SYNOPSIS: In a land ruled by a murderous king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the 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 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 man 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?
Prepare for a gush, you guys, because these books… ((swoon))
I knew within the first seventy-five pages that The Wrath and the Dawn, a story based loosely on the classic A Thousand and One Nights, was going to be an all-time favorite. You are thrown immediately into the passion of one of my favorite female protagonists, only to be slowly won over by what soon became one of my favorite male protagonists. This is how you write a love story. Two strong, deep, real people. A celebration of how a healthy relationship fuels both people toward their true potential, individually and together. They reminded me strongly of fiery Claire and strong but quiet Jamie of Outlander. The way this man loves this woman is enough to take your breath away:
You kneel before no one. Least of all me.
My soul sees its equal in you.
You are not weak. You are not indecisive.
You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure.
A true plague of a girl. And yet a queen in every sense of the word.
Ahdieh’s beautiful writing style only adds to the reader’s experience. Her imagery of this Persian world absorb you into the page: Arab design, food, flowers, clothing, even smells. You can smell this book if you try hard enough. The fantasy elements aren’t overwhelming, but enough to keep things interesting. Secondary characters become absolutely beloved, a twist in the second book took me by complete surprise, and there was even a lump in my throat moment toward the end. I favored The Wrath and the Dawn over A Rose and a Dagger overall, but that’s not to say the second isn’t a strong, satisfying conclusion to the first. This duology has definitely earned its spot on my Makes Me Melt list, and that’s my favorite list of all. (Plus, look at those covers. Aren’t they stunning?!)