Book Review: The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

1 May 2016

Book Title: The Rose & The Dagger
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath & The Dawn #2
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Retellings, Fantasy
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

“Do you know why I adore roses? I've always loved them for their beauty and their scent, but—”

“It's because of their thorns. Because there's more to them than first meets the eye.”
It's no surprise that most of us have been dying to read the highly anticipated sequel to The Wrath & The Dawn after how things ended for Shazi and Khalid (let's not kid ourselves, I wailed pretty badly after the ending). Finally with this one out, we got the long awaited conclusion of this vividly retelling tale of the Arabian Nights. I was definitely not disappointed.

Let me preface by saying how much I LOVE Renee Ahdieh's writing. It's poetic and evocative - her words have the ability to make my heart pound, they make me want to experience the all-consuming love that Shazi & Khalid has. The world building in this sequel continues to grow richer where more magic comes into play (thick magical carpet rides and boy conjuring flame). New allies will be introduced, relationships will be tested and old enemies remain lurking in the dark.

It's rather different than the first book with it being less focused on the romance and more focused on the magic and impending war ahead. To be honest, it took me a while to get into the read. It was a tad slow-paced but I kept marching on for my sailing ship. The first quarter of the read will see Shazi & Khalid to each of their own, trying to pick up from the aftermath of the devastating mess that Jahandar caused but rest assured, they'll be reunited soon enough!

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone.

It was about belonging together.”
I also particularly loved that Irsa, Shazi's younger sister made quite an appearance in this read. She didn't come off as quite a strong character at first but gradually, she grew into this strong young woman and you could see some Shaziness (yes I made that word up in honor of her awesomeness) in her. She had this fierceness in her when it comes to protecting the people who holds dear to her heart, she will fight tooth and nail for it. 

You can also expect a fair amount of jaw-dropping twists and heart-stopping moments. At one point no wait, several times, that I had my heart in my throat. I was almost afraid to know if my worst fears were about to come true for some of my favorite characters. The story will gripped you in ways that will send you heart soaring in joy and then later proceed to crush you in ways that will make you shed some tears (oh yes some tears of mine were shed at one point)

New friendships will be formed, loyalties will be questioned and the most ultimate question will be answered finally- will Khalid be rid of his curse? A tale of love and war woven beautifully with magic filled in the air, this series will leave you with a case of swoons (We need more Khalid!!). Renee Ahdieh is no doubt sitting on my auto-buy author list and I definitely can't recommend this series enough! 

"When I was in the desert, I woke each day and carried on with my life, but it wasn't living; it was merely existing. I want to live. You are where I live."

Renee Ahdieh

I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. My YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, is available wherever books are sold. In my spare time, I like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.
I’m also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

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