The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. No spoilers.
Sometimes I forget how important it is for a writer to read. It’s been a while since my last book review. It’s been a while since my last book. But diving into The Wrath & The Dawn was like riding a bike, and I finished it this morning*, having started on Christmas Eve.
It did become difficult to maintain interest in parts, but because the story followed many different characters throughout, the dull perspectives never lasted long.
I suppose I should start at the beginning. The prologue. I could have done without it. The entire book could have done without it. It did nothing to help the story. Instead, I felt that it took away from the tension that could have been built up later. The first chapter contained the hook that first engaged me, but reading the prologue was a chore. It reminded me why I haven’t read much to start with. I would have skipped it, but I can’t skip things when I read. I always have to go back to make sure I didn’t miss anything important. I wouldn’t have.
The first thing to impress me was the description. Ahdieh’s prose borders on purple. There was a lot of focus on the eyes of all the characters, which prompted a lot of eye-rolling on my part. But it was consistent, which is admirable in itself considering the level of detail and flowery-ness.
The narration had a feel to it that matched perfectly with the story. It was all third person limited, following different characters at different times, as I mentioned earlier. Mostly, it followed Shahrzad “Shazi”, the spunky female protagonist of sixteen who’s good with a bow and arrow and volunteers for the hunger games.
Oh. Wrong book series.
But I could continue with this description. She is good with a bow and arrow and she does volunteer for something that pretty much guarantees her death. She has a single parent who hasn’t gotten over the death of the other parent, and she has a little sister. If you read it, you can pick out more similarities for yourself. I don’t want to spoil it here.
Other characters are Khalid, the killer king, and Tariq, a rash noble. They form the love triangle (or “love angle” if you prefer accuracy in mathematical terms). Other characters from whose perspective the story is told at some point are Shazi’s father and Khalid’s captain of the guard.
I liked Shazi. There were times when I was annoyed by how she was treated, but not enough to ruin anything.
Khalid was a likeable character, too, although there were times when I wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake him and yell in his face, “You are the protagonist of your own story! Start acting like it!”
I wanted to do the same to Tariq, and yell, “Stop being such an arrogant idiot you beautiful specimen!” He was likeable, too, though. I do like him.
The plot goes back and forth between characters and subplots rather abruptly at times. Still, it was never difficult to keep up with. The characters had depth and were easy to like—or understand at the very least. The dialogue was decent but sometimes became cringe-worthy in their cheesiness. However, I can think of one chapter where the dialogue impressed me, in a conversation between Shazi and a sultan…
Most important, and best of all in my opinion, is the story. Khalid, the teenage king, takes a new wife each night and murders her in the morning. Shazi’s best friend was one of these unfortunate wives. Bent on revenge, Shazi volunteers to marry Khalid. She plans to kill him, but something much worse happens instead.
(I should write inner flaps for publishers. That was so much better than the actual inner flap, which I would advise you to avoid reading.)
And oh, that ending. That last half of the last chapter. Perfect.
All in all, The Wrath & The Dawn is worth the money is costs to buy and the time it takes to read—even if it takes you a thousand and one nights.
Have you read it? Do you plan to? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!
*December 26th, 2015