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One Thousand and One Nights Retelling | Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn is an strong YA retelling with a fun, exotic setting.

Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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the wrath and the dawn renee ahdieh book review

Title & Author: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Retelling

Release Date: May 12, 2014

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1

Publisher: Penguin Random House

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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.

Exotic, Fierce & Intense

This is the year for incredible and fierce heroines. In the retelling of the classic tale One Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn offered up a story with a fiercely loyal heroine who is hell-bent on having her revenge against a king who killed her best friend.

The way to exact her revenge? Marry him…and then kill him. (That’s always the way, isn’t it?)

Immediately, readers will be immersed into an exotic Arabian culture filled with interesting settings and complex naming systems (ex: Tariq al-Aziz al-Fulan), which I found a bit cumbersome to read through – although obviously authentic.

I know I have said this in the past, but Shazi is seriously and truly one of the most fierce YA heroines of all time. She is like the Leslie Knope of the Middle East. Shazi is strong, capable, cunning and yet still endearing and vulnerable.

I like a lot of readers will admire her charisma and general ballsy-ness.

The Wrath and the Dawn had alternating POVs between Shazi, Khalid and some minor characters (Shazi’s family and friends). For me, every scene that did not have Shazi in it or centered on her life in the palace in some way was honestly something I skimmed or skipped entirely.

I think she’s such a focal and main presence in the book that the side drama paled in comparison to her awesomeness. It was disappointing to not enjoy a third of the book when these POVs took place.

I am so thankful there is definitely a book two because the cliffhanger on The Wrath and the Dawn is something WICKED. Well played Renee Ahdieh. I must know what happens!!

This book plays on secret information very well. As the reader, you don’t learn key information until almost the very end of the story, which both kept me intrigued and frustrated me at the same time.


Everything involving Shazi, Khalid and everyone in the palace, I found riveting. I couldn’t get enough of Shazi as a seriously strong and smart heroine who is clever enough to stand on her own. But the alternating POV scenes left me restless and wanting more.

The Wrath and the Dawn is definitely recommended to fans of fairytale retellings and well-developed characters.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.