The Wrath and the Dawn
by Renee Ahdieh (2015)
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings death. Each night Khalid takes a new bride only to have her strangled come morning. When Shahrzad’s friend falls victim, she volunteers to be his next bride. She vows to end the reign of terror once and for all.
Each night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid with stories to survive another night. But incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself beginning to fall for Khalid. All is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. Can love survive in this world of stories and secrets?
The Wrath and the Dawn is a lushly written retelling of the Arabian Nights. Rich language and silver-edged dialogue live up to the premise, while the romance provides something new. By fleshing out the world and characters of Arabian Nights, Ahdieh accomplishes something special: a hate to love romance that actually makes sense.
The slow-burn, complicated romance made this story for me (which is rare). Highlight, for minor spoilers:
There’s none of that hate is just the other side of love nonsense. Instead, they get to know each other, and find that many of their reasons for hatred aren’t quite true. As they learn more about each other, they find reasons for love. But that still doesn’t forgive the things that they have done.
With dark magicks and deadly curses, The Wrath and the Dawn satisfies as a fantasy too. The world building, though based on our own history, is elaborate and well-developed. Rich details and beautiful prose paint a landscape that’s a pleasure to sink into as you read.
* Beautifully-written retelling of Arabian Nights
* Swoon-worthy slow-burning romance
* Diverse read from non-Western culture
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