Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons, Listening Library on May 12, 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Retellings, Young Adult
Narrator: Ariana Delawari
Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
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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.
One Line: A captivating and beautiful story that I really enjoyed.
In My Opinion: Add to cart!
This was undoubtedly one of THE most hyped up books this year and I’m happy to say it lived up to its hype, for the most part. Ahdieh created a very interesting and intricate world and her characters were engaging and fierce. It was hard to follow at times because Ahdieh uses a lot of unfamiliar words and I was listening to it so I didn’t have the glossary on hand, but I still followed along for the most part. There were also a lot of characters introduced in this book and I often forgot who was who. The romance between Khalid and Sharzhad is the definition of a slow-build romance and if you like those kinds of things, you’ll love this book, as that’s pretty much the bulk of what it’s about.
Sharzhad was the star of the show. I loved her story-telling ability and her love for her family and friends. I found it funny that her plan to actually kill him wasn’t that well-thought-out, but she had her heart in it, so I’ll give her that. She also doesn’t have any particular skill set, except for being somewhat decent with a bow and arrow, so she’s not physically all that kickass, but she’s not so bad mentally and she does have a way with words. Something about her intrigued me and I liked her personality overall. I especially liked her interactions with Despina and Jalal and thought they added a bit of lightness to otherwise intense story.
Khalid was a hard character to warm up to. Yes, I could tell he was troubled by the burden he had to bear and he’s not as cold-hearted as he seems, but I didn’t fall for him in any way. I knew that the truth would inevitably be more complex and twisted that I thought, but he didn’t open up to Sharzhad in the way I was hoping. Considering that I expected Sharzhad to guard her walls a lot better than she did, it was surprising to see that the opposite happens here. And yet, I still don’t feel like I know Khalid all that well. Once again, we’re dealing with a character who chooses to keep a secret because they think the other person can’t handle it, and not only that, he’s worried how she’ll think of him after she discovers the truth. Sure, don’t leave it up to the other person to decide, just decide everything on your own. Pet peeve!
One thing that really bugged me was how incredibly long it took for the truth to come out. And when I say long, I’m not lying. We have to wait until the last few chapters of the book before we get anything real from this story. It isn’t until the very end before things truly unravel and even though I’ve come to expect that from books in general, it was pushed to the limit in this one. My limit, at least. There’s no action at all until the last couple of chapters and I guess it sets the scene for the book, but I didn’t appreciate that at all. Much of the book revolves around Khalid and Sharzhad and I get it. What starts out as indifference and hate, respectively, turns into a passionate love that rivals many, but still, I wanted more than just the romance. I honestly had to go back and re-listen to certain parts of the books, fearing I missed the punchline, thinking “he still hasn’t told her what the hell is going on yet?!”. I couldn’t comprehend how flippant Khalid was with the curse when it came to Sharzhad, yet so ruthless about it before her.
Despite my obvious reservations, it’s clear I still really liked it. Despite the lack of a truly progressive story and the magic and lore I’d expect from a Fantasy novel, the book captivated me. If I have to give Adhieh any credit, it’s her ability to create a romance with so much depth and characters so fascinating as to keep me interested in the book for so long. I’m curious to see what will become of this world considering Khalid’s choices and I’ll definitely be reading the second book to find out.
Thoughts on the Narrator
This was my first time listening to Ariana and I enjoyed her voice for the most part. She portrayed Sharzhad nicely and I loved her pronunciation of everything. Her accents were smooth and on-point. She’s not particularly skilled with male voices though and I think that added to the fact that I couldn’t always distinguish who was who and who was speaking at certain times. She never really gave each character their own voice, something that made them stand out, so that was another reason why I had to repeatedly re-listen to certain parts to make sure I understood what was going on. If you plan on listening to this book, I’d suggest you pay a little more close attention if you want to follow the story.