Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Book Description:

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

Reviewer's Copy: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Note: This is the sequel of the duet. You guys can read my review of the first book here: The Wrath and the Dawn.

My Thoughts:

The long wait was finally over, I thought, as I held the copy of The Rose and the Dagger in my hands. It took me months to finally spot a copy in the wild and purchase it. It took me a few hours, a sleepless dream, and the rest of the morning to finish this bad boy. It was worth the wait.

I got a bird's eye view of Khorasan, getting a glimpse into Rey, the Badawi camps, Fire Temple and Parthia. Ahdieh, as always, delivered searing images of the unforgiving desert, the magical temple and the opulence of palaces. The attention to detail involved in this book was flawless. Every breath, every swallow and bite of food, every movement and every word gave off a Middle Eastern vibe for me. I thoroughly appreciated how the culture was written into the story and was a vital element of the story. The Rose and the Dagger felt alive in my hands.

Shahrzad was stuck in the Badawi camp, under the watchful eye of everyone in camp, including Tariq, Rahim, Irsa, the sheikh and Reza bin-Latief, the father of Shiva, Shazi's best friend. The Calipha of Khorasan was determined to fight against all odds and to be reunited with Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, her king. Shazi has always been resilient and positive, despite the utter hopelessness of the situation. Shahrzad was fiery, with a silver tongue, a temper and knack for trouble. I have always found Shahrzad to be strong and fierce, the reflection of a modern woman fighting for what she believes in.

Khalid was still the boy-king living in shadows, still a bit distanced from the world. However, in the sequel, Khalid stepped out of the shadows and out into the light. In pursuit of ending the curse, Khalid joined Shahrzad in the search for the cure. He was still always a breath away from unleashing rage, but he was able to stay his hand and his shamshir sheathed. This male continued to amaze me with his flawless manners, such good decorum and such wise words. He earned more of my respect with his interaction with Tariq. The face off of the two lovers of Shahrzad was filled with electric energy and antagonism. It was one of the things I looked forward to, since in the first few pages of The Wrath and the Dawn, I was Team Tariq (prior to meeting Khalid fully.)

There were new characters in the sequel, such as Artan Temujin, a young but powerful magus residing in the Fire Temple. The personalities, struggles and relationship of Rahim and Irsa were also tackled in the book. Their story left a bittersweet, nostalgic taste in my mouth. The characters from The Wrath and the Dawn grew and became more complex in The Rose and the Dagger. There were a lot of changes in the characters, a lot of growth as they went through their own struggles with life. This made me more interested and invested in the book.

The plot was twisty, winding in and out of the central loop of the story. There were a lot of twists and turns in the book, jumping from marble to sand and vice versa. I found myself sitting at the edge of my seat, flipping the pages so fast, only to go back and reread exquisite sections of the book. The beautiful writing was still there: cut as sharp and fine as crystals, dripping with emotion and ever so fluid. This sequel cemented Renee Ahdieh's spot as one of my most favorite authors ever.

The Rose and the Dagger was unforgettable, bursting with romance, palpable tension, and the promise of disaster and wonder. The Rose and the Dagger was an exotic elixir, standing out in the field of fantasy romance, with the flavor of surprises. I highly recommend this series to all readers of fantasy and romance, readers who are looking for Middle East-inspired tales and exotic setting.


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!

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