Renee Ahdieh weaves a beautiful tale about a tough and principled young girl who set out to avenge her best friend’s death, only to find that there is so much more to the person responsible for such a tragedy. The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger were both suspenseful, heart-warming, magical and enchanting from beginning to end that there’s no doubt this series will find a place high up on your list of favorite books.
Things I loved about the series:
1. I am ashamed to admit that I sometimes have a tendency to skim over the parts that describe the setting or the period to get to the meaty parts quicker, but Renee Ahdieh had me devouring every word. She transports you to a completely different world, which just makes following the story even more enticing.
2. So many great characters were fleshed out beautifully in these pages: the lovely, but inherently tough as nails heroine, Shahrzad, the tortured, but pure-hearted hero, Khalid, Shahrzad’s cunning handmaiden, Despina, the funny but level-headed Captain of the Guard and Khalid’s cousin, Jalal, the wise shiek of the Badawi, Omar, Shahrzad’s courageous and loving sister, Irsa, Shahrzad’s ever-loyal first love, Tariq, and so much more. In fact, Shahrzad’s childhood friend, Rahim, said it best in The Rose and the Dagger: “Sometimes…the family you choose…is stronger than blood.” This is exactly how I feel about the characters in this series. I will choose them time and time again. And they will always own me.
3. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. So much love. Of course, between our two main characters, Shahrzad and Khalid, we find a love of epic proportions. The sexual tension between them at the beginning of The Wrath and the Dawn was all-consuming. And when they finally bared their souls to each other, when everything finally came to light, I took my first real breath, feeling as alive as I imagine they did at that moment. In the same way, I felt my world crumble when they were ripped apart. It was such an emotional roller-coaster ride that the anticipation of their reunion had me biting my nails at the edge of my seat. But it’s not just Shahrzad and Khalid’s love story that pervades this series. The underlying love story between Despina and Jalal was definitely something that warmed my insides as well. Heck, even the brotherly love between Jalal and Khalid felt like a cozy shahmina that I wanted to wrap around myself.
4. The story just flowed so smoothly that I couldn’t put these books down for too long. In fact, I was late to work today, because I hardly slept last night doing the ‘ol one-more-chapter negotiation with Mr. Sandman.
5. The use of the Persian language was a lovely touch, and, used at just very specific points in the story, added a splash of Arabian color to the story. I don’t usually find it appealing when stories jump from one language to another, but Renee Ahdieh does it successfully in this book that it enhances the story even more.
Hands down, one of the most imaginative, vibrant and captivating stories I’ve read this year. This is definitely one of those series that I will read and reread over and over again.
Rating: 5 stars