The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: Putnam (Apr 2016)
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #2
Format/Source: Paperback (purchased)
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 unravelled 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.
I remember reading The Wrath and the Dawn and discovering the magic that is Renee Ahdieh’s writing. I fell in love with the lush descriptions and the spellbinding romance between the protagonist, Shahrzad and the vicious boy-king, Khalid. However, it took me ages to pick up The Rose and the Dagger. Could it be because I didn’t want the magic of another dessert story to end? Damn right.
If you’ve not read The Wrath and the Dawn, I would suggest that you skip the next paragraph as you might be spoiled!
“From the stars, to the stars.”
The Rose and the Dagger continues right where the first book ended, with Shahrzad and Khalid separated after the disastrous storm that destroyed Rey. I really don’t want to get much into the plot of the book because it had a very distinct and unique way of developing and I admit, I thought it took a while for the plot to progress but trust me, it’s worth it. However, I do have to point out that the book didn’t really focus much on what was the most pressing matter in the first book, which is Khalid’s curse. But I still enjoyed the new elements of the stories that were introduced in The Rose and the Dagger.
“That is not the way of it. Your future is not set in stone, my dearest star. A coin turns on itself a number of times before it lands.”
Renee Ahdieh’s writing in the sequel is equally amazing, if not even better. With her beautifully enriching prose and vivid descriptions, reading The Rose and the Dagger was such a treat. Prepare to be transported to a desert adventure where magical carpets soar the skies and fire-breathing winged serpents rage into battle!
“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.”
Once again, I was rooting for Shazi and Khalid but mostly Shazi because I love her for her whip-smart tongue, sass and wit. I really enjoyed reading about her taking matters to her own hands and kicking ass. And I think we all know that the romance between Shazi and Khalid is swoon-worthy but get this, Shazi’s younger, Irsa gets her own love story and the way Renee Ahdieh writes about love makes me swooooooon.
“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.”
Plot-wise, I didn’t expect The Rose and the Dagger to take this direction, especially after the events in The Wrath and the Dawn but I liked it. Similar to the first book, it was a slow burn at first, where Renee Ahdieh lured our hearts into a safe haven, only to surprise us with unexpected twists. The first 100 pages or so were quite slow, in terms of pacing, but once you get past that, you’re in for a treat.
“Destiny was for fools. Sharzad would not wait for her life to happen. She would make it happen.”
I wish that these books weren’t just a duology because I can’t stand the thought of saying goodbye to them. I was so mesmerised by the gorgeous world that Renee Ahdieh created, I didn’t want my Arabian dream to end. Equally beautiful and dreamy, The Rose and the Dagger was wonderfully written with delicious prose and whip-smart characters and romances that could even melt my frozen lump of a heart.