The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on May 12th 2015
Review Source: Personal Copy
Genres: Young Adult, Retellings, Fantasy, Romance
Plot: The boy-king of Khorasan marries a new bride each day only to execute her at dawn. Shahrzad has lost her best friend Shiva to the king’s brutal ways and has volunteered to be the next bride in the name of revenge.
Review: Retelling a fairytale or classic seems to be a strong trend in young adult fiction these days. I feel like I stumble upon a new version of something Grimm or Anderson related daily. I don’t mind it. I’ve always been a fan of fairytales. My only demand is that they give me something that sets them apart from others of the genre. Mission accomplished Renee Ahdieh.
Ahdieh has managed to take elements of what makes One Thousand and One Nights such a staple for folklore and spin it into something distinct. The plot is not directly pulled forth from the original tales, but it does take pace in a time and location that would fit the bill. It also isn’t about those recognizable characters we love, such as Sinbad or Aladdin, so if that’s what you are after you will be met with disappointment.
Rather, Ahdieh’s work seeks to highlight the power of storytelling. Throughout Shahrzad’s fight for survival we see that words have weight, which is exactly why these tales existed in the first place. People typically used oral storytelling to provide a point of relevancy or to offer a lesson that was applicable to their daily lives. They were more than a quick draught of entertainment, they were guides for living. In an era where everything is about the next big thing, it was refreshing to see a writer revisit just how powerful one of the oldest forms of communication still is. Her ability to wrap that sentiment up in a steamy little package with mass-appeal earns her even more praise in my book.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who Should Snag It: Anyone who likes their romance seasoned with historical Arabic charm should drop everything and read this one.