2016 Book #90, #91 & #92 – Short stories by Renee Ahdieh

So last year I read The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and just loved it. I pre-ordered the 2nd book in the series pretty much immediately (The Rose and the Dagger) which unfortunately I haven’t gotten to yet. I was also excited to discover that Ahdieh published a few short stories within The Wrath and the Dawn series to help give the reader various backgrounds to the main story line. I recently read all 3 so I thought I would share my thoughts, though since they were such short reads I decided to put them all into one post.

The Moth and the Flame – 4.0 stars – 37 pages – This short story tells some of the back story of Despina and Jalal, which I really enjoyed. I almost felt like I would have been interested in hearing a longer version of this, maybe even a full-length novel. I thought this was a great pre-quel to the series. This short story even has some interactions with Ava, the first Queen so it has some great background information for the first book.

The Crown and the Arrow – 3.25 stars – 11 pages – This short story tells of Khalid’s point of view on the day that Shahrzad was chosen as his seventy-second bride. I thought it was a good view into Khalid’s thoughts and a good lead-in to The Wrath and the Dawn but other than that did not include many new details.

The Mirror and the Maze – 3.75 stars – 11 pages – This short story is actually from the period after the first book but before the second book in the series. It tells Khalid’s point of view upon returning home to Rey and finding his city is in flames and his people killed and injured. I think this was a great short story for leading into the second book and I find that I’m itching to get to it now!

2015 Book #58 – The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath & The Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Date finished: 6/16/15 (12:02am so technically the 16th, lol)
Genre: Young Adult – Fairy tale retelling, romance
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Pages in book: 388
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Saga of Shahrzad and Khalid

Blurb from the cover:

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book with a love triangle” check box since there is a love triangle between Shazi and Khalid and Shazi and Tariq. Just as a quick aside, I never understood why its a love triangle. If you think about it, both boys are in love with Shazi but they’re not like in love with each other so why are they technically connected in the last leg of the love triangle? I think it makes more sense just to call it a love angle. I don’t know, this has bothered me. Anyways, I saw this book listed in a few recent publications, including a recent BookPage newsletter, and here and there on listings of books to read this summer or books to look out for. This is the author’s first book and it was just great!
So this book was inspired by A Thousand and One Nights which is a collection of stories and folk tales, also known as the Arabian Nights. I think that these stories are fairly widely heard of, and the premise is well known. The connection between the inspiration and the resulting novel is obvious, though this story is entirely its own and I thought it was very creative. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever read anything else like this. And not only was it creative but it was beautifully written and the descriptions of the clothing and the scenery and just everything was wonderfully done. I was hooked into the story from the beginning, dying (ha) to know why a bride had to die each morning. I love Shazi’s character and her growth through the novel was easy to follow and enchanting to experience. I really don’t want to talk too much about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away. There are a lot of different pieces in play in this novel and I had no idea that the story was going to continue after this book. I think it was my lack of knowledge that left me feeling overly frustrated in the end, especially since we will have to wait a year for the second book to be released. Overall I really just loved this book though and I will wait patiently (or at least try to) for the next book to come out.
The bottom line: EVERYONE GO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. I don’t know how I will be able to continue living until the next book comes out NEXT YEAR! I loved this book. Just loved it.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page