Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn

Over the course of #AYearAThon I read The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Adieh. I had such high hopes for this book when I bought it and with the literally THOUSANDS of 5-star ratings on GoodReads I thought I was going to be in for a wonderful reading experience. I. Was. Wrong. So, of course, I needed to do a full-fledged review of this book. This review WILL contain spoilers, so read ahead at your own risk.

The Wrath & the Dawn is a retelling of Tales from 1,001 Nights by Anonymous. Our main character, Shahrzad, elects to marry the boy-king Khalid after he takes the lives of dozens of his brides that dawn following their wedding, including her best friend Shiva. Her motivation? To avenge her best friend and murder the king. The trick is to survive long enough to figure out how to pull off this murder. Seems like an interesting enough premise, right? I thought so, too.

The only thing I enjoyed about this story is the romance between Shahrzad and Khalid. The way Adieh wrote their relationship was very sweet to me, and they seemed like two individuals who could realistically fall for one another. Shahrzad is a fiery and outspoken woman while Khalid is more subdued and closed off. Khalid falling for Shahrzad, someone who speaks the truth no matter how dangerous it might be, made sense to me after the string of brides who would do anything, whether it is in their character or not, to stay alive. Khalid saw Shahrzad as a breath of fresh air in this way, which is extremely believable to me. I did not, however, understand why Shahrzad, who supposedly wanted to seek revenge for her best friend, so easily fell for Khalid (literally days after they married), the man who MURDERED the person she describes as her "light". If someone murdered my best friend I don't think I'd be falling in love with them.... that's just me though.

One of the main things that really bothered me while reading this book was all of the side-characters and their stories. Side-characters usually enhance a story and creates a more dynamic background for the main story line. That was not the case at all for me with this book. While it made a lot of sense for Shahrzad's family to be involved in the story and be concerned for her, their integration into the plot was done so poorly. Their involvement in the story was so infrequent and scattered, there was virtually no relationship building between Shahrzad and her family members (such as giving us background of Shahrzad growing up with her family, stories from the past, etc.), and the author just ultimately did a really poor job of making me care for these family members and their relationship to Shahrzad. If you are going to give a main character a family, you really need to spend more time an enriching their relationship in some way so the reader cares about those characters almost as much as the main character. Honestly, the story could have been much better without them.

Shahrzad's relationship with her handmaiden, Despina, was very strange to me. I really liked what Adieh was trying to do with their relationship (making them more friends and confidants more than a servant/Queen relationship), but their relationship just didn't read the way a friendship should read. Despina and Shahrzad were rude to each other but still told each other secrets, would call each other names but still confide in one another.... it just didn't make sense to me. There's also a Despina story arc where she's sleeping with the head of the guard and she's now pregnant.... really didn't need that aspect of the story. There was zero reason to care about her pregnancy or her side relationship with the guard and reading it was a big waste of time.

There was also a magical realism aspect of this book that really went nowhere. Apparently there is some magic in Shahrzad's blood that turns a carpet this random vagrant gives to her as a gift into a magic carpet and it was literally only talked about in one scene. Like... what the hell? Wouldn't you want to know more about that if you were Shahrzad? It just seems like she wrote it off way too easily. I have no idea if it's explored further in the sequel (and I really don't care) but it really just seemed like "What the carpet can move when I step on it? Lol oh well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ". I think the story could have taken a really interesting turn if it focused more on the magic in this world, but it really just got tossed to the side which made it seem pointless.

Ultimately, this book was all over the place. It seemed like Adieh wanted to do 400 different things with the story and couldn't commit to any of those things, was adding in stories that were really unnecessary, and just ultimately made me lose interest. I really had to push myself to continue to read this book and I think if I wasn't participating in a readathon it would have taken me weeks to get this book read. I wouldn't recommend this book personally, but it seems like a lot of people really enjoyed it (which I don't think I'll ever understand) so maybe give it a try if anything I said sounded interesting to you.

Overall I gave this book...
2/5 Stars!

Have you read The Wrath & the Dawn? If so, what did you think?
Let me know in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment