Read: March 9 - 23, 2015
Published: May 12, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile
Source: Galley from Penguin (THANK YOU!)
Category: YA, fantasy, magic, 1001 Nights, Persia
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
Every morning at dawn the new wife of Khalid the Caliph of Khorasan dies and another family mourns and rages at their heartless ruler. When Shahrzad's best friend becomes one of his victims, she volunteers to marry Khalid as an act of revenge. Shazi is determined to stay alive long enough to make sure no other girl suffers the same fate. Of course she isn't expecting what she finds when she becomes the next bride.
My love for The Wrath and The Dawn in five points:
1) From the beginning I admired Shazi. She is a girl with of incredible convictions, and even Khalid immediately notices her fire. Although Shazi is guided by revenge, she is a seeker of truth, and one of the biggest challenges she faces is reconciling her preconceived ideas with what she learns when she becomes Khalid's wife. I felt Shazi's determination at the start of the book, and then her confusion as her heart begins to change and she is torn between two very different ideals. But even that struggle Shazi faces straight on with determination and without unnecessary angst.
2) Khalid is a character who was very hard to grasp at first. He considers himself a monster and comes across as cold and unfeeling. But all of that served to connect me more deeply to Shazi, which worked to also connect me better to this story. Although I worried about my ability to get close to him, as the book continues we are given more glimpses of Khalid's character, and I enjoyed seeing him wake up and open up little by little. One of my favorite things about Khalid is the fact that he doesn't attempt to fight all of Shazi's battles for her. Although he is a powerful ruler, Khalid has an innate sense of knowing when to step forward and when to let her shine. Even though some could (and do) see those moments as weakness, they actually demonstrate his strength, as well as the growing respect and pull between him and Shazi.
3) My favorite part of this story is the tension between Shazi and Khalid. Their interactions are very careful and controlled at first, with anger and rage underlying them on Shazi's side and practiced indifference on Khalid's. But slowly, slowly the emotions behind their meetings change to curiosity and then a very different type of tension blooms between them. Khalid and Shazi wound each other deeply, and they frequently explode into sharp words and strong feelings. It is those combative moments set between the sweeter quiet scenes that made this book for me. It is a balance I saw echoed in Shazi and Khalid's characters. They are similar and different in ways that make them a great match. (Highlight spoiler>)I also appreciate that the author allows them to be serious about each other, which isn't always the YA choice, but worked very well for these two. (end spoiler)
4) The Sumptuous setting only added to this book's appeal. Silks and jewels and delicious food, flowers and stone, colors and sounds, metal and leather, The Wrath and The Dawn is a very sensory book. The author even uses original names for various items in the story that add authenticity and flavor (I didn't realize there was a whole glossary in the back of the book until I turned the last page). The setting appears to be Persia-like around time of the Greeks. I was mostly focused on Shazi and Khalid's relationship, but I'm hoping the map to come will better orient readers into setting. I'm also eager to find out more about the magical aspects of this world, as I feel as if we've just barely gotten a glimpse of them.
5) The story is told in third person limited, mostly from Shazi's POV, with a very few scenes narrated by Khalid. The rest of the narration is from different individuals that provide a broader look at the opposing forces and schemes building in this story. Although I can understand the usefulness of them, they slowed down the overall pacing a great deal for me and shifted the focus away from the central storyline that interested me most. They also felt a bit scattered and not well developed. Of the side perspectives, I connected the least to Jahandar plot line, and I still feel fuzzy on him and the way that portion of the story developed.
I read The Wrath and the Dawn a few weeks ago and the more I think about this story, the more I decide that I love it. I even upped my rating on Goodreads. I'm salivating to get my hands on the finished copy in various forms so that I can highlight the ebook and listen to the audio. It's a rare favorite that I want to own in multiple ways. I know this book has a lot of hype around it, but I encourage you to try it for yourself and hopefully fall in love as much as I did.
Love Triangle Factor: None - Highlight for more information >>Shazi does have a "first love," so this could technically be considered a Linear Love Progression. However, she marries Khalid in the first chapter and even from the beginning this other guy felt like he was in her past romantically (He does have a present role, but I didn't see it as a love interest). Shazi doesn't pine away for him, they don't have many scenes together, and this book was really all about her and Khalid. I don't foresee this being any sort of triangle in the future either (though take that with a grain of, I've been wrong before).
Cliffhanger Scale:Highlight >>;HIGH. Ahhhh. Another stressful one. I'm getting fatigued by ends like this one (it sort of reminded me of The Winner's Curse). These types of cliffies just compound my anxiety levels and mean a lot of angst and stress in book two. But I loved this book so much as a whole that I'm hoping book two will be even better, despite this conclusion.