The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Book Review

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Genre/Themes: Fantasy YA, Fairytale Retelling, Magic, Revenge

Blurb from Goodreads

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?

My Review

“And, deep within the palace of marble and stone, a boy of eighteen sat alone before a table of polished ebony . . .
Listening to the rain.
The only light in the room reflected back in his amber eyes.
A light beset by the dark.
He braced his elbows on his knees and made a crown of his hands about his brow. Then he shuttered his gaze, and the words echoed around him, filling his ears with the promise of a life rooted in the past.
Of a life atoning for his sins.
One hundred lives for the one you took. One life to one dawn. Should you fail but a single morn, I shall take from you your dreams. I shall take from you your city.
And I shall take from you these lives, a thousandfold.”

I have never been left so confused, confuddled, befuddled, bemused and entirely frustrated by a book….


I kept waiting for something to happen… I thought towards the last few pages, okay… maybe this is getting going… 


It JUST ended out of nowhere!!!!!!!!!!! Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………

So Shahrzad, our heroine……………… 


Fickle fickle fickle!!!!!!!!!!!….

Like she had some great snappy dialogue there at the beginning, I thought ‘oh yes, she’s gonna be soooooooo smart, so brave, sooo super interesting and independent’………. 

but no …………….

she basically just spends the entire book mooning over Khalid…

waaahh he’s so evil,
waaah he’s so cute,
waaah he’s so dreamy,
waaaah I am drawn to him…
waaah waaah waaah !!!!!!!!!!

She felt incredibly immature to me…….. And look I get it. She is young but there’s a balance between creating a young character and a petulant child. Shazi was not written with that balance in mind in my opinion.

“I will live to see tomorrow’s sunset. Make no mistake. I swear I will live to see as many sunsets as it takes.
And I will kill you.
With my own hands.”

See THAT’S fighting talk but where was the action???????????? 

ALL TALK AND NO ACTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hurumph!!!!!!!!!!!

And Khalid…………..

Gosh I just do not care…….

Yes oh you’re torn, oh you’ve a tragic backstory 


The author took too long in revealing the “reason” behind his murderous ways so I just did not care by then…. I did a whole lot of not caring with this book it seems. YIKES!!!!!!!!

Right good points….

The writing… it was luscious!! Luxuriating… exquisite… all those kind of words… I could get lost in some of the beautiful descriptions..

“The sweet scent of citrus blossoms wafted through the carved wooden screens leading to the terrace, whispering of a freedom now beyond reach.”

Ahhhh *heart melts*

“His profile was an artist’s study in angles, and he remained motionless as he returned her watchful scrutiny.
A face that cut; a gaze that pierced.”

AGHHHH *heart flutters*

“As they rounded the final dune, a walled fortress of tan stone and grey mortar rose from the sands, its vaulted turrets capped in spirals of copper tinged by the turquoise patina of age.”

Can’t you just picture how beautiful and magical this place must be in your mind’s eye??????

“Soon, platters of food were brought before them—steaming, buttery basmati rice with bright orange saffron staining its centre, surrounded by lamb in a savoury sauce of dates, caramelized onions, and tangy barberries; skewers of marinated chicken and roasted tomatoes, served alongside chilled yogurt and cucumbers; fresh herbs and lavash bread, with rounds of goat cheese and sliced red radishes splashing brilliant colours against a polished wood backdrop.
The aroma of the food mingled with the fragrance of the tapers, saturating the senses with spices and decadence.”


The storyline… well I guess there was a clear plot… just a very frustrating MC but a clear plot none the less and I guess nicely detailed characters too……..

But my biggest issue is the romance between Shazi and her murderous husband. Because to me it had distinctive rape culture vibes. The overall message seems to be that if you toughen out a relationship based in inequality and abusive control that some day you’ll actually fall head over heels in love with each other and I’m like nope…

But there are things to like, it was enchanting. It honestly was. I just was so irritated by the incredibly juvenile MC and her ridiculous love story infatuation with her murderous husband that I never emotionally connected and I am a very emotional eater *cough* reader!

Ooh ooh but then again there were some lovely romantic bits that made my girlsish heart go all swoony…. I do love those romantic bits!!!

“And, with a kiss, Shahrzad let herself fall.
For the boy who was an impossible, improbable study in contrasts. The boy who burned her life to cinder, only to remake of it a world unlike any she had ever known.
Tomorrow, she could worry about such a thing as loyalty. Tomorrow, she could worry about the price of such betrayal.
Tonight, all that mattered was this.
Their hands threaded above her head. His low whisper in her ear.
Just one boy and one girl.

Now wasn’t that just totally swoon-worthy???????? Awww see?????? Lovely writing style and POTENTIAL!!!…. but then in the back of my head is this sense that their relationship is based in abuse and control and… I just feel all sorts of icky!

“We women are a sad lot, aren’t we?”
“What do you mean?”
“Strong enough to take on the world with our bare hands, yet we permit ridiculous boys to make fools of us.”
“I am not a fool.”
“No, you’re not. Not yet.” Despina grinned. “But it’s inevitable. When you meet the one who makes you smile as you’ve never smiled before, cry as you’ve never cried before . . . there is nothing to do but fall.”

So I’m not bothering with the sequel. I just have no desire to see where this story leads when so much of this book unsettled and frustrated me!

Other Works by Renee Ahdieh I’ve Reviewed

My Socials

17 thoughts on “The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Book Review

  1. I loved reading your review of this! You know this, but I think you are absolutely hilarious! 😂 I read this book 4 years ago and remember nothing of it so that goes to show how memorable it was to me 😂


  2. Hahahaha! I agree with pretty much everything you said! I actually quite enjoyed “The Wrath and the Dawn” when I read it, but Shazi’s juvenileness and the way she excused everything Khalid did seriously annoyed me. So I never ended up picking up the sequel, either 😅


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