The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I absolutely devoured this novel. My family and friends tried to pull me away from my reading with promises of food and socialising, but nothing was more tempting than staying put and reading this beautiful book. It's been a long time since a book enraptured me like this, and I won't soon forget it.
Ahdieh writes with a gorgeous, lyrical quality that suits her story very well. Although this is based on a classic tale, it still feels fresh and new because of both Ahdieh's beautiful prose and the new plot twists she has added in. It's been a day, and I can't bring myself to pick up another book because her writing has taken up permanent space in my brain. It's a blessing and a curse. It would also be remiss of me not to mention diversity in reference to this novel. I adored learning about the culture of Khorasan, which was a stunning backdrop to this story. Anything to get a YA book that is not set in America!
The romance between Shahrzad and Khalid is raw, painful, real, beautiful and heart-wrenching. I really, truly thought I would hate this couple. Khalid is a monster, and how can he possibly make up for his past? I was expecting Shahrzad to be beguiled by his pretty face and that was it. How wrong I was! These two characters fell in that hopeless "meant-to-be" kind of love that makes your heart melt. Ahdieh allowed their love to rise and fall with the various trials that came their way, and yet I believed in their relationship all the same. Ugh. This book is turning me into a big ol' sappy mess.
The multiple POVs kept me in touch with what was happening outside the palace, and so the events of the ending did not come completely by surprise. While I was reading, I adamantly did not want to read anything that was not Shahrzad and Khalid making eyes at each other (I really am turning into a sap), but in hindsight these ancillary characters really enriched the plot. It's a cardinal sin for authors to forget that a world exists outside their main character's view, and Ahdieh reminded me of why.
Overall, this was an exquisitely written novel, with an intriguing plot and a raw, beautiful romance. I would recommend this book to anyone who will listen, but especially if you want a novel in a different setting to the usual white kids in America, or if you want an angsty romance to dream about.
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