The Wrath and the Dawn #1
The Wrath and the Dawn is an enchanting retelling of ”A Thousand and One Nights.” Sharhzad enters the Caliph’s palace with one objective in mind, to kill the man who murdered her friend and so many countless other young women. But even more than revenge, I think Sharhzad longs to understand “Why? Why did they all have to die?” As the reader, we get clues and insights that our heroine does not, but that still doesn’t quite exonerate the self-proclaimed “monster” that is Khalid. So how do you make a murderous king likeable? I’m still not quite sure, but somehow Ahdieh did.
Khalid is a puzzle that we slowly get to unravel with Sharhzad as the story progresses, and I have to admit that I think this is what kept me the most intrigued with the story. I really enjoyed the many layers to our characters and Sharhzad’s struggle with her changing feelings. I’m still not totally convinced of their love story (what he’s done truly is reprehensible), but I know longer feel Khalid is the monster he paints himself to be. More of a man that has been heavily burdened by the terrible choices he’s had to make, ones that have crushed him to his very soul. I’ve always had a thing for “broken” characters, and Khalid is one if I ever saw one.
We have some fun and plucky side characters in this story that I loved a lot: Despina is sassy and fierce, Jalal is roguish but loyal to a fault, and Tariq is so wonderfully devoted, its hard not to root for him just a little bit. Overall I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn and look forward to continuing the series.