Genre: Retelling, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."
I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
I have a lot of words about this book. First and foremost, this is the perfect ending to this series. It was a perfect duology and I could not have been happier with the books I read. It’s not often you get a perfect ending to a series (see the Divergent series) but when you do there is nothing better.
What Were The Highs?
The new characters introduced in this book were so good, and you got the development of old ones who simply didn’t get a chance to come into themselves in the last book. I loved the fact Irsa, Shazi’s sister, got to be in this book. Her entire story was fantastic. She was previously only briefly mentioned, but she has really come into her own in this book. She has a story and she has grown since Shazi last saw her and she wants her sister to know that. She is no longer a child and you can tell as she stands up for herself and tries to get her sister to open up so can understand. She was one of my favourite characters, and it helps that she is so sweet (why are younger sisters always so sweet and compassionate in books).
Another character I enjoyed reading about was Artan, who was just fantastic. He was a perfect balance of dislikeable and lovable. He was sarcastic and so cocky and he was fantastic. The interaction he had with Shazi was just perfect. Two strong personalities interacting is always interesting to read and they definitely helped make this book for me. It wasn’t until these two met they I began loving the story because until that point I was waiting for something to happen and the story two move forward. Artan got it moving.
I really enjoyed the fact that magic became so much more prominent in the second book. It was only really mentioned in the first, it was a known thing but there was little explanation to it. In this book we get some actual magic. I mean magic carpets, flying dragons kind of magic. It’s good and enjoyable to read. One draw back to the magic, there isn’t enough explanation on how it all works, I like my magic to have rules, but that’s a minor complaint. I liked what we got and it was fun to read.
What Didn’t I Love?
Not much, I mean there was my slight niggle with the magic of the book, but there wasn’t much to dislike.
My other complaint would probably be the pacing. much like the first book began slow and had a long sprint to the finish (and was awesome for it) this books pacing is the same. It began slowly with explanations about what happened and why and then Shazi figuring out her next steps and all that, but it was another building for a mad dash to the finish line and it meant the ending felt a tad rushed. It was only looking back that it felt rushed and when I was reading I was fully immersed, but a bit more time could have been spent on the ending. Not dragging it out, just making it more substantial (if that makes sense). But really, I’m looking for things to complain about, I loved the book and would recommend this duology to everyone.
Overall, Let’s Discuss
I’ve tried to keep my review as spoiler free as possible but would recommend you read my review for the first book and read that first anyway. This duology was fantastic. It had a sweet romance and a whole lot of action going on. It was a fantastic retelling of a story I don’t know enough about (I really want to read 1001 Nights because there are so many well known stories in it) and visually it was stunning. The descriptions and the world created blew me away and I will return again and again to lose myself in this story.
Have you read The Wrath & The Dawn books? What were your thoughts? Did you find the story rushed or am I looking for things to complain about? And has anyone read the original story because I think that would help me appreciate the retelling even more?