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.