The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh:
Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
(kind of spoilary but nothing major!)
Unfortunately, I was just not impressed with twatd. I felt like the plot had soooo much potential (as did the characters) and yet it didn’t go anywhere.
Plot: The basis of the plot is that Khalid, the eighteen year old boy Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride every day only to kill her by the next morning. When sixteen year old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shazi vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. She is determined not only to stay alive, but also to assassinate the monster who killed her best friend.
Night after night, Shahrzad tells Khalid stories to ensure her survival. But *shockingly!!!” they begin to fall in love. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Shahrzad learns that 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.
Things I didn’t like:
i. Confusing: Honestly half the time I had no clue what was going on in this book. I had to reread whole pages just to grasp what the scene was about. Now sometimes if there’s a lot of action in a book I like to reread just to picture the situation better (@ game of thrones) but I did NOT enjoy having to reread pages of dialogue just because I was confused with all the jumping around.
ii: Annoying Characters: I also found all of the characters EXTREMELY obnoxious. Like I did not like a single character. Khalid is emotionally manipulative and quite honestly an asshole and Shazi is just annoying?? Like I just could not relate to her at all. And good lord the side characters were awful! I spent half the book wanting to punch Despina in the face hahah ok moving on.
iii. No Worldbuilding: If you’re looking for a beautifully fleshed out world akin to The Grisha Trilogy, Six of Crows or Throne of Glass this book is NOT for you. I wanted to see more of the main city, Rey, but it just never happened. Shazi left the palace twice and nothing else of the world was described. In fact, the palace was barely described which I found so frustrating. I’m a very visual person and live for imagery in books! This book does not have the “scenery imagery” I was craving.
iv. Love Triangle: One of the side characters Tariq was literally just added to be an element of a love triangle. He kind of had his own story line (which had some potential) but then he just ended up being the third tier of a very poorly written love triangle. I never EVER thought I would have a good word to say about Twilight but like at least Jacob had his own storyline? I enjoyed reading about the werewolves and once things didn’t work out with Bella he kind of moved towards having his own story but this is not the case for Tariq. Boooo love triangles.
v. Unrealistic Lovers: My pet peeve about a lot of ya novels is that two characters just instantly fall in love despite them just meeting or not being a good match for each other. And lo and behold, Shazi and Khalid suffer from not one but TWO of this annoying traits!! Both are 1. very emotionally abusing towards each other and 2. not even a good match for each other and 3. spend little time actually interacting. I could talk about this part of the book for ever so lets just leave it at I don’t ship them. At all.
vi: No Character Development: I’m literally such a slut for character development. So after reading Throne of Glass and Game of Thrones, this book simply couldn’t compete. Shazi and Khalid are the EXACT same people they were at the beginning of the book they’re just “in love” now. Ugh. The characters had so much potential to grow but sadly, they didn’t.
Things I did like:
i. Writing Style: Renée Ahdieh has potential to be a very good writer. Despite a predictable plot and some overused character tropes, I definitely enjoyed a lot of the quotes in this book. Although there was little world building or scenery imagery, there was a lot of attention spent on clothing, food, voices and character’s appearance.
- “I have learned above all is that no individual can reach the height of their potential without the love of others. We are not meant to be alone, Shahrzad. The more a person pushes others away, the clearer it becomes he is in need of love the most.”
- “You are—remarkable. Every day, I think I am going to be surprised by how remarkable you are, but I am not. Because this is what it means to be you. It means knowing no bounds. Being limitless in all that you do.”
ii. Setting: Yay for ya books not set in a traditional european setting! Indian folklore was a refreshing change.
As a final note, I did not enjoy this book. If you are looking for a new, unique ya novel, I doubt The Wrath and the Dawn is for you. However, don’t let me sway you into not reading it! Again everyone is different and this might be your new favorite book of all time 🙂 just let me know what you thought about this book in the comments I’d love to hear from people!