May 26, 2018

Book Review: The Wrath & The Dawn / The Rose & The Dagger

After hearing about The Wrath and The Dawn / The Rose and The Dagger duology by Renee Ahdieh on book-tube, I was very excited to read this series.
The Wrath and The Dawn is the first book and follows Sharzad post-death of her friend at the hands of the supposed boy-King, Khalid. 

Khalid has killed every bride the morning following their wedding night and Sharzad is set on living to avenge her friends death. Her plan is to kill Khalid.
Quickly she arrives at the palace and becomes accustomed to life with her new husband. Through several encounters and her knack for story-telling Sharzad finds out that there is more to this killer King and surprisingly she's falling in love with him.

Khalid proves himself to Sharzad but keeps her at a distance. He has to protect her as he too is falling in love with her. The problem is, he is cursed. The curse originates from his first wife, Ava who died and whose father bestowed a curse of a thousand kills on Khalid. To break the curse, Khalid must kill one thousand souls to free himself. 

Sharzad and Khalid struggle to navigate their new relationship and feelings while political schemes and coup operations surround them in the kingdom.

Keep in mind, Sharzad is sixteen and Khalid is only eighteen. YA fiction always astounds me at the perils these young people find themselves in. At sixteen, I myself was trying to navigate algebra and pimples!

Nevertheless, these two begin their quest as husband and wife and as soon as they defeat one challenge, another pops up.

As this book finishes, Sharzad has been kidnapped and Khalid is feeling bad for himself still in his destroyed kingdom, post-battle.

This book was nice but not good or great. The dialogue is a nice detail towards the story and in keeping with the middle-eastern theme. Ahdieh uses authentic language and terminology to keep the rich setting alive - which I appreciated.

Joonam which translates to "my everything" was my favourite word in the whole book. Khalid refers to Sharzad as Joonam a few times within the books and I thought it was so beautiful. 

I'd also like to point out that Ahdieh paints the most magical food scenes that I've ever read. Saffron rice, lavash bread, fresh vegetables and more! Reading these scenes made me hungry!

The Rose and The Dagger was a nice finish to this story and although the lot of characters could be slightly confusing, I made it through. Sharzad gets to explore her magical gift (which I wish had been expanded upon further in The Wrath and The Dawn). Khalid is struggling with the curse and it is becoming stronger within his body.

As the politics and plotting behind the scenes of the secondary characters comes to a head, Tariq the love interest of Sharzad from The Wrath and The Dawn also comes to a nice close. 

I'll be honest, the whole love triangle thing as a theme  in books, is kind of driving me crazy. 

We also get to meet Irsa, Sharzad's younger sister. She plays a big role in this story and her relationships also help to round out the story.

In terms of the layout of the whole story, I felt that the first book just kind of throws Sharzad right into the palace. There is no real explanation as to how she gets there or the process of how a bride is chosen for Khalid, so that could have been some nice background.

The character of Khalid was your stereotypical quiet, disturbed and distraught young man. I looked at him like the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. The curse that holes up inside of him and the things that he has endured and done have put this shroud of darkness over him so you definitely feel bad for him.

One thing that I did love was the Ahdieh really puts an emphasis on love and putting ones interest above your own and the sacrifices that we make for our loved ones.

The dynamics of relationships conveyed in these books aren't detailed too much, but there is strong father figures and no real mother figures. The mother's either don't play a role in the dialogue or they have been killed as part of the story.

Now in kingdom based stories and typical middle-eastern cultures, the men are the head of the household and women typically do not have a voice in matters concerning politics and the business of the family. So I'm not sure if the author intended the characters to have no real feminine, motherly figures, but it was something that I definitely noticed while reading these books.

The story of the Girl Who Chased the Moon was a really nice tale woven into The Rose and The Dagger. When I read that part I had goosebumps! 

While this was a nice series to read, and I'm glad that I read it, I think I hyped it up to much. I did like that the name Leila was used for Khalid's mother. So that was kind of cool to see.
Overall, these books were okay. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them either. The Wrath and The Dawn was my favourite out of the two.

I have Renee Ahdieh's The Flame in the Mist on my Goodreads page marked as Want to Read, but I'm not sure if I will. 

Anyways, onto the next book!

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