young adult • fantasy • romance • retelling
“For love, people consider the unthinkable . . . and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”
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.
This book was one of my most anticipated young adult books in 2015. HOWEVER, although the book was pretty much hyped all around ‘young adult-fantasy-fan’ -ville, I thought it was just an okay book. I mean, the thing about being an author of an anticipated books is that you have so many readers waiting, fantasizing, and trying to picture the story since the book was announced until finally have it in their hands. And that’s when reader will judge whether it meets the standard they had set or not. The Wrath and The Dawn was not a bad book, I felt okay about it just because that maybe it wasn’t really what I was expecting. Well, there’s also the part that as a first book in a series, there always a certain standard to meet for me.
The premise was really good. I mean, retelling of A Thousand and One Night was the rarest of the rare. (Well, for me at least since this was the first one I’ve read so far. Or maybe I forgot if I had before. Anyway, it was still rare.) My problem was that (like I’ve said before), It left too much of expectation when in fact the story was a bit . . . boring? Well, I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy everything, I did enjoy some of it though but the story was just slightly too slow. It was probably started to get exciting in the last 30% of the book.
The main character, Shahrzad was somehow a bit annoying for me mainly because I was hoping she would be more tough and bad-ass to kill the king. I would prefer she didn’t instantly swooned away by the king who murdered her best friend. It was a bit distracting but like I said before, it was okay. The king’s character was so complex and mysterious that he probably was my favorite character in the book. But I really need an explanation as for why did the king spare Shahrzad’s life only for a story. I mean, was it really because of her stories or there were something else he saw in her.
The romance in the book was a bit shaky for me. There were times that I was swooned away by Khalid and Shahrzad scene. But there were also part that I felt it was a bit overdone, and didn’t have the effect it was meant to. And then there was a love triangle. I personally thought that the love triangle should have not been in the story. It would have been better if her own father did the revenge himself, or she have a brother rather than a childhood lover. Tariq’s character was really distracting the whole story because I didn’t have the slightest chemistry with his character. At all. Again, maybe because this is the first installment to the series, that her father and Tariq’s revenge and salvation plot was taking reaaally slow. It should have started earlier so the story would be more exciting.
I love the way the book was written. Some people may find it a bit too much, but as a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, I thought it really suit the Arabian setting perfectly. I personally didn’t think it was overdone (Well, there were one or two conversation that didn’t really fit the moment but I still thought it was perfect). I would liked it more maybe if it wasn’t told as a third person perspective. I’m not sure, I would prefer to know each character individually more though.
So overall, I hope in the second book there would be more magic (obviously with how this one ended, it should have more in the next book), more adrenaline-rushed/action to spice up the story. And of course, more of an Arabian night feeling.