The Wrath and the Dawn
by: Renee Ahdieh
Speak; Reprint edition (April 5, 2016)
Paperback: $6.15

Shazi’s best friend has just been murdered. In fact, she’s just one of nearly 60 girls that have met the dawn with a silver cord around her throat, a final gift from their murderous husband on their wedding night. With anger and determination Shazi volunteer’s to be the next wife, accepting a personal mission to find out why the girls have been murdered and assassinate the bloody Caliph of Khorasan, Khalid. Unfortunately, things aren’t as simple as they seem. The boy isn’t as mad as the people would think and soon it becomes harder and harder to kill the thing you love.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a beautiful twist on A Thousand and One Nights, set in the fictional Khorasan it could be Pakistan, Iran or modern day Turkey. Readers are introduced to the opulence of a bygone era while still holding on to the fairytale-like elements that western readers are used to. It is Book 1 of a series and has fantasy elements in small amounts, but will delight those who love historical fiction romances. Shazi is bold and quick witted, while Khalid is the ultimate bad boy. Murdering a series of wives on their wedding nights is about as bad as bad can get, but there is vulnerability there that Ahdieh is adept at teasing out. We don’t see that much of a love triangle in this book, but even after 400 pages you’ll want to rush to Book 2 to see the clash between the childhood sweetheart and the new love.

The setting descriptions are breathtaking, but it will take a little bit of determination to get through some of the vocabulary, but it isn’t anything that fantasy readers wouldn’t be used to and midway through the book you’ll have gotten used to the names and honorifics. It’s not Elvish so dig into it and let the story take you away.

This Book is Perfect For:

  • Reluctant Romantics
  • Fans of Historical Fiction and Classic retellings
  • Anyone who likes their fantasy in small bites

Book Club Discussion Questions:

  1. Shazi’s anger spurs her to volunteer as a wife. Why can’t she hold onto that anger?
  2. Discuss how the times and ways in which Shazi rescues Khalid. She becomes his defender in some ways. How does that power shift affect their relationship?
  3. Tariq immediately springs into action to save his childhood sweetheart, but there is little backstory given to how much in love the two were. Speculate as to whether the tie between Tariq and Shazi is just fond memories or real connection. Does he really have a chance to place a wedge between her and Khalid?
  4. Discuss the ways in which Khalid failed his first wife. Was he truly at fault?
  5. Themes of revenge and justice are woven throughout the book. What do you make of Shazi’s attempt? Her father’s? Can there be justice in revenge?
  6. What do you make of Khalid’s grief and remorse? Is it real? Is it enough given his crimes?
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