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.
THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW
If this were high school, The Wrath & The Dawn would be the popular girl who wore all the right clothes and never got an answer wrong in class, that everybody liked except me, but deep down I suspected that maybe she wasn’t all that bad. Even after 100 pages, I was left wondering why everyone was crazy about this book. Shahrzad wasn’t a bad character, per se, but she didn’t seem all that, either. Combined with the execution of the plot and the writing style, The Wrath & The Dawn did not live up to its hype for me.
What Worked for Me
Main Character • • • I liked Shahrzad. Up to a point. Her ferocity seemed too forced, too planned. I liked her quick wit and sharp tongue most of the time, but sometimes it just seemed like a deliberate attempt to make a “strong” lead character. I didn’t feel engaged with her character; there seemed to be a wall there, keeping me from investing in her dilemma.
Bits of the World • • • The worldbuilding was, for the most part, fascinating. There was definitely a freshness to the details.
Writing Style • • • My expectations may have been too high going into this, because I found the writing style mostly distracting, pulling me out of the story rather than keeping me in it. Some of the distraction came from parts that struck me as unpolished, but mostly it came from the strange syncopation, the way the author broke up the paragraphs in order to…I assume to build suspense? It didn’t work for me. Beyond that, I ended up skimming over entire parts because I was bored.
Plot • • • I had issues with the execution of the plot. I didn’t feel that the situation was clearly defined when it should have been. I didn’t read the book jacket summary before reading, but the way the book operated, you almost had to in order to understand the early events of the story. As it was, I felt like the author was being deliberately coy with the plot; the stakes were stated, but not felt. So a lot of the events just felt melodramatic to me.
My first thought is, “What is all the fuss about?” but there were some bits that warranted praise. Overall, though, it wasn’t worth all the hype it’s garnered.
404 pages • Book 1 • Published May 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers