Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger

Title: The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) 
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult | Retelling | Fantasy | Romance
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Source: Purchased
Format: Physical

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.
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 (goodreads).

The Rose and the Dagger was a satisfying conclusion to a favorite series!
Plot: The Wrath and the Dawn took my breath away. The writing was exquisite, the romance was smoldering, and there was magic! I only just now picked up The Rose and the Dagger and I think a small part of me was afraid to come back to this. In the end, it was a pretty good conclusion to this world. Everything wrapped up nicely, but I couldn't help but feel that everything happened too easily. I was expecting a big showdown and there were some tense scenes, but nothing that shouted "climax" to me. 

Characters: I had forgotten what a firecracker Shazi was! She didn't take "no" for an answer and held her own in the presence of anyone who thought they could challenge her. If possible, I loved her in the Rose and the Dagger more than I did in the Wrath and the Dawn. We were also introduced to a new perspective: her younger sister's. Ahdieh dedicated ample time to her secondary characters, enough that I often forgot that this was Shazi and Khalid's story. I would love to revisit everyone in an epilogue/novella sometime in the future. 

Worldbuilding: This series may have started my obsession with desert-based fantasy novels, and it's all because of Ahdieh's beautiful writing. It was easy to fall back into this landscape and I could naturally imagine the magic hiding in every corner. I will never not be in awe of how flawlessly Adhieh can whip up a world. 

Short N Sweet: The Rose and the Dagger surely doesn't take any prisoners, but could have used more 'oomph'. 


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