5 Reasons to Read The Wrath & the Dawn

Friday, December 10, 2021

 The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 5/12/15
Pages: 404
Source: purchased
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?

5 Reasons to Read The Wrath & the Dawn

obscure retelling/fantastic world building

I may have realized that I say the word gorgeous too much in my reviews, but when I say that this book offers a gorgeous world, it is entirely true. It’s absolutely beautiful. This may be, in part, because the book is actually a retelling of the tale, One Thousand and One Nights. I wished for more obscure retellings of tales we don’t hear very much about so I’m very happy that this book definitely delivers. I have read a retelling of this classic before, A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston. These magnificent retellings are perfect to add to your favorites shelf. (And we get a map so every book is made even more amazing when there is a map!) 

gorgeous writing

Can you believe this is a debut? The writing keeps you on your toes and even if the plot gets a bit repetitive with the constant "will I survive at dawn” looming over Shazi’s head every night, the story always offers something new each night to immerse you. The writing will have you ready to dive into the sequel as soon as you finish with The Wrath & the Dawn.

Shazi’s stories

Not only has Renee Ahdieh proved herself a million times over that her writing is majestic and poetry to the ear. Shazi, the protagonist, also seems to have an affinity for storytelling. Back when I was in elementary school and we had to read chapter books for school—they were decidedly less exciting than all the books I read now—but whenever I wasn’t particularly fond of a narrative or a scene, I would skip parts with that in it. It wasn’t even skim reading, I would just glance at a certain name or grow disinterested and turn the page (I was a horrible reader in elementary school.) Thank goodness, I don’t skip over any pages nowadays. And there is absolutely no way I could ever skip over any part of The Wrath & the Dawn because both Shazi, with her stories, and Ahdieh, the mastermind of the whole adventure, grip you unbearably tight and refuse to let you go even after the last page is turned.

riveting characters

Shazi and her lovely stories enchanted me and made me fall deeper into the story. However, it was the side characters that truly moved the story along. Tariq quickly won my heart. I adored his passion for his quest and absolutely loved that he was ready to do anything for Shazi, to do whatever it took to get her out of the palace. Also, the more the plot delves deeper into Kahilid’s past and his reasoning, I couldn’t help but root for both men. I just wanted everyone to win in the end. Our protagonist, the way she interacts with others, is fantastic. She is intelligent, witty and enchanting. It’s brilliant how she captures everyone’s heart with just a few words.


I am not too fond of those googly eyed romances but seeing the romance in The Wrath & the Dawn blossom from hatred to love is always interesting to behold. The transition seamlessly moves from one point to the next. There are plenty of scenes that I was clutching my heart in the pure magic of the romance. Stemmed from the retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, it was excellent to see how Ahdieh made the story her own.


Retellings of One Thousand and One Nights seem to be hit or miss, whether they are too poetic or less story-driven or too repetitive. The Wrath & the Dawn is none of that. Renee Ahdieh weaves the perfect balance of the classic retelling we all know and love. With enchanting characters, fantastic world building and a magical plot, The Wrath & the Dawn is a lovely retelling that immerses you in and refuses to let you go.

The Wrath & the Dawn (5/12/15): 4 stars
The Rose & the Dagger (4/26/16): TBA

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