Review | The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

Spoiler Free

“You are boundless. There is nothing you can’t do.”

Published: April 26, 2016

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 420 (Kindle)

Series: The Wrath & the Dawn #2

5 Stars

Shahrzad would not wait for her life to happen. She would make it happen.

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

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Insert dreamy sigh here. I know I read this book months ago now (jeez, time is flying) but just reading some of the notes I took and the quotes I saved it still gives me butterflies just thinking about it!

This duology is the perfect YA fantasy/romance mash-up. Just like it’s predecessor, The Wrath & the Dawn, this novel is more a romance with some fantasy touches than it is a fantasy itself, but it’s so damn good! The vivid imagery, the lush writing, the intensity behind every action or inaction, it’s positively intoxicating to read.

This novel leaves off where The Wrath & the Dawn left us and not only does it expand on the romance aspect, this novel really plays into the magic/fantasy elements. While there were hints of magic here and there in the first novel, it’s really in the forefront of the sequel, and I loved it! This novel really reminds me of the classic Aladdin tale, one of my favorite Disney/fairy tales, and it was so fun and immersive. We get to learn more about the history of magic, almost, and we’re even sent on a quest with Shazi’s new magical mentor, a boy who hides behind humor and sarcasm but cares deeply.

Here’s the thing; I love a bad boy. The badder, the better, I always say. And there might be no more wicked boy king than Kahlid, the Caliph of Khorasan. I loved all their interactions, I loved the intensity behind Kahlid’s actions and words, I loved the way he admired her for her, and I loved the way he wields his power, both overtly and covertly. So. Hot. Maybe one of the most swoon-worthy heroes in YA since I met Rhysand (my one and only, honestly).

We get to see a lot more about the supporting characters in this installment, as well. There are a lot of moments told through Irsa’s point of view, too, and we get to see her spread her wings a lot! The undercurrent to this series is strong, badass, smart, capable women willing to do what they must for their loved ones and their country. It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking at moments, and you’ll find yourself laughing, swooning, crying, and screaming all at the same time.

This duology is so enchanting that’s it’s left me thinking about it since I finished in July. It’s stunningly written, masterfully crafted, and achingly plotted. This was such a satisfying conclusion to this duo and I cannot recommend it more for those looking for a YA romance they can melt into!

Happy reading
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The Wrath & the Dawn Duology

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