Monday, November 16, 2015

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and read by Ariana Delawari

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 was above and beyond what I was expecting it to be. As a huge YA fan, I pounce on books that seem remotely different and unique from the heard. Not only was this inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, but it takes place in a part of the world I’ve barely had the fortune of learning about. I pounced.
I do have to admit, I hesitated a bit at first. This is not my favorite type of romance, and I had to suffer through a very similar one in a different fantasy novel I was reading at the same time (aka: Uprooted). It worked here, for me though.
My hesitancy dropped away almost immediately. The more I got to know Shazi, the more I knew the standard rules just didn’t apply. I loved her. What’s not to love about a character who risks her life for the revenge of a best friend, and for the revenge of all the murdered women before her? Also, she’s a storyteller, she’s brave, intelligent, witty, and a tad unpredictable. What a great main character.
I also had to know things. Why were all the wives being killed? What did it have to with the rain mentioned in the beginning chapters? Was Shazi really planning revenge or was she punishing herself for something? What was Khalid always hiding? And what was her family back home really getting into? The more I listened to Shazi’s story, the more invested I became in finding out all my answers. I needed to know.
Besides the excellent, suspenseful mystery of a story and one kick-butt main character, there was also just this huge sense of unpredictability. This book shocked me. There was  a scene in the first half of the book, that had me gasping out loud in shock and outrage. I literally had to pull my car over on my way home from work that night to digest what was happening. And while it’s hard to imagine an author killing a main character, I never quite felt like Shazi was safe, and because so much of the story wasn’t going the path I expected it to, I really wasn’t sure if my main girl would make it through it all. And I loved this.
Also, the narrator has probably proven herself to be one of my all-time favorite readers. She was fantastic. She’s the kind of reader, all authors should hope to get for their audi-version of things. I literally pulled over to keep listening one night, and then was almost late to work another day because I could not leave my car until I knew how something resolved.
I do wish there was a little more resolution at the end. There was one giant cliffhanger there that I know was meant to segue nicely into book 2. It’s just that book 2 is so far away and I needed it like yesterday.
Oh, and I have to take a moment to bask in the wonders that is the world-building here. Everything seemed so real, so vibrant, colorful, and interesting. I was practically drooling, listening about the food Shazi was eating. I could see the colors of the jewelry and the clothes. I could feel the heat of the desert. The description of the setting was just pure, beautiful. It was everything I could hope for in a YA book that took place in such a unique setting.
I also, just loved how smart the characters were. I’m not used to getting so much snark in a fantasy novel. The dialog between Shazi and her handmaiden was loaded with witty commentary. I loved all the scenes with them together. I also loved how forward Shazi was with Khalid. She wasn’t afraid to get angry with him or say her opinion, ever. And I loved her for it. And when Khalid seemed the most human was when he was conversing with Shazi and bickering with her.
This book was unpredictable. It was full of amazing characters. The setting and world-building were as good as they can get. The snark and witty commentary between certain characters was fantastic. The mystery and suspense was so intense there were moments I couldn’t drive and listen at the same time. The narrator was amazing. And I really can’t think of anything negative to say. I give it a 10/10.

1 comment:

  1. YAY! Oh Nori, I'm so, so happy that you fell for this one just as hard as I did! The world-building was PHENOMENAL wasn't it?! You could see, smell, hear, feel and taste EVERYTHING. It was stunning! I adored the characters too and even though I was worried that the romance wouldn't work for me, I totally fell under it's spell! The mystery was super compelling and had me turning pages like a crazy person XD The only thing that bugged me was the lack of resolution at the end there. It would have gotten 5 out of 5 stars from me if not for that...I just needed SOME closure. But at the same time, it does the trick to keep you craving for the sequel like crazy LOL! Awesome review^^ ♥