Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Note: This review is part of the 2016 Summer Reading Diversity Spotlight.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0399171611
Source: Bought
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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 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 break the cycle once and for all.


I love when a synopsis shares so much and yet there’s still a ton to discover and be amazed by and captivated by when you read a book. In other words, a synopsis that doesn’t spoil. Boy does The Wrath and the Dawn deliver everything I expected and wanted from that and then a thousand times more.

Shahrzad was a fantastic main character and I loved following her journey, her mission to avenge her best friend, Shiva’s death only to discover that everything’s not black and white. I loved, loved, loved the tension and chemistry between Shahrzad and the King, her new husband, Khalid. These two infuriated me in the best way. As did Tariq, Shiva’s brother and Shahrzad’s childhood sweetheart who won’t let Shahrzad go easily. Talk about a love triangle that works. This is a fight for love I want to see. Between Shahrzad’s first love and the man she grows to love – a man who has been responsible for the death of every woman he’s wed each night and not let that wife live to see another dawn. Until Shahrzad. Talk about a spin on your standard love triangle. And oh what a price Shahrzad and Khalid must pay for the love that grows between them.

But let’s back up to before Shahrzad and Khalid begin to fall for each other. In order for Shahrzad to remain alive past dawn on that first night, she begins to tell Khalid a story. She wraps him around her fingers with a tale that he can’t wait to hear the end of. So we get a story within a story and it’s so fluid and I love how well executed this was. Now is also a good time to say that this book is a reimagining of The Arabian Nights though whether or not you’re familiar with The Arabian Nights, you’ll love this.

Back to Shahrzad telling Khalid, the king, a story… can we take a moment to applaud the power play here that a woman has over a man and can we take a moment to acknowledge how important stories are? A moment.

Also quite entertaining that I don’t want to forget mentioning, Jalal, the captain of the guard and Khalid’s cousin. He’s your typical lovable, charming…player. Who knows his place in the court but also is one of the only people who can talk freely with the king, his cousin, and there’s a lot to appreciate here with that privilege.

Also worth mentioning, Despina, Shahrzad’s handmaiden. I don’t want to say that Despina was a red herring but she definitely ruffled my feathers there and she’s not quite the Snape of the story but perhaps she’s the closest one in this book if there were one?

Now overall, I don’t want to say much about where the story goes from the first night, the first dawn, and from first to second love. Just know that I enjoyed every development, minor and major and thought that this was paced just right. The story is in third person from multiple POVs and I loved every POV we followed, they were each such distinct journeys from such distinct characters. It worked so well.

I went into this knowing only what the synopsis gave and was so, so pleased with the return on every level. This was so beautiful. Renee Ahdieh’s words, her writing is top notch. The story was so thrilling. Talk about a page turner! The characters, so complex. The setting so rich and vivid and wonderful. This book is a gem. The Wrath and the Dawn is truly an all consuming reading experience. So if you’re looking for that, look no further. Your next five star read is right here.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is available today.