Oh I am kicking myself for having waited so long to read this!! Way back in May when this novel was first released and the hype surrounding it knew no bounds, I was a bit skeptic as to whether or not it was for me. But I gave in a brought the book anyway but it’s been sitting on my shelf now for 3+ months. Now if I had a time machine I would go back and tell my past self to PICK UP THE DAMN BOOK!
I have never read a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights before (I don’t even think I’m familiar with the original story, although I think it has something to do with Aladdin – not sure though) so the whole premise of the story felt new and fresh to me. I’ve since googled the original story and learned that The Wrath and The Dawn, although different of course, still follows a lot of the original structure and plots. I’m pretty sure a couple of the stories Shahzard tells in this novel are from the original book. This is a very dark fantasy but I think its dark parts were balanced beautifully by the uplifting moments of love between Shahzad and Khalid.
I loved how well Renee brought the Persian culture to life, all the food and clothing and Faris language used, this book transport you to another land and it was fantastic! I was literally hungry reading all the food descriptions! AND I definitely have clothing and jewelry envy! This book immerses you in an entirely new culture and it’s brilliant. You almost never come across a fantasy novel that’s left the traditional England-Middle-Ages vibe so thoroughly.
I practically died of happiness that we got a pinch of magic! You don’t get to much magic in this first book, but just enough so you as a reader know it’s there and are impatiently waiting for it to play a bigger and more important role in the coming books.
The writing was BEAUTIFUL! I loved that everything felt important, I never felt that the author was going off on a tangent or that something was unnecessarily described. Renee’s writing felt fresh and clear and I really enjoyed it. I know The Wrath and The Dawn isn’t Renee’s first published book but I still think of her as a debut author and as a debut author this book is stupendous. I loved the multiple narratives, we get a little taste of everyone’s view (although for the majority we are in Shahzard, of course). I gotta say, by far my favourite character to read from was Khalid, he is such a complex character with so many layers that it was very insightful to get to read his thoughts and emotions on certain things. My least favourite character to read from would have to be Tariq’s, I’m not saying that his boring or anything, in fact reading his devotion to Shahzard was very heartwarming, but I disliked reading his avid hate for Khalid. It was like I was over him being a dick about things he didn’t understand.
The romance in this book is heart aching! OMG the whole time I just wanted them to open up to each other and BE TOGETHER! If you like tortured romances The Wrath and The Dawn is for you! Khalid and Shahzard’s relationship is definitely a slow burn (which is always a million ticks in its favour), and it’s beautiful to read as Shahzard’s strong but compassionate personality slowly unravels the layers to Khalid’s impenetrable self. Although the way Khalid worships Shahzard was making my heart melt I never really LOVED him. He’s one of those stony characters that never cracks a smile, and wallows in his pain in isolation and I just would have rather if he was more open.
Overall, this book is absolutely fantastic! A dark fantasy, with a hint of magic and SO much heart wrenching romance! If you’re still on the fence about this book the way that I was, just go give it a read, I promise it’ll surprise you! I CAN NOT wait for The Rose and The Dagger, I have the highest expectations for it! Especially after that soul destroying ending!!! DID THAT MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANT! PLEASE NO! I’m already looking forward to rereading The Wrath and The Dawn!!
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