k.a. Shazi) goal is to kill the handsome Caliph in revenge for the murder of her best friend.  I don’t know about you, but a 17-year-old that goes into a situation like this knowing the likely outcome and does it anyway has earned my respect.  Was it the best decision? Definitely not. But it wouldn’t be a good narrative if there weren’t a few bad decisions peppered in.  The first night passes and Shazi is somehow complacent and determined to continue with her plan.

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Probably not accurate at all, but the details are brilliant.

The narrative does jump around in third person omniscient between Shazi, her father, her ex-boyfriend, and Khalid, but instead of this causing confusion as in some other novels, I really feel that it just strengthened the narrative arc by providing an entire world view of the story rather than just a focused glimpse into one part of the whole.  Speaking of strengthening the narrative, this entire novel made me hungry for food and clothes more than any in the past.  Ahdieh manages to put in so many lush details without it bogging down the story and she painted a vivid picture of what life could have been like in this world.   I also *may* have stalked the internet to find a representation of what some of the clothing looked like in my mind, but only found one that was close.

Let’s really get down to business now…the love story.  The whole trope of good girl meets bad boy is kind of turned on its head in The Wrath and the Dawn, because while the kingdom believes Khalid to be a vicious killer with no remorse, Shazi really starts to get to know him during her stay at the palace.  Not only does Khalid prove to be secretive and a bit manipulative, but he is also gentle and desires love.  What I really love about the relationship and respect that builds between Shazi and Khalid is the fact that they drive each other absolutely nuts. It is funny, endearing, and heart-wrenching all at the same time.

Thank goodness there is a second installment to Shazi and Khalid’s story because I just didn’t get enough.

I will leave you with a quote and a song, oh, and the final Bard total too.

“You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?” From TW&TD

*queues up song*

 

5 Bards to Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn.

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Be sure to come back Monday, May 25 for my interview with Renee!

 

Top 14 of 2014: Day 2

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Instead of taking a week off after the Christmas holiday like I have every year since A Midsummer Night’s Read opened, I am joining forces with Krista from Krista’s Dust Jacket and Kim from Kimberly Faye Reads to host a Top 14 of 2014 meme!

 Not only are you able to participate in this meme, but we will each be hosting giveaways on our blogs including extra entries if you participate and add to our links! Feel free to use the graphic above in your posts.

Today’s topic is:

Top 14 Moments or Quotes from Books

(I’m choosing to do quotes!)

1. “We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.” – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

2. “And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to be just a character, going whichever way the story says. It’s knowing you could be the author instead.” – Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

3. “We’re talking about the novel, right? But maybe we’re not. We’re talking about ourselves. And I guess that’s what can start to happen when you talk about a book.” – Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

4. “I somehow knew that the particulars didn’t matter. She was my heart, she was half of me, and nothing, certainly not a few measly hundred miles, was ever going to change that.” – Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

5. “There’s a difference between being a class act and being classy. Peeing off the side of a jeep doesn’t mean you’re not classy, it just means you’re a free spirit with a small bladder.” – Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

6. “A strange thing, words. Once they’re said, it’s hard to imagine they’re untrue.” – A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

7. “A childish story take, and with a gentle hand, lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined in Memory’s mystic band…thus grew the world of Wonderland.” – Unhinged by A.G. Howard

8. “The great thing about best friends is that they know you really well. And the terrible thing about best friends is that they know YOU really well.” – Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

9. “You have this weird fear of squirrels that defies all reason.”
“They have creepy eyes.” – Loop by Karen Akins

10. “We love films because they makes us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into the eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. they tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken.” – Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

memelistWhat were some of your favorite moments from books in 2014? Or your favorite quotes? I had to throw in a few comedic ones! Join our Meme!

Tomorrow’s topic is: Top 14 Favorite Covers!

 

Re-Read Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write a review of This Lullaby just because it is extremely hard for me to try not to gush about how much I love this novel and try to give it an actual critique-type review.  I am going to try though, but be forewarned: this is one of my favorite books of all time, so be prepared for gush.

Let me start off by saying that Dessen does an excellent job of establishing Remy’s, the narrator, voice immediately.  Not only is Remy a bit snarky, but she has some serious sarcastic and bitchy moments that really help characterize her for the rest of the novel.  Remy has a rock solid group of girlfriends to spend the summer with before college, and a typical place to hang out and sneak drinks underage.  I had all of these things as well.  Probably one of the reasons when I read this originally when it came out I felt like Dessen was writing about my life and my initial love for the novel.

After reading it again, I find that I am impressed by Dessen’s story telling ability and the subtle growth that Remy makes as the book continues.  Not only does Remy’s attitude start to shift, but she begins to become the person she needs to be in order to succeed in life.

Dexter, oh Dexter.  What can I really say about my first laugh-out-loud enjoyment and crush on a fictional character?  This doofus would likely be the love of my life if he was real.  The whole scene where Dexter and John Miller are discussing their respective relationships while sitting outside the QuikZip is brilliant.  Kudos to Dessen to making such an endearing character so vibrant and, well, crushworthy.

I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from This Lullaby, and an active plea for you to pick up a copy of this novel as soon as you can.  You will not regret it!

Favorite Quotes:

“Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour, could make all the difference. So much hanging on just these things, tiny increments that together build a life. Like words build a story, and what had Ted said? One word can change the entire world.”

“I meant what I said to you. I wasn’t playing some kind of summer game. Everything I said was true, from the first day. EVERY GODDAMN WORD.” 

“Huffah.”

5 Bards to the story I’ve always loved and for the story I will always re-read.

 

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