Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Date Published: 12th May 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Where you can buy it: Reader’s Warehouse
Rating: 3.7 stars
I’ve had this novel on my TBR list for a while and have heard many good things about it. Finally, as the June vacation rolled in I had more than enough time to sink my teeth into it.
I quite enjoyed this retelling, it was definitely entertaining and I can see what all the hype was about. The Wrath and the Dawn is Renee Ahdieh’s admirable debut novel and feeds the growing love for retelling classical tales.
The Wrath and Dawn was released in 2015 around the same time as another Arabian Nights retelling A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston. While I truly enjoyed Johnston’s adaptation and it ended up being one of my favourite novels of 2015 I feel the need to point of that Ahdieh’s retelling is a lot different and I enjoyed it for very different reasons.
What I loved most about the novel was the fact that the plot presented an interesting take on the Arabian Nights, while also sticking to the essential elements that made Arabian Nights a classic. The cast of characters were interesting although I would not say that the characters were diverse in their characteristic. I began to notice a trend with the characters, and realised that they were variations of 2 character molds. Most of them were equally stubborn, witty or broody which makes for the perfect angsty young adult romance novel set in a fantasy-esque Arabia, however, it became rather annoying after a while. Despite the author’s inclination towards character that are rather similar I couldn’t help but care for the them and found myself rooting for Shazi and Khalid even the relationships that developed between certain secondary characters. The dialogue between Shazi and the Khalid was entertaining as both these character were witty, sarcastic and stubborn. Same goes for the conversation between Shazi and Jalal (the Captain and the Caliph’s cousin) and Despina (Shazi’s handmaiden) which I found rather humorous at times.
The plot was suspenseful, although I though it was a bit too fast paced in my opinion. This could based on the fact that I don’t mind reading long fantasy novels with fairly detailed world building.
I found that there were inconsistency with the characters, Shazi for one marries the Caliph as a revenge plot, but despite her strong willed and stubborn personality Shazi forget her mission too soon after meeting Khalil. She also seem extremely erratic when it came to making decisions, her mind seemed to change at a whim and she was very unpredictable.
Khalid’s character development however, seem appropriate for a broody Caliph rediscovering love under these unique circumstances.
Another thing that bothered me was the chapters focusing on Tariq. I felt like these were unnecessary and found the love triangle between Tariq, Shazi and Khalid annoying. I think the novel could do without these chapters.
Even though I had my problems with the novel I did in enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who love retellings. I would also recommend it to readers who are trying to get into fantasy as the novel is rather light on the fantasy elements, as well as readers who love Sarah J Maas’s series if you’re looking for something with a similar feel but lighter.