Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
The Rose & The Dagger has been very hyped up since last year, and I was one of the fans that was highly anticipating the conclusion to The Wrath & The Dawn. The hype did not kill my reading experience at all, in fact I was really excited when I was reading it. The Wrath & The Dawn duology is absolutely perfect. There were hardly any flaws in both books, and I am so glad that it was just two books.
I’ve noticed that most readers complained that the beginning of the story started off slowly, but that was not the case for me. The story was good from beginning to end. This book had several things going for it. The curse, and the upcoming war played a huge part in this book. I was stressed when I was reading the book. More than usual. And the stress wasn’t unnecessarily bad, it just made the reading experience much more fun. I was emotionally invested, and I love being transported into the world.
Now, moving on to the characters. I love Shahrzad, she is terrific and just as feisty in this book. Her character was consistent throughout the book, and she did get some character development. Shahrzad may not be physically strong, but when you mess with her, she fights like a lioness. I found her interactions with Khalid to be hilarious, especially concerning her temper. As for Khalid, he was wonderful. I really can’t imagine anyone else for Shahrzad, besides him. Also, how can you not like him?
“Two stubborn lovers, protecting each other from the very same threat.”
As for the supporting characters, I grew to love Irsa (Shahrzad’s younger sister). I loved the sister dynamic. Shahrzad is fighter and loud, while Irsa is docile and meek. I love the way how Irsa would compare herself as a meek mouse. I can completely relate with Irsa. I was glad that she got a lot of screen time in the book, and I especially love the growth she goes through. She even stands up to Khalid, even though she is completely terrified of talking back to royalty. Irsa’s story had me in tears. (That was probably the only time that I cried during reading TRATD)
I was a bit disappointed that Despina and Jalal were not as involved with the story. I really wanted more moments between Despina and Jalal. I have to say that Despina’s family history is revealed, and I was not expecting it, and what a twist. That’s one of my minor complaints from the book since I loved them in the first book. Lastly, I loved how much girl power this book had. I don’t really want to spoil this book, because it is one of my top books for this year.
Renée Ahdieh has a beautiful writing style, and she’s been one of my favorite authors since last year. If you find yourself having a reading slump, then I would highly suggest reading this series. Honestly, the first book was the one to save me from my reading slump and it has a special place in my heart.
“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”
“I’ve missed the silence of you listening to me.” Shahrzad attempted a weak smile. “No one listens to me as you do.” His expression turned quizzical. “You don’t wait to speak,” she clarified. “You truly listen.” “Only to you,” Khalid replied gently.”
“For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you. Khalid”