The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is a compelling, lush and vivid mix of mystery, romance, and adventure that you won’t want to miss.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is a compelling, lush and vivid mix of mystery, romance, and adventure that you won’t want to miss.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a YA reimagining of Arabian Nights, and I thought it was brilliant.  It is probably a little too introspective if you are a light YA reader, but if you like your characters and plots meaty, this is an exceptional revision of the story we all think we know.  It is a solid four stars, but I really probably got five stars worth of enjoyment from it.

Readers will either find The Wrath and the Dawn wildly romantic, or wildly improbable.  One girl captures the attention of a heartless ruler, not because she is beautiful, but because she is honest and an intriguing puzzle. In the midst of revenge, secrets, and heart breaking regret, the king who has never let a bride live past the dawn of her wedding night lets one girl see the next day, and the next, and the next, risking everything he has gained through his monstrous actions.  It isn’t because her stories are engaging, as the legends have all insisted.  It isn’t because he fell for her feminine wiles.  It is because, in her, he sees everything he has lost, taken, and sacrificed.  Sigh.  I found it wildly romantic.  Each character in this book is so well developed – their conflicts are clear and vivid and bleed through the pages.  The terrible choices they all must make are so well founded that readers will be left taunt with suspense and uncertainty about how things are going to play out until the very end.  The setting is sumptuous, mysteriously exotic, and magical.  It is the very thing that drew me in, but it is the one thing that threatened to send me running — with exotic lands come unfamiliar names, and I struggled to keep characters straight, especially the rather large cast of men.  This is not an insurmountable obstacle, so I would urge readers to stick it out.  Each character is distinct enough in his or her actions that it gets easier.  While there are several action sequences, readers should also expect swaths of introspective thinking and many conversations designed to give insight into motives and internal conflicts.  This is what adds depth to characters, but it isn’t as engaging as the sword fights, assassination attempts and street brawl that bracket them.  I wasn’t fully satisfied with the ending — I know that I’m going to have to read the next one, but I also know that is likely a year away.

This book is available in the MHS library.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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