AH! THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. WE’VE BEEN SO EXCITED FOR THIS DISCUSSION.
Synopsis: 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?
Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end. – Goodreads, The Wrath and The Dawn
Eden: This book. This damn book was SO good. I sat down one night at about 10 p.m. and didn’t get up until I finished it. The story telling is so well done, Renee Ahdieh is a wonderful writer and she manages to make the stories that the main character Shahrzad tells interesting. I think the thing that got me about The Wrath and The Dawn was that every character had defining characteristics. Nobody was the same. I mean, I thought the kings body guard was an interesting character and I don’t think he said a single word in the entire book. Behind A Court of Mist and Fury, this is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year — 5/5 would read again.
Jenn: I absolutely loved this book. It would have to fall in the top 5 books I’ve read this year. It’s probably tied for #1 to be honest. The storytelling ability that Ahdieh has is crazy. The book has an oratory feel to it which really made the story feel richer and more multi-dimensional. I loved the characters and how they were not your typical archetypes we find in YA. I think what I loved most though was how smart the main character was. Shahrzad used her intellect first and foremost. It was her most powerful weapon. I really appreciated that Ahdieh highlighted this. I gave this book a 5/5 and I’m very excited to read the second book in this series.
Caitlynn: I am already ready to reread this book. It was so well done it’s unbelievable more people haven’t recommended it! Ahdieh gave me something in my life that I didn’t know was missing and I’m so glad this book was on our book club list because I’m not sure I would have picked it up on its own. Everything Eden and Jenn said above is completely 100 percent accurate and there is nothing more that I could ever wish out of this book. Even with it being a duology, the story was perfect and I don’t feel that any part of it was left out by being one. 10/5 stars for me.
DISCUSSION & SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t read The Wrath and The Dawn and plan to read it, it would be best not to read anymore.
Jenn: I like that it wasn’t about her being super strong or having a special power or…
Caitlynn: Super revenge powers.
Jenn: Yeah! A lot of times our heroines are awesome fighters that no one knows about or like crazy things like that but I like that it was her intelligence that got her out of her first issues.
Caitlynn: She totally entranced me in the stories she was telling me too!
Jenn: I loved that I already knew many of the stories she was telling so I got to anticipate Khalid’s reactions to them.
Eden: Yes! Adhieh is just an incredible writer. The flow throughout the entire book was impressive. It was funny because at the beginning of the book she says, “A good story teller can captivate an audience with the first line of a story,” and she literally did that.
Jenn: I liked that it was more done in an oratory style so it reads more true to the time whereas when you read a period piece it comes off very victorian no matter the period because they think that language has to be stilted. This was more casual speech which made it more relatable and realistic.
Eden: But yeah, I was surprised that I actually like the main character Shahrzad. I usually don’t like main character so that was refreshing. And I thought Khalid was an interesting character that I want to know more about.
Caitlynn: I like that we still don’t know a lot about him or what’s going on with him.
Eden: Yeah, like what’s going on with his brain.
Jenn: He’s obviously possessed.
Eden: I hated Tariq with a passion though.
Caitlynn: Oh my God.
Jenn: I just didn’t care about his part. I was like, “Can I stop reading this part?”
Caitlynn: Can I skip his chapters?
Jenn: That was the same with the dad, like, “I don’t care.”
Eden: Oh yeah. And Jahandar, Shahrzad’s dad sounded like a real piece of shit.
Caitlynn: I’ve started the second book and there’s a lot of foreshadowing about him in the first book.
Eden: Any favorite parts of the book?
Jenn: Shahrzad shutting down Khalid’s uncle.
Eden: Oh that’s a great part.
Caitlynn: What were you thinking?
Eden: I was thinking the alley when she picks up the bow and arrow and he’s like, “Oh, you can shoot pretty well.”
Caitlynn: I just loved any part where she had tons of snark.
Eden: So any time she was with Despina. That was a great female friendship.
Jenn: And when she was with Jalal.
Eden: This book made me a fan of romances. I usually hate that, but I found myself rooting for them to kiss.
Jenn: Yeah. I don’t want it to be the plot line, but I like when it’s just natural between the characters.
Eden: To add, I loved the fact that this book was centered around people of color. Like, this wasn’t just white people hanging out in a castle. They were obviously of middle eastern origin.
Caitlynn: None of that Glittering Court white. That book had one black person.
Jenn & Eden: Caitlynn, Mira was caramel colored.
Jenn: Mead left her racially ambiguous.
Eden: Anyway, I read a review in which a girl gave The Wrath and The Dawn two stars. I thought maybe she didn’t like the premise or something. No. She gave it two stars because she didn’t like that it wasn’t white people and white people names. I was absolutely furious because this book is so well crafted and the writing and storytelling is beautiful.
Jenn: It was refreshing reading a book that was so much more diverse. Also, why pick up the book if you don’t want the diversity?
Eden: Good question.