Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh


Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release date: April 26, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 416
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The Rose and the Dagger is the sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, which means that this review might contain spoilers for the first book.


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 sumptuous 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.


45 stars

I really really enjoyed this sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, and it exceeded all of my expectations. Granted, I didn’t really know what to expect and went into the book without many expectations, but I still thought it was a wonderful and magical ending to the duology.

“Cut the strings, Shazi. Fly.”

While I enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn mostly for its plot and concept, I enjoyed The Rose and the Dagger because of the complex characterisation and the relationships between the characters. I liked Shazi as a main character a lot more in this sequel. I felt like I understood her a little bit better and her defiant attitude and sass wasn’t as annoying to me this time. I liked that she stuck to what she believed in and what she wanted, and her determination really came through to me. I also really loved Khalid in this story. I liked that he’s not the typical misunderstood guy who’s actually really gentle and sensitive. He has his dark and ruthless side, which made him a really interesting character to read about. I also really loved some of the side characters, especially Irsa and Rahim, whose romance I absolutely fell in love with. I was so invested in their story that I almost enjoyed it more than Shazi and Khalid’s story. I also really loved the addition of Artan, the magus, in this book. He was probably one of my favourites and I wished he had had a bigger role in the story. Overall, the characters were a standout and I felt so connected to them that I might have shed a tear or two… or three.

The Rose and the Dagger was a little bit slow in pace but it had a wonderful magical quality to the writing and atmosphere that I highly enjoyed. I felt like I was transported into a really mythical and magical setting. However, I did have a few problems with the magical aspects of the book, especially Shazi’s magical abilities. They felt very convenient and her abilities were really only displayed when she was in a bit of a pickle and needed a way out. I wish it had been developed a little bit better and the story might have been stronger if this was a trilogy instead of a duology. There were just some aspects that felt a little weak and underdeveloped to me, including the climax of the book. While it was kind of epic, I just wanted a little bit more action, thrill and intensity.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the plot and how well it flowed. It had lots of sweet moments and heartstopping moments, which kept me hooked. I finished the book in two sittings and thought it was delightful.

11 thoughts on “Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

  1. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Oh noooo, I didn’t realise Shazi would have magical abilities! Despite that minor spoiler, I’m glad that her attitude annoyed you a lot less this time. I think that was my main annoyance with the first book, aside from the romance. I’m looking forward to picking this one up and discussing it with you and Aila!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks says:

    Great review, Jenna! I’ve been meaning to get to this… yet another reason to hate school- you can’t read the books you really want to read! I’m so glad that characterization was better in this one; characters are such an integral part of ANY story that if you don’t like them, you might as well be not reading the book at all, ha.
    I agree with you about Khalid- he’s so far away from the bad boy with a good side stereotype, while also sort of fitting into it. Can’t wait to read it. Ahdieh is such a talented writer! Hope you’re doing well, Jenna! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I hope you’ve been well too and that school hasn’t been too stressful! I haven’t really been around much either because life is just so stressful at the moment. But hopefully you can find the time to read this sequel. It was super good and the characters were all amazing, especially some of the new characters. And Khalid was wonderful, as always πŸ˜‰


  3. Zoe says:

    YEAH! I am so glad to hear this Jenna! Sequels are tricky, so it’s great that this met – and even exceeded – your expectations. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yeah, I think it helped that I didn’t have many expectations. I mean, I expected it to be good because the first book was good and the writing is really nice to read… but I had no expectations for what would happen plotwise, so it all took me by surprise. Hope you get a chance to read this one soon, Zoe. It was really good!


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