I know this book came out a while ago and I know that the majority of people have already read it but I really really wanted to write a book review and seeing as I’ve only read 3 books this year (I know, shameful), this seemed like the best one to review.
Title: The Rose and the Dagger
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Date Published: 26th April 2016
Available at: Book Depository/Amazon
“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.”
This one’s a tricky one to review. The first in the series, The Wrath and the Dawn, was absolutely fantastic! I flew through it and really enjoyed reading it but I found myself liking this one less and less which is a bit disappointing.
As always, Ahdieh wrote a fantastic story and created a really great re-telling of the traditional 1001 Nights. What I really enjoyed about Ahdieh’s writing was how well she worked with magic realism throughout the book; unlike The Wrath and the Dawn, The Rose and the Dagger included Shazi working with and learning to master the magic carpet which I really enjoyed reading about. Ahdieh managed to incorporate this element without it sounding completely unrealistic and unnatural which some writers really struggle with so I was incredibly pleased with this. I understand that the series is within the fantasy genre but there is not a lot of evidence of this besides the curse and so as I was reading, it was something I could imagine actually happening if that makes sense…
Speaking of the curse, I had a few niggles. Firstly, I was a bit confused over the method of breaking the curse. It was mentioned that the only way to break the curse was to trade a life for a life. However, it only took blood for Khalid to break the curse?? How does that work?? How did he manage to get away with it?? Secondly, one of the main elements of the entire book was this curse and how awful it was, how it affected every character’s life and ultimately, the reason Shazi and Khalid met. I was slightly annoyed by the fact that it was broken within five pages and that afterwards, it wasn’t mentioned again and no-one seemed to really acknowledge it. Weird.
The reason I only gave it 3 stars was because of the pace. I’m not sure if it was just because I hadn’t been reading a lot recently but it seemed to be so slow. The first book was so quick and ended on such a cliff-hanger, I was expecting the second to be the same so I was always waiting for the pace to quicken but it never did. Although I enjoyed reading this book, the pace was much slower than I was expecting.
Anyway, back to more positive thoughts. I really loved the romance between Isra and Rahim and thought it was a really refreshing concept to bring in. I enjoyed how unexpected it was and I think Ahdieh managed to incorporate it and make it significant without taking away from the romance between Shazi and Khalid.
Short and sweet as my book reviews usually are! I enjoy writing snappy reviews because I feel like they’re the ones I’m more likely to read, but what about you? Do you prefer long or short book reviews?
What are your thoughts on The Rose and the Dagger?