The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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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 NightsThe 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. Continue reading

Rook by Sharon Cameron

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History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

My main issue with Rook was the way in which the story hit every beat that has been hit a hundred times by hundreds of other stories.  The idea was sound, I thought, but none of the elements of the story seemed to really come together.  The characters came off as puppets, the plot was confusing since I had no idea where information was coming from, and the writing was pretty shy of the mark. Continue reading