Beyond the Retelling | The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Friday, January 07, 2022

 The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 4/26/16
Pages: 416
Source: purchased
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever. Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive. The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
The Wrath and the Dawn was a majestic retelling of the beloved classic, A Thousand and One Nights. The Rose and the Dagger goes beyond the story you know. Tarik stole away Shazi in the dead of night, hoping to save her from an inevitable fate. Instead, it brings upon a war no one is prepared for. Shazi, intent on returning home to her husband, must find a way to break the curse that keeps her away. The Rose and the Dagger is a fantastic sequel with gorgeous writing, amazing characters and a powerful story.

Action-Packed Sequel

  • The sequel drops us off soon after the previous book, The Wrath and the Dawn, ended. The Rose and the Dagger brought back the story and characters I so loved in the first. And stepped the plot up a notch. The Rose and the Dagger goes beyond the retelling, twisting the original story into something truly magnificent and fresh.
  • Once again, Renee Ahdieh makes me hungry with all this talk of food. Every meal the characters had seem to be a feast with several different dishes. Everything sounds delicious.

Loveable Characters

  • When we met Musa in the first book, he had this fatherly stature about him that was so heartwarming, something about him that just made me want to spill secrets. He is such a unique and incredibly well-written character. I'm so happy that Ahdieh gave him a much larger role in this one. It was fantastic to welcome back several characters from the first and to see them tread through the plot of the second. 
  • Shazi has high levels of sass and snarky-ness, not to mention she is strong and brave. Every obstacle she faces, she does so independently and gloriously. I would read several more books with Shazi as the lead. I love her voice and how she works out problems. And she has a magic carpet so that automatically makes her the coolest person ever. 
  • There are some new characters and old characters that are challenged, thrown into such precarious situations that I wondered how they would get out of some of the messes. Ahdieh writes so incredibly well. The characters come to life on the page, each unique and layered, real and raw. 

Beautiful Plot

  • Following the first book, it wouldn't be in The Wrath and the Dawn fashion if there wasn't a sort of tale told. Shazi is a master storyteller, as I said in my review of the first book, but we also get a story from Irsa, her sister. Ahdieh weaves the stories in a way that does not interrupt the flow of the novel. Instead, the tales enhance the main plot, keeping you focused on finding foreshadowing or a deeper meaning in her text.
  • The chapters are bite sized, making it very easy to read. The Rose and the Dagger can, thus, be a quick read but also with such small chapters, it can be taken slow to savor each scene.
  • The ending was a surprise; it was a rollercoaster of emotions that I couldn't process until a beat later. "Wait, that didn't just happen, did it?" At certain points, I even had to go back and reread. The story sucks you in, refusing to let go. The Rose and the Dagger was absolutely superb.


The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh surprises you in the best of ways. It goes completely beyond the retelling of the first. The characters, once again, come to life in this fantastic sequel, which is both action packed and incredibly imaginative. 

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

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