It’s time to bring you a review on the new YA sensation, The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renée Ahdieh.
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Oh man… Before I start with this let me just say that this will be a very unpopular opinion review. I’m sure this is probably the first (or one of the first) bad reviews on this title you’ll find because I, myself, have looked and found any. I feel really alone on this one. But, first things first.
Renée Ahdieh is an american writer. But, as you may take from her name, she’s biracial. While growing up, she struggle to find any books that showed people like her. This lack of diversity inspired her greatly to write this book, which is a reimagining of The Arabian Nights.
In the kingdom of Khorasan, caliph Khalid marries a girl every night only to execute her at the sight of a new dawn. After suffering a lot and not able to withstand it any longer, Shahrzad decides to volunteer to marry this king and get revenge for her and everyone else. What she doesn’t expect is to find not a monster, but a boy with a lot of secrets. So, naturally, they fall in love.
I have a big big problem: I cave into Tumblr’s peer pressure. If a book gets a lot of hype, I will probably want to read it. Even if I know that’s probably not the best book for me. That’s what happened with this one. After reading so so many good reviews about it, I decided to give it a go. It fitted in my secret goal to read more diverse literature so I thought, why not?
From page one, I knew this book and me would not get along. It felt to me like I landed in the story and it had already begun. I felt lost and I had pretty much no idea what was going on for the first pages. Everything seemed to happen way too fast. And then it slowed down, and nothing pretty much happened…
The world building is a bit horrible. Every detail is scattered throughout the pages, but it just feels like the information is spilled there and doesn’t go anywhere. There’s so many details that are said and not even mildly relevant to the main story. It only serves as a set up for the next book (since this going to be a duology) and I found it pretty annoying.
But my biggest problem was the romance, which everyone else seemed to love. I felt like Shahrzad and Khalid pretty much feel in love when they met and the thing just developed. The concept of love at first sight is something so ridiculous to me, I couldn’t stand it. Also, Khalid is one of the most secretive characters I ever read about so Shazi had absolutely no reason to fall in love with him. Besides, she only knows that he is a murder and he killed her best friend, I see no reason to even look at his face with any intention other than disgust. But he is described as someone really handsome so I guess there’s that. Also, that pseudo love triangle was unbearable. It was like all triangles in YA novels so there’s no need to get into that.
I did like two things: Shahrzad and the setting. The main character was a total badass. She’s so independent and sassy, I loved it. She’s totally a feminist too which I always adore in female characters. Everyone else was pretty forgetful and/or annoying (hence on Despina, Sharzi’s handmaiden, which was just plain rude all the time). But the best thing was the setting! Damn, all the descriptions were gorgeous. I loved the palace and the gardens. And the clothes and the weapons! The arab world is something really foreign to me (even though there’s a lot of it in my own culture) and I loved knowing more about it. It’s really different from what I usually read and it feels amazing to get out of my comfort zone. Plus, there’s a glossary in the back of this book so you understand all the incorporated words you may not be that familiar with, like myself.
So, with all things said, I’m even more convinced of how much of a mess this book is. It’s all over the place and fast and the plot just doesn’t make any sense. I probably won’t read the second book, since I have literally no interest in knowing how these events are going to unfold. I really didn’t enjoy this one and I carry with me the responsibility of being one of the few people not to recommend it.
Anyway, tell me if you too didn’t like this! Make me not feel this alone please! I’m having so many unpopular opinions lately, I feel like I should do a post about what it means to express what you feel regardless of the “consequences”. But that’s for another day.
Have a great one and see you next time!