Debut 2015 author Renée Ahdieh has created a richly satisfying retelling of A Thousand and One Nights shows brilliant and delightful characters in an engrossing adventure that will leave you feeling as if you’ve been in the hot sands with Shahrzad the whole time.
Seeking vengeance for her best friend, Shahrzad volunteers to be the new bride of the Caliph of Khorasan, infamous for killing his many wives before the sun rises on their wedding night. Shahrzad is determined that she will not be killed by her monster of a husband, and so conspires to live by telling the caliph stories. She succeeds but is living each day trying to be the calipha she is, often pushing boundaries where no woman has before. As she grows closer to Khalid trying to trick him, her feelings become involved. He, who has been trying to push everyone away, has suddenly opened up to the one girl he shouldn’t, the girl who wants him dead. Khalid finds himself drawn by this girl who breaks barriers, who shows courage and strength. Just as they are finding out the truth from each other, enemies threaten from all sides, even Shahrzad’s own father. Can their growing attachment to each other survive such odds and even a curse?
Shahrzad has left Khalid, intent on finding a way to protect him and her people of Khorasan from his curse. She returns to her family, who has allied with a border tribe and has been in talks with the neighboring King of Parthia, an enemy of Khalid despite being his uncle. Conflict also arises in being closer to Tariq, her former lover, and his deep hatred of her husband. Shahrzad finds there are enemies and assassins even in her own camp who would harm her because of her relationship with Khalid, and while trying to save her father from his destructive black magic, she must protect herself and her sister and father. At night, Shahrzad continues to teach herself more about her own magic if she hopes to be able to break the curse, and comes under much suspicion doing so. Meanwhile, Khalid suffers greatly from his lack of sleep in defying the curse and continues losing allies, while trying to repair the damage to his home and his relationships. As tensions rise, blood spills, and bargains are made to end the evil haunting their future and that of the people of Khorasan, Shahrzad and Khalid will only succeed if they are together and they trust their friends…
Notes: Though there is the implication of husband/wife/wedding night, there is little sexuality in this series,(or as little as there was in the written Divergent series [not the films]).
I am now a fan of Ms. Ahdieh. She’s an NC resident like me, and has the best Twitter feed. She chats all the time with other YA authors, and it’s great for fangirls. Totally makes you want to be a part of their bff friend group. She’s also hilarious. I’d like to really meet her some day now that I’ve read her stories and have gotten to know her through writing. I love that she brought such a unique story to life and is part of #WeNeedDiverseBooks. You will not want to miss this series!
I received my first copy of The Wrath & The Dawn for free at ALA 2015, THANK YOU! I love this series! Buying book 2 soon.