Soooo I didn’t love this as much as The Wrath and the Dawn…
This book continues straight after the last book finishes off. Tariq has whisked Shazi off into the desert after the storm that has razed Rey. Shazi has to deal with the consequences of loving the Caliph and siding with the murderous boy king.
Don’t get me wrong it was still a great book regardless yet it didn’t completely meet my expectations. This has kind of been happening to me a lot as well, I will start a new series and the first novel will sweep me off my feel and then as I continue on the rest of the books don’t give that same feeling.
Shazi though still being very witty and tenacious I felt like at times she kind of acted a bit arrogantly. Like when she first met the Sheik and she refused to relinquish her weapons and demanded the guards to let go of her. I just felt like that was totally unnecessary and made a big fuss over nothing. She was in the presence of Tariq who would let nothing happen to her and she was a guest of the Badawi Clan who had housed and protected her family. Also when she first met Artan someone Musa said could potentially help her break the curse she was rude too as soon as she met him. Granted he was discourteous at the time but she took offense too quickly and that grated me nerves a little.
I liked Isra a lot, I enjoyed that we get to delve a lot deeper into her character and get a feel for who she is. I loved her honesty and compassion for her family. She is very loyal yet will still question her sisters’ motives and wants to be treated as her equal not her little sister.
The book was still very entertaining and the pacing was pretty good. At some stages it was a little slow and I did find myself skimming a little just to get through certain scenes. Though there were a lot of twists and shocking revelations thrown in throughout the plot and that kept me invested and reading on.
The magical element still wasn’t thoroughly explained either. There was no reasoning as to why Jahander and Shazi have this power and not Isra. Where it comes from or really what it is, just that it exists. I liked that there was a little bit of a history told about Artan’s family and the lore behind their magic but still it wasn’t enough for me.
All the elements are there, the characters, the plot, the setting, yet it wasn’t executed enough for me. I appreciated the ending, I liked that I was totally blindsided by several character and their motives, yet I wasn’t left with any overwhelming feelings at the end like I did with The Wrath and the Dawn.
⭐️3/5 Good not great!
One of my favourite books of the year so far!!!
We follow the story of a young king who is a monster. Every day he marries a new girl and then at dawn she is put to death. When Shahrzad’s best friend is the king’s latest victim she vows to have her revenge and volunteers to be his new bride.
I loved Shahrzad’s tenacity and quick wit. I thought she was funny and clever and completely immovable. She is already struggling with the death of her best friend and choosing to put herself in the same position and entirely in the hands of her friends’ murderer I found to be very courageous. I loved her arc within the story, starting off quite detached and filled with rage and almost obsessing about figuring out the secrets of the king and why he had to murder all of these girls. Then to see her struggle internally with her feelings and the guilt that is brought about because of that really had me invested.
Khalid I was really drawn to from the start. I wanted to not like him because of what he did, but the mystery surrounding why definitely had me intrigued! I liked how he is so observant and attentive to Shazi’s needs and he isn’t afraid to admit to what he has done and won’t hide from it. He fully embraces his past and the way that he finally divulged the true story to Shazi showed his absolute trust and commitment to her.
For some reason I didn’t really warm to Tariq. I think because we don’t get to see him and Shazi together and see how their relationship really is. We are just kind of told that they are in love and not shown it. I love how dedicated he is to Shazi, especially once he has heard what she has done and proceeds to speed off to the capital to rescue her. I thought that was very noble of him and showed the depth of his love. But I didn’t necessary feel that reciprocated by Shazi… all I got from her is kind is guilt that she has feeling for the man who murdered her best friend, not really anything about the many years they have supposedly been in love.
There is so much collusion and schemes weaving throughout the story and the pacing really helped set the scene for the book. I loved the slow build up of anticipation and tension throughout the course of the storyline and I was super entertained during all of it! The setting is wonderful as well, the Middle Eastern cultural elements add distinction and depth to the book which I highly appreciated.
The magical elements of the story weren’t really explained forthright. I appreciated what we did get to see but I kind of want more. I can see Shazi learning to hone her abilities and maybe, just maybe be the one to absolve Khalid…
I have a lot of questions that need answering and I definitely have one or two theories about what is going to happen next! I love that this is a duology as well because this first book really set the tone perfectly and I am itching to continue on with The Rose and the Dagger!
⭐️5/5 Renee Ahdieh might be one of my new favourite authors!!!
There are some books in this month’s TBR that I am super excited to get in to! I feel like my selection this month is quite varied so depending on my mood I have multiple choices that I am eager to read!
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner
The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Legendary by Stephanie Garber
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I am very proud of my progress this month! As I said I have been on holidays in February so I did have more than enough time for reading but I tried not to let it take over my holidays. I did enjoy myself and have a bit of a break from reading throughout the month but I did still manage to get quite a bit done!
HP and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – ⭐️5/5 stars
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – ⭐️4/5 stars
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner – ⭐️3/5 stars
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – ⭐️4/5 stars
Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh – ⭐️4/5 stars
Always & Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han – ⭐️4/5 stars
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – ⭐️4/5 stars
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – ⭐️4.5/5 stars
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson – ⭐️4.5/5 stars
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – ⭐️3.5/5 stars
The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – ⭐️5/5 stars
Okami has been captured and Mariko will stop at nothing to rescue him. She tricks her brother and her betrothed Prince Raiden into believing she was being held by the Black Clan against her will and decides to play the part of the innocent bride to be and follow through on her plans.
I like the multiple perspectives given in the book, I felt they added more layers to the storyline and wove together the plot well. I felt each character was very distinguishable and had a distinct role to play in the storyline.
Mariko really matured a lot for me in this book. I felt she handled herself very admirably under immensely high-pressured scenes and maintained her focus and drive throughout the course of the book. Her tenacity and ingenuity was a highlight and her compassion really shone through the pages.
I actually quite liked Prince Raiden. Even though he is fiercely loyal to his brother as the Sovereign he still managed to display empathy and subtly defy his brothers orders without being traitorous. Even though he is made out to be quite unlikeable throughout the course of the book the fact that he got to redeem himself and his family was very satisfying to me.
Kenshin and his subplot was another aspect of the story that I was invested in. The fact that he is made out to the unwavering Samurai and the ‘Dragon of Kai” yet still succumbs to his own demons and the grief over the loss of his love was endearing and made him more genuine.
The build up and pacing of this book was very well done. There wasn’t really any point in time where I was bored and it was a very quick engaging read for me. The political and royal intrigue was very captivating and the plot really progressed in a way that I could not guess the outcome. I felt it kind of wrapped itself up a little too quickly and cleanly. There was definitely more opportunity to draw it out and build up the anticipation to more of a crescendo. It was just a little too rushed at the end. There are just a few components in the plot that wasn’t really finalised for me and there were moments that hinted that there was more to the story and this just didn’t feel like the ending to a duology more so a second book in a trilogy. I would pick up a third book in a heartbeat!
⭐️4/5 stars I was highly invested in these characters, loved this duology, wanted a trilogy!