Genre: Fantasy

ARC Review: The Wrath and the Dawn (2015) by Renee Ahdieh

Posted May 15, 2015 by What Katie Read in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

ARC Review: The Wrath and the Dawn (2015) by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Published by Penguin on May 12th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Ancient Civilizations, Fantasy, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One NightsEvery dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book–A Thousand and One Nights?!? Yes, please! Because of the connection with that collection of tales, I was expecting more nights of stories from Shahrzad, but there is a turning point in the story in which survival doesn’t rely anymore on keeping Khalid, the eighteen year old Caliph, entertained through narrative.

I was entranced by the beginning of the story, slowed down a little through the middle, but things picked up again for me towards the end. There were a few issues that came up for me with the book, but first, a few aspects of this YA novel I appreciated.


The Setting: The details of setting in this book are lush and beautiful. Whether it’s descriptions of the food (“aromatic rice with fresh dill and split fava beans, lamb simmered in a sauce of turmeric and caramelized onions, skewers of chicken and roasted tomatoes, fresh vegetables garnished with mint and chopped parsley…”), the textures and colors of the clothing, or the architecture, the setting certainly made an impression on me and I appreciate the way Ahdieh set the stage for her tale.

Shahrzad, the MC: I loved her character for her snarky banter, her wit, storytelling, and her love for her friend (who died at the hand of Khalid before the book opens). Shazi is willing to sacrifice to seek justice for her friend Shiva, and this reflects the depth and largeness of her heart. I would have liked to see more development of the relationship between Khalid and Shazi since their romance is a central aspect of the story (see below).

The 3rd Person Perspective: If you read a lot of YA, you’ll know that many of these texts are told from the 1st person perspective. The Wrath & the Dawn is not—it’s in the 3rd person perspective, and this was refreshing to see.

What I Wanted To See More Of:

The Developing Relationship between Shazi & Khalid: More scenes depicting the relationship between Shazi and Khalid was something I would have appreciated. For example, there’s a turning point where we see Khalid’s feelings towards Shazi change, but what factors led to that change? I think the narrative could have provided more details leading to why Khalid fell in love with Shazi. Also, what was the main factor for her change in heart towards him?

A Less Ambiguous Ending with More Closure: This may just be me, but I wanted more from the ending. I do realize that threads are left open in anticipation of a sequel, but I would have appreciated a little more clarity on how things concluded. I thought the ending was a little rushed, and I wondered if some of the events in the conclusion could have been developed further. There’s a decision that Shazi makes at the ending and I really wondered why she decided to go through with it. Of course, I’m sure I’ll find out more about it in the second book, but what about the implications of this decision for Khalid?

The Final Illumination:

The source tale for this YA novel, A Thousand and One Nights, drew me into the book initially, and I’m interested in reading the sequel when it’s out, but I didn’t fall in love with the book quite the way I had hoped. I’m certainly looking forward to more between Shazi and Khalid in future books, but I wish that the first installment had depicted the developing romance between them a little more deeply.

What about you? What did you think of this debut YA?

**Thank you to Amanda and Holly at Gun in Act One for loaning me their ARC!

What Katie Read

The Wrath & The Dawn R..

The Wrath & The Dawn Release Day Blitz & Giveaway (Rock Star Book Tours)

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh releases today and I’m happy to be a part of the Release Day Blitz, hosted by Rock Star Book Tours! Below, you’ll find a special introduction from Renée herself! If you haven’t yet heard about The Wrath & the Dawn, be sure to check out all the […]

Posted May 12, 2015 by What Katie Read in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

ARC Mini Review: A Court of..

ARC Mini Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Well, here it is, folks! My thoughts on A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas! Many thanks to What Sarah Read for loaning me her ARC of this fantastic and unique new title from Sarah J. Maas! This is going to be a mini review [I’ve been swamped lately and have less […]

Posted May 5, 2015 by What Katie Read in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Mini Review: Bone Gap (2015..

Mini Review: Bone Gap (2015) by Laura Ruby

Illuminations: Get ready….this book is a bit difficult to talk about—only because it’s hard to fit it into a particular category. It features a mystery, unique friendships, changing family relationships, romance, some scary bits…and it’s technically fantasy because it’s magical realism. The MC is eighteen so I think this is also a good crossover book […]

Posted April 13, 2015 by What Katie Read in Book Reviews / 5 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday for Si..

Waiting on Wednesday for Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

1890s New York City. A mysterious Romanian family. Adventure. A Prophecy. Bloomsbury is bringing us a new Paranormal YA this July by Jessica Day George! I only recently discovered that this YA title (look at that intriguing cover!) was being published by Bloomsbury in July. The author actually went to Romania to undertake research for […]

ARC Review: The Walls Aroun..

ARC Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (2015)

First Impressions: Wow! That’s my first impression of a book that I couldn’t put down and pretty much raced through. This story’s lyrical tone and beautiful language gripped me, and I was first intrigued by the fact that it’s referred to as a “ghost story” in the GoodReads summary. This is true. The atmosphere in […]

Posted March 12, 2015 by What Katie Read in Book Reviews / 10 Comments

Undertow (2013) by K.R. Con..

Undertow (2013) by K.R. Conway

Suggested Age Range: 14 and Up When I read that one reviewer described this as Dawson’s Creek meets The Goonies meets Jaws, I thought: Ok. I wasn’t disappointed. This was an entertaining read! And there are definitely some fascinating dimensions that lend themselves to the notion of spirituality in the narrative. Illuminations of Spirituality in […]

Posted January 18, 2015 by What Katie Read in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Review: Belzhar (2014) by M..

Review: Belzhar (2014) by Meg Wolitzer

Suggested age range: 14 and up The Book: Jam has been sent away from home. She now temporarily lives at a boarding school known as The Wooden Barn, with other “troubled” teens. She is having trouble getting over the death of her boyfriend, Reeve, and her parents are desperate for her to get back to […]

Posted December 7, 2014 by What Katie Read in 2014 Reads, Book Reviews / 6 Comments

The Vanishing Season (2014)..

The Vanishing Season (2014) by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Suggested age range: 13 and up The Book: At first glance, this might seem like a ghost story. In some ways it is. In some ways, it isn’t. It’s about Maggie, who moves to Door County, Wisconsin where a bitterly cold winter ushers in a dangerous season for girls. They start disappearing. Having moved from […]

Posted July 29, 2014 by What Katie Read in 2014 Reads, Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Dorothy’s Back in Oz:..

Dorothy’s Back in Oz: Review–Dorothy Must Die (2014) by Danielle Paige

Suggested age range: 13 and up The Book: Oz is not the place you remember. When Dorothy returns to Oz a second time (read No Place Like Oz, the prequel novella), the power of magic starts to go to her head. Eventually, this leads her to displace Ozma as ruler, and give powerful roles to […]

Posted June 2, 2014 by What Katie Read in 2014 Reads, Book Reviews / 8 Comments