Friday, January 5, 2018

Book Review: The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)

Release Date: April 26, 2016
AuthorRenée Ahdieh
PublisherG.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Length: 416 pages
Source: Purchased Book

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.



Protagonist: After the devastation in Rey, Shazi has fled with her childhood love, Tariq, to take care of her family. The problem, Tariq vows revenge against the boy-king of Khorasan for taking not only his cousin but also his love, from him. As Shazi navigates, for lack of a better term, awkward waters, Khalid is setting about fixing up his destroyed city and mourning the fact that he doesn't know where his wife is. In the camp, Shazi wishes to find a way to break her husband's curse and discovers she has enemies of her own. I love both of these characters so much, and honestly, we get to see from the view of a good number of characters in this story and each and every one were a blessing to read from. Each character nearly jumps off the pages and even Tariq gets a good amount of character development in this story.

Romance: Looking back on this story there isn't a lot of romantic development between Shazi and, well anyone really but mostly Khalid. There's no need to worry about a love triangle anymore as Shazi has already made her choice. While the romance comes into play in the actions of both Shazi and Khalid, and has a large presence in the story for that reason, Shazi and Khalid's love doesn't exactly continue to blossom, it more strengthens its resolve. There is romance in other facets of this story as well, the romance between Despina and Jalal is still yet to be resolved and there are some interesting developments in store for fans of that couple. Also, Shazi's sister Irsa even has a bit of a romance in this story.

World Building: THIS is what I wanted from the first book. In the first installment, everything felt so isolated to the Khorasan palace and while we got to see beyond its borders occasionally, we didn't really get to see the grand scope of the world. In this story, while we mostly spend our time in Khorasan, the world feels far more expansive and the world really comes to life both in its scope and the detail in the author's writing. While I wouldn't say there are a lot more characters in this story, the importance of certain characters change and so it really feels like we're getting to know a lot of great minor characters from the first book, Rahim, Irsa, even Khalid's old teacher that we meet for a bit in the first installment, but that does come at a cost of not seeing as much of previous secondary characters such as Despina and Jalal unfortunately. For me, I was pretty okay with this since everything does get tied up by the end and I got the opportunity to learn more about the characters that intrigued me from the first book.

Predictability: For the most part this story is pretty unpredictable. Of course, there were a few things that I was able to pick up on throughout the story, but on the grand scheme of things this tale definitely went places I wasn't expecting and that really added a thrill to the story. I kept wanting to read to see where things would wind up and what unexpected thing would happen next. There were quite a few times that I disturbed people with how loud I gasped.

Ending: Normally I'm not a fan of duologies. Part of it is because most of the time the author isn't planning for a duology and when they end up with one, the second installment usually seems like books 2 and 3 crammed together which really messes with the story structure, and secondly I feel like every story should have a beginning, middle, and end and with duologies it's just a beginning and an ending. With all that out of the way, I loved this duology. I love how it was presented and how it felt like a truly planned duology. I was surprised with how everything gets resolved in this story, it felt very organic to the characters participating and I appreciate how the author didn't force things to a more conventional ending. There's an epilogue that takes place a little ways down the road and it was just a perfect way to end this story. Would I like another installment in this series, or just in this world, of course, but I'm still very happy with the series we got!


I LOVED THIS BOOK! Don't get me wrong, it's not the best thing I've ever read, but it was still excellent! I laughed, I cried, I gasped, and I was left breathless at times. Even though it took me a while to read these books I'm so happy I did!


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