Review: The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn) by Renée Ahdieh

My Thoughts

Exhilarating, magical and fiercely romantic
—everything I’d hoped for in the finale!

Synopsis

The Rose and The Dagger Wrath DawnI am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

My Review

In a stirring storm of swordfights, secrets and sacrifice, Renée Ahdieh splendidly concludes this lushly imagined duology where true love struggles against the power of a deadly curse.

Shazi and Khalid try to find their way back to each other in the aftermath of a city left in ruins, of a love ripped apart.

What have we done?

As Shahrzad’s father whispered spells into the night, lightning rent the sky burning a beloved city to ashes. Thousands in Rey perished in its wrath. Meanwhile, Shazi was taken from the marble palace that had become her home.

He’s where I live.

But even amongst her relatives, Shazi felt lost. A crescive ache marked each day without Khalid. The curse had to be broken — fast — since war readied against the man she loved. With many a vengeful eye on her, however, the task proved difficult.

I don’t belong here. A guest in a prison of sand and sun.

Bonds of friendship and family fractured as tension escalated and sides were chosen. Shazi’s relentless spirit and sharp wits help her forge new alliances, even though she’s attested that Khalid was not the monster everyone thought him to be.

… they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.

So much happens in this sequel’s narrative. A rich undercurrent of subplots twisted the story in ways unexpected. Betrayals cut deeply, guilt and rage consumed, new enemies surfaced, valuable powers awakened and finally true love triumphed — but hardly in the way we surmised.

Gushing fans of The Wrath and the Dawn (like me) will be pleased to hear that Ahdieh delivers everything we’d hoped for in this resplendent re-imagining of Arabian Nights.

From the stars, to the stars.

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