{ Review } The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

“I will see you one day, my dearest love. And we will smile and laugh again”

Read in August 2016

My Rating: 4.5 ⭐

Every day, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, King of the Kings, Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride. And at every dawn, he has her executed. He is considered as a ruthless king and a cold-blooded murderer. When her best friend is killed by this very same mad boy, Shahrzad volunteers to be Khalid’s next wife, and she intends to seek revenge. But she wants to do it right and to learn his weaknesses first, she wants to survive dawn and to kill the Caliph with her own hands, enjoying every little bit of it. And she does manage to get this needed time alive, A Thousand and One Nights style.

Every evening she tells him a story or at least a part of a story, and she bargains with him the next part of her story the next evening against one more day alive. And at first, I was afraid that the stories would have a negative effect on the pace of the book, but it didn’t, quite on the contrary, they were perfect, I found myself longing for them, and in my opinion, there weren’t enough of them!


“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

✧ The writing, the setting, the world-building

I was amazed by the writing style Renee Ahdieh has, she truly is a queen. The world setting was breathtaking (and sometimes even a little bit too detailed, I had to go to the glossary at the end several times, it kind of affected my pace). I loved the Middle Eastern background, it is really unusual in YA and it gives something more to the reading experience. The palace and the souk were just so realistic, I was actually picturing myself walking down the alley and lingering on the balcony of Shahrzad’s room. I can’t realize how much researches Renee Ahdieh had to do to get this result. It was really precise and sometimes kind of hard to read (maybe due to the fact that I’m a non-native English speaker?), I would have loved more action to balance the many descriptions. The romance was also really good, I really fell for Khalid (see more about him below), however it missed something I cannot yet point out.

“She will be your undoing”
“That is my decision”

✧ The characters & the relationship building

I didn’t love Shahrzad, but I liked her very much. She is a silver-tongued Arabian pearl of bravery and woman-empowerment. She had some overreacting part and a few childish reactions but in general, she was a great MC. I liked reading from her POV (actually, to be honest, I’ve skipped read diagonally almost every part that was not in direct link between Shazi and Khalid). She represents feminism in a society where women rarely had many liberties and I loved that we were able to see her story from this point of view, and also that other characters reacted mostly positively to her independence of mind and spirit. She is even pushed in that way by Khalid several times during this book.

“Do better than this, Shazi. My queen is without limitation. Boundless in all that she does. Show them”

But my greatest love in this book was Khalid. Joonam. My everything. My perfect imperfection. My layered, complex and not easily forgiving King. I was moved by his story, his struggles, and his walls. I loved the way he loves Shazi, the purest and most passionate love, the way he respects her, and the way he wants her to be her best self, with or without him. I would have wanted to read more about him. I still want to know more. There is just one BIG question that remains unanswered (and perhaps more time in Khalid’s head would have helped with the answer): “Why does he have this much interest in Shazi in the first place?” I mean she is a great character, but why did he come to her chamber that very first night? Why did he spare her at the second dawn? She was no one then, just another girl among the one he married and killed the same day. Yes, she volunteered but to me, it is not a good enough reason.

“His breath fanned on her skin as he bent toward her ear. ‘This morning, I was not where I should have been. Last night, I was not where I wanted to be.’”

For the side characters, I loved Jalal, he provided the perfect amount of humour while staying badass and flirty toward girls. I loved that even in front of Khalid, he was able to compliment Shazi and that Khalid would not be offended by that, like him hitting on his girl is nothing unusual and nothing to hold a grudge on. I loved how much we got to read about weapons and fight, the contest, the training, it was so interesting, and Jalal was part of making this accessible. He deserves a bigger part in this story, and I hope that The Rose & the Dagger will give him that.

However, I had more trouble with Despita. I suspected her of a lot of things for most of the book and there was some incoherence at the beginning of her friendship with Shahrzad. The dialogues sounded false, forced, not defiance nor friendship. I liked her background though, born in Greece, and bought as a slave to end up being a handmaid/spy. I enjoyed reading about her history and her mother. Nice touch.

Last but not least, there is Tariq. And boy, how much I disliked him. I understood his pain and the fact that he needed to go back to her childhood love, but he couldn’t take no for an answer. He always tried to constrict and limit Shahrzad’s independence. He kept saying that he understood it and respected it but he never actually SHOWED what he said he felt.

However, his reaction can be quite understandable sometimes as I don’t understand how Shahrzad changed her heart that rapidly (since she started to have doubts concerning her loyalty toward her friends and family, and as well as for her feelings toward Khalid on the first night). This is actually the main thing that bothered me in this book and it is why I removed 0.5 stars, because this seemed kind of too much insta-love/love triangle too me.

“When I was a little girl in Thebes, I remember asking my mother what heaven was. She replied, ‘A heart where love dwells’”

That ending and that prologue made my heart melt, and I’m starting the sequel right away and I need Khalid to be perfectly happy at the end of it!!!



Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

3 thoughts on “{ Review } The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

  1. Hello, Laurie! I’m a new reader of your blog ☺️ Love the look!

    This book is sitting at my bookshelf for so long and this review just urged me to pick it up again haha. I’m excited for the world building!!! That’s always my issue when I read books with this genre

    Fantastic review and looking forwards to more of your posts! Just subscribed ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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