Genre: Fantasy

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

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
Goodreads
three-half-stars

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.

Illuminations:

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!

three-half-stars
What Katie Read

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

The Wrath & The Dawn Release Day Blitz & Giveaway (Rock Star Book Tours)The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Published by PUTNAM CHILDREN on May 12th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Ancient Civilizations, Fantasy, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Goodreads

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights Every 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.

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 details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a signed copies of the book and some beautiful book
inspired scarves, courtesy of Renée, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

A letter from Renée Ahdieh

There are not enough words to express how thrilled I am to share THE WRATH AND THE DAWN
with you! From the moment I typed the first word, I felt connected to Shahrzad and her world in a way that carried me through the long process of publication to where we are today. 
 
Everything about this process has been a dream come true, and hope you love my book half
as much as I enjoyed writing it. In celebration of release day, I’ll be giving away a signed, first edition hardcover of the book, as well as a gorgeous scarf. . . or two!
 
Always remember to make it a story worthy of you!
 
Renée

About Renée:

Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.
She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
Giveaway Details:

3 winners
will receive a hardcover of THE WRATH AND THE DAWN and a beautiful book
inspired scarf (IMAGES BELOW)! US Only.

Ends on May
22nd at Midnight EST!

Stay tuned for my review, immediately following this post!

What Katie Read

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

ARC Mini Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on May 5th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Fantasy, Love & Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Goodreads
four-stars

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever. Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

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 time to write longer reviews] but I think you’ll enjoy it all the same.

Everyone has been raving about this book—it’s the first in a series, and I also really enjoyed it. I thought this was a strong and appealing start to Maas’s new series, A Court of Thorns and Roses.

I’m really looking forward to what Book 2 has in store. The only downside is that we have to wait awhile for that sequel.

In the meantime, though, we can re-read the Throne of Glass series and await the 4th installment, Queen of Shadows, out this fall!

But first, more about A Court of Thorns and Roses…(ACOTAR)

What I Loved:

The World of the Fae: There are two worlds in this book—the one nineteen year old Feyre lives in at the beginning of the story—and the magical land to which she moves after killing a wolf in the woods who is actually not a wolf. The killing of this wolf starts a chain of events that change Feyre’s life in profound ways. Tamlin, an immortal faery, introduces Feyre to this magical world completely unlike her own. Though Feyre struggles at first being alone in a strange place with beings she doesn’t care for, as time goes on, she becomes curious and begins to develop relationships with the “fae.”

I thought this magical land of faery was utterly stunning and fascinating. The author has expertly drawn a complex and interesting world that draws the fantasy readership. This is definitely an aspect of the book that I was thinking about long after I turned the last page.

“ ‘There is a better world, Nesta. There is a better world out there, waiting for you to find it. And if I ever get the chance, if things are ever better, safer…I will find you again.’ It was all I could offer her.” (272 in Print ARC)

The Unique Twists & Turns: I never know what to expect with Sarah J. Maas’s books, and this one was no exception in terms of its plot. She infuses her narrative with creative twists so that the reader is swept up in a unique journey that take the characters unexpected places. For example, I didn’t expect Feyre to make the location changes she does—I’m not going to give away anything—but this aspect of the book kept me intrigued and turning the pages. Feyre’s encounter with the Fae world brings a whole slew of complications and conflict (and romance!) to her life, and I think the secondary characters are just as interesting as the primary ones.

A Court of Thorns and Roses‘ Fairy Tale Influences: I’m usually interested in young adult novels influenced by fairy tales and that’s because I love fairy tales. There is definitely the Beauty and the Beast thread going on in ACOTAR, but this isn’t the only fairy tale. Sarah J. Maas actually researched in Scotland for this book, so there are other fairy tales that influenced her work (obviously Scottish!). I’m a big fan of this kind of research for a fantasy, so absolutely love this dimension of the story.

The Final Illumination:

I did not expect that ending! I thought the way Maas tied everything together in the story’s resolution was impressive and satisfying. Seriously, there were a few moments when it was a bit tense and I wondered—how are things going to work out?!?! That tension was a good thing, because it strengthened an already strong narrative, and you really rooted for the central characters. There are definitely some extremely evil characters in the series, and I do wonder what’s in store for Feyre and Tamlin in future books.

You can see I’ve categorized A Court of Thorns and Roses in Adult as well as New Adult–you’ll know what I mean when you read those scenes between Feyre and Tamlin. Note the term “fiery passion” in the Goodreads synopsis. Yes, you will know what I mean.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to Book 2—I’m just sorry we have to wait so long for it!

What will you be doing to survive the wait until ACOTAR 2?!?

What did you like about the book? Was there anything you didn’t like?

four-stars
What Katie Read
%d bloggers like this: