A great YA retelling, The Wrath and the Dawn tells the story of Shahrzad, a sixteen-year-old girl out for vengeance, and Khalid, a young king who marries a new young woman each night and then strangles each the following morning. It’s a retelling of 1,001 Nights, but is much more than that. I was initially afraid I wouldn’t like the book much due to overhype syndrome, but I’m happy to report I ended up really enjoying this book.
In the book, Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid, so she can eventually kill him in revenge for killing her best friend, who previously married Khalid. She saves her own life by telling Khalid stories. As she continues to live, she slowly comes to realize that all may not be what it seems, including the murderous king. This book was an easy read that packed in love, suspense, and mystery, all in one.
Shahrzad was a likable character, though at times I found her kind of vexing. She’s a strong female character, though, and I appreciated that about her. She actually has the skills to carry out revenge, which is a nice touch. I also found Khalid to be fascinating. He’s intentionally kept fairly mysterious throughout the novel, but the glimpses you catch convince you that something else may be going on. I enjoyed watching the interplay of the two against one another, and with each other. It’s a very fun dance to be a part of.
The side characters also have stories of their own, with varying levels of enjoyment. Tariq, Shahrzad’s childhood sweetheart, her father, her servant at the palace, Khalid’s childhood friend…they all have their own problems and their own parts in the story. Some are interesting, like a clandestine palace love story. I, however, did not find myself liking Tariq very much at all. He’s very much a rush ahead without a lot of planning or thinking kind of guy, and her father’s role in everything also rubbed me the wrong way. Despite this, though, I loved the story. I eventually reached a point where the book was impossible to put down, especially once a hint of magic was introduced.
Basically, this book contained promising characters, a suspenseful and mysterious love story, and just enough fantasy mixed in to make it otherworldly. I loved the story of Shahrzad and Khalid, and I’m very interested to see where it goes in the sequel.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Have you read The Wrath and the Dawn? Will you? Let me know in the comments!!