Review: The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Publication Date: April 26, 2016

Genre: YA, Re-telling, Romance

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.


While I definitely came late to this party, I have since become absolutely obsessed with this series. I have recommended it to everyone, including the guy at my local bookstore. Generally, I’m split on sequels and find them polarizing. Either they are fantastic or they feel irrelevant. Because this is a duology, this book was completely relevant. Because Ahdieh knows how to pen a story, this was completely enthralling. Though I enjoyed the first installment more, “The Rose and the Dagger,” is a strong follow-up. 

What I liked: One of the main pleasures I got from reading this next installment was getting to know the secondary characters more. Instead of just reading from Shazi’s or Khalid’s perspective, Ahdieh writes from the minds of several secondary characters, which flushes out their motivations and makes their support of Khalid more believable. Speaking of support, you actually get quite a lot of scenes between Tariq and Khalid, which I particularly enjoyed. Their relationship is definitely a strained one, but through a series of events and their mutual love of Shazi they develop a grudging respect. Ahdieh’s story is very character driven and I think that is highlighted in this sequel. If you love character driven drama then you’ll enjoy this. 

What I didn’t like: Everything seemed to be fixed very quickly and sometimes very confusingly. I want to elaborate here, but I also don’t want to spoil things. Essentially, I feel like because this was so strongly driven by the relationship between Shazi and Khalid and because of that the ‘action’ i.e. the curse and some random political intrigue was incredibly secondary and not as well developed.

Overall, great character-driven sequel that you’ll be unable to put down 5/5.

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath and Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Publication Date: May 12, 2o15

Genre: YA

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.


I’m beginning to run through my TBR list and this was next up. I was a little nervous about this one because it was so hyped up on so many different level; that being said, I really, really enjoyed it and am eagerly waiting to receive my copy of its sequel

What I liked: The pacing. I was nervous given that this is a retelling of “A Thousand and One Nights,” that the majority of the plot was going to be the main character telling stories to her husband, and while I can get behind the whole story in a story deal, I was not looking to read that for several hundred pages. I’m glad to say that I was wrong. Thought Shazi, the main female character, does tell several stories to the Caliph-her husband, there is more to this tale than a conglomeration of several others. In fact, Ahdieh jumps right into the action and keeps it coming. This book is a slow-burn from beginning to end, but even when there isn’t ‘action’ there’s something happening. The relationship between Shazi and Khalid fills in any gaps between action packed moments, by providing the audience with a relationship they can really sink their teeth into. I’m a huge romance fan here and this one is one for the books. Shazi feels a lot of guilt, Khalid feels a lot of guilt; they come together to feel a lot of guilt. It’s awesome. I love them. Also, way to go Ahdieh for suggesting that married people have sex. #duh. 

What I didn’t like: The ending threw me a little. There is a scene in the last few pages where I could not discern if Khalid knew what was going on. Was he mad at Shazi or mad at the situation; guess I will find out in the sequel.

Overall, be ready for a slow-burn, evocative read. 5/5