I thought this book was a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, but I just saw that the book jacket actually says it’s “inspired” by the classic Middle Eastern story. That makes much more sense, because the plot of “woman saves her life by telling the wife-killing king a story every night” only lasts for, like, three nights. Then they fall in love!!!
Which is my main problem with the story: too much insta-love. Khalid, the ruler of Khorasan, apparently falls in love with Shahrzad at first sight because she is honest. And, okay, whatever, maybe I can believe that. But then Shahrzad, whose only purpose in becoming his wife is to murder him and therefore avenge her murdered best friend, falls in love with him!! After only a couple weeks! Because she realizes he is secretive rather than a total monster. It just didn’t fly for me.
But the world was incredibly interesting, and even though it was unbelievable, the dynamic between Khalid and Shahrzad was super compelling. So after a few chapters I just decided to accept the fact that they were entangled in a forbidden love and enjoy it….and I did! It’s a very enjoyable book about murderous plots, curses forcing good people to do bad things, and Love Conquering All. Sometimes you just wanna turn your brain off and enjoy a good emotional story.
It’s a series, though, which I didn’t know going in. I honestly don’t know if I’ll read the second book. It feels like even more Forced Obstacles will be thrown in their path, and I already got what I wanted out of the story: confessed love and cute kisses. Who knows! By the time it comes out, maybe I’ll be ready to suspend my disbelief again.
I do know I want more Middle Eastern settings in books, though. More desert royalty and extravagant costumes, please!
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.
Release Date: May 2015