The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
"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." - Goodreads
I'm a big big fan of retellings, I love them. Did I love this? I'm not sure. I enjoyed it, and I wanted to know what happens but there was just something about it that stopped me from loving it and I'll try to put my finger on it in this review.
I'm not going to lie, like many of the 'popular/hyped' books that I read, I read them because they're hyped up and really popular. I get curious, I want to know if it's really as good as everyone says. The whole premise of the story wasn't something that intrigued me that much, we've seen it all before. Maybe not in the exact same scenario but: girl falls in love with guy she previously hated - is a common thing. I thought it reminded me a little bit of A Court of Thorns and Roses because the whole premise was pretty much the same, they both fell in love with their beast/monster. But other than that, it was completely different. Is that a good thing? Hmm.
Starting from the beginning, it took me a long time to get into this book. It wasn't until I was about 30% in that I started enjoying it a little more. I was completely confused at the beginning, and if it wasn't for the lovely people of Twitter telling me how amazing it is, I would have given up. In hindsight, I'm glad that I didn't. Although halfway through I did find myself forcing to push through and thinking that I just wanted it to be finished now. It's weird, thinking about it now, I miss reading it, but whilst I was reading it, I wanted it to end.
I thought it was a little bit slow, nothing happened... quite a lot. I couldn't entirely connect with Shazi, there was something about her that I just didn't like. I'm someone who loves reading about deep pain, heartbreak and inner-struggling and she just didn't give me any of that. I would have expected her to. There was hints of it when she spoke of her friend, Shiva, but it disappeared as soon as it popped up.
I loved the relationship that Shazi built with Khalid and Jalal. I wanted to see a LOT more of Jalal, I loved him. These three were the most well-written characters in the book, they had depth and they were super super likeable. I loved everything about them.
Tariq. Oh Tariq. What was the point of Tariq? Does anyone know? He was around, and he was annoying and there was just no point in him being there. The book would have been so much better without him and Rahim, Omar and whoever else was with him. I just didn't really understand that. There wasn't even a big fight or war or anything at the end. Not a proper one anyway. Not one that we actually saw. Just, what was the point!?
And that brings me to this point, why didn't we see a big fight? A big war? Lots of fighting and action? What happened? I felt like the book got cut off halfway and they decided to publish it unfinished. I was hoping it would all be rounded-up and semi-finished so I didn't have to read the sequel, but I guess I have to read that now..
Despina and Shahrzad's relationship was my favourite. I absolutely loved Despina, she was so feisty and witty. I wonder what happened to her. I think I'm the most keen to find out about her than I am about the others. She just sort of disappeared?
This book did confuse the hell out of me sometimes and I found myself skipping a few paragraphs, and reading ahead but thinking back now, I did enjoy it. I'm glad that I read it and there are parts that I can't stop thinking about. In my opinion, the way the novel was written wasn't to my taste and the direction that it took was *tries to think of a nice way to say this*... not the direction that I wanted it to go in. That's the most frustrating thing, don't you hate it when the sound of a book is really good but it goes in the complete opposite direction to what you expected and you think, 'gosh it could have been so much better if this and this happened like that'. Ah well.
AND WHAT WAS THE END ABOUT. WHAT. EVEN. WAS. THAT. I can't talk about that. No.
I rated this book 3* on Goodreads. What did you think? Do you agree/disagree with my points? Let me know in the comments!