After the last retelling of a classic story, I wasn’t exactly clamoring for more. It wasn’t awful, but I wasn’t interested enough to read the rest of the series. Thank goodness for the flash sale price on The Wrath & the Dawn, or I’d have missed out on it completely.
The Wrath & The Dawn is a young adult book that I quite honestly forgot was for young adults at times. Along those same lines, it is certainly a book I would have read and adored as a teenager.
A retelling of 1001 Nights (or Arabian Nights, if you know of it that way), The Wrath & the Dawn once again follows a young woman whose life is risked when she becomes the wife of a king who seems determined to kill each of his brides after only a single day of marriage. To Shahrzad, the 19-year-old caliph is a monster: a monster who has already killed her closest friend in his madness. She’s out for blood, volunteering herself as the next bride so that she may learn enough about Khalid to find a weakness before she falls victim to his deadly whims as well.
Shazi makes it through the first night without incident. Unlike the other brides, she makes it through the next several nights as well. It’s cherished time, because it provides her more time to discern how she can easily tear him down from the inside.
Of course, she doesn’t expect to fall in love with him. She doesn’t expect to learn that there’s more to the story of why he’s killed tens of young women in his quest to find the perfect bride. She doesn’t expect to realize that he’s not as much of a monster as she’s always thought.
Yes, it’s predictable, as both young adult and romance books oftentimes are. There’s even the old flame from back home, Tariq, who is gallantly ready to steal Shazi from the caliph’s clutches. In fact, Tariq actually plays the same role in this book that Jacob Black plays in Twilight (here’s to hoping there’s no imprinting on a baby in the next book). But The Wrath & the Dawn is notably different. Shazi isn’t weak– she’s smart and mouthy, while still being a relatable 16-year-old young woman. She has desires (which are tastefully written for the appropriate audience), and readers fall in love with Khalid along with her. Through it all, Andieh doesn’t lose sight of the adventurous plot line, which remains throughout.
At this point, I’ve read The Wrath & the Dawn, as well as two of Andieh’s associated short stories. It was that serious. If I didn’t also have a couple more books I needed to finish with some degree of urgency, I’d have skipped right into the full length sequel as well. I’m afraid to say it, but I might have to admit to myself that I actually enjoy well-written romance. I’m cringing inside, but there you have it.
It’s safe to say I recommend The Wrath & the Dawn. If you’re a reader interested in adventurous Young Adult books with a good pinch of romance, this is for you. For those who like a historical backdrop to their action/adventure/romance, this will absolutely be your cup of tea. Finally, for people interested in retellings, start with this one instead of Cinder— you won’t regret it.
Have y’all read The Wrath and the Dawn? Are you surprised I’ve read 2 young adult books in one month? Do you have others that you know I’ll like? Let me know in the comments!