Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Length: 395 pages
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 12th, 2015
Diversity: Fantasy setting inspired by the Middle East; almost all major characters are POC
"'And how will you know when you've found this elusive someone?' Shahrzad retorted.
'I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.'"
This quote is about a person instead of a book, but describes exactly what The Wrath and the Dawn was to me. I couldn't put this book down! It feels like I was looking for this book without even knowing it. It was exciting and dragged me in so completely that inhaling is the best word I could think of for reading it. For a glorious day, it was my air. Here's the six main reasons I loved this book so much.
1) The stories. Of course, we have the main story about Shahrzad volunteering to be the king's bride, but there is so much more than that. There's the story of her handmaiden, the story of the love she left behind, the stories of her family and the king's family. And of course, the stories that Shahrzad tells nightly, beautiful and thought-provoking in their own right.
2) The characters. I'll readily admit that I was indifferent to a few characters, but my love for and attachment to all the rest vastly outshone that. Each major character is given their own struggle, and all of these are woven together to contribute to the main plot. And in many cases, each of these characters have scenes told from their point of view (though it's all in third person), so the reader has even more of a chance to like them.
3) The relationships. I'm not just talking about the romantic relationships, though those are great. There are so many interactions between characters, and each set of main characters has an interesting relationship. It just all felt so real.
4) The dialogue. If you're a fan of books with dialogue that you can imagine people realistically saying, you might get annoyed sometimes. Personally, I loved it. I can't even begin to count the times that a line of dialogue was so wonderful that I had to stop reading for a moment to let it sink in.
"'I am not not yours to do with as you will.'...
'How right you are. You are not mine...I am yours.'"I realize this that quote is much more powerful after 200+ pages of emotional investment than it is out of context, but still...see what I mean?
5) The pace. This book never seemed to slow down. Some parts may have been slower than others, but I hardly noticed because it never felt as though things were being dragged out. I kept getting so engrossed in the book that I didn't even realize I was turning pages.
6) The mystery. A huge part of the main plot is a quest for information. Even though things are concealed so much that I couldn't even begin to guess at what would happen, just enough tantalizing hints were dropped that I never lost patience with the investigation.
Was this a perfect book? No. I'm pretty much over love triangles, I was significantly less invested in some plotlines than others, and the ending, while incredible, felt a tiny bit rushed. The main character sometimes infuriated me (but usually in a good way), and it would have been helpful if I'd known there was a glossary at the back of the book when I started it. But I was very pleased that this book lived up to, if not exceeded, my expectations based on the hype. And now the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, is one of my most anticipated releases of the next few months! If you're looking for some fast-paced fantasy, I would highly recommend this!
Have you all read this book, or am I not really the last person in the world to do so? Have you ever read a book that you didn't know you were looking for? Tell me in the comments!