Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

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Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release date: April 26, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 416
Goodreads || Book Depository

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 ROSE AND THE DAGGER 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 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.

MY THOUGHTS

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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Autumn TBR

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You’ll probably have noticed that I don’t do TBR posts because what I read really depends on my mood. But the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is books that are on my Spring TBR (which I’ve changed to Autumn TBR because southern hemisphere), so I thought I’d list a couple of books that I plan to read in the next two months. Most of these books I’ve either preordered, requested or already own copies of, but I’m super excited to get to all of these.

The Goodreads page for each book is linked!

1. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I absolutely loved both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime and I have to get my hands on this as soon as it’s released! Like, you don’t understand how much I need to know what happens next. I’m about to implode from the need.

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This is another series finale that I’m super excited for. The Raven Cycle so far has been magnificent and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I’m pretty sure ACOMAF is on everybody’s TBR and wishlists. I thought A Court of Thorns and Roses was really great and I’m so excited that ACOMAF is inspired by the Hades and Persephone story. I’m slightly iffy about it though because Rhysand is going to get a lot more page time and I don’t know how I feel about him.

4. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

I absolutely love Morgan Matson and everything she’s written. I’ve already heard really good things about The Unexpected Everything and I can’t wait to have it in my hands. It’s going to be fantastic!

5. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn was another 2015 release that I really enjoyed and I have really high hopes for this sequel.

6. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Out of all of Rick Riordan’s books, I’ve only read Percy Jackson and the Olympians but I want to eventually catch up and binge read everything else. Apollo is probably my favourite of the major gods and I’m so excited to read about him as a mortal.

7. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

I’ve had the first four books of the Heroes of Olympus on my shelves for a few months now but I still haven’t read them because I want to marathon the whole series. I have the US paperbacks of the books and the last book, The Blood of Olympus, doesn’t come out in paperback until early April. So I’m holding off until I have all of the books in my possession. I’ve already preordered The Blood of Olympus, so hopefully it gets here soon.

8. Dreamology by Lucy Keating

I’ve had an eARC of Dreamology sitting in my Kindle app since last year. I was planning to review it for Happy Indulgence but the awesome Aila read and wrote up a review for it in like a day. So it’s kind of continued sitting in my Kindle app… It sounds fascinating and Aila really enjoyed it, so I’m really keen to see what I think of it.

9. This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

This is one of my most anticipated contemporary releases of this year and I have an ARC of this one! I cannot wait to read this and will have a review up closer to release date, which is in April.

10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

This sounds like a really cute contemporary and there’s been quite a bit of buzz about it around the community. But let’s be real, I’m excited about it because the author and I share the same name.


What books are you really keen to read in the next few months?!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

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Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post. This is a weekly feature hosted by the group over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week I am featuring 10 of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016. I did a list of my most anticipated 2016 debut novels a couple weeks ago so I didn’t include any of them in this list. Click on the link to see what I included in that list!

I could have also included Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken on this list (those are out on January 5) but I’ve already pre-ordered those and the release date is so soon that I thought I’d look a little bit further into the future.

So here are ten of my most anticipated releases between February and June of 2016. Their Goodreads pages are linked.

1. Stars Above – Marissa Meyer

This is a collection of short stories featuring the world and the characters from The Lunar Chronicles. I believe this contains 9 short stories, 4 that have been previously released as ebooks and 5 never-before-seen stories. The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series so I cannot wait to read more. Plus we’ve been promised the wedding of the century?

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

I really, really loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I’m highly anticipating this sequel! I read a little bit of an excerpt and I can tell that it’s going to be amazing!

3. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Ever since I finished bingeing The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, I’ve been looking forward to Cassie’s next release. I really love the Shadowhunter Chronicles and Cassie’s writing so Lady Midnight cannot come soon enough! I’m more excited for her next trilogy, The Last Hours (Book 1 out in 2017), than I am for Lady Midnight but I’ll take anything at this point.

4. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang

Contemporary is my favourite genre and I particularly enjoy ones that will give me all the feels and make me ugly-cry until I cannot function the next day. And this one promises all of those things.

5. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

I marathoned the first three books of The Raven Cycle just last week and I cannot wait for The Raven King to be released! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but I have a feeling that The Raven King will be the best one of the series yet! It’s going to be so epic and I want to know if Gansey will actually die! (That is not a spoiler).

6. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses so much when I read it back in July so I’m really looking forward to the sequel. It’s going to be partly a Hades and Persephone retelling, which has me super intrigued! I just really want to know what’s going to go down in the Night Court! (I am Team Tamlin btw)

7. The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

This is another sequel that I’m highly anticipating. The first book in this duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, was so great and we got left at such a heartstopping spot that I need to know what happens!

8. The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

This is one of my most highly anticipated contemporaries. I’ve still only read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson but I enjoyed the coming-of-age story and the character development in that book so much that I need to read more of her writing.

9. You Know Me Well – David Levithan & Nina LaCour

I actually don’t know too much about this book but everything I’ve read by David Levithan has been amazing (review of Every Day) and he’s one of my favourite contemporary authors. This book promises to be an wonderfully diverse LGBTQ+ book so I need to have this in my possession!

10. Summer Days & Summer Nights – Stephanie Perkins

I thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ first short story collection, My True Love Gave To Me, when I read it last year so I’m super excited to pick up her next collection. This collection is written by a whole new group of contemporary and fantasy authors and I cannot wait to see what summery stories are in store for us.


Please share your most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016! I love adding new books to my watchlist and pre-ordering them so let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

ten-exciting-debut-authors

Another Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by the team over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is top debut authors who have me looking forward to their next release. I have ten 2015 debut authors to share, so let’s get started.

1. Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of my all-time favourite contemporaries! It’s a light and adorable read, with a really important message. It’s an absolutely fantastic LGBTQ+ book that I think all young readers would enjoy!

2. Nicola Yoon

There was so much hype surrounding this YA debut and I loved it just as much as everybody else seemed to. It was creative and had lots of wonderful illustrations in it. Hopefully Nicola’s next book is just as wonderful as Everything Everything!

3. Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not was a book that gave me all the feels. I cried like a baby when the book was over and immediately wanted to read something else by Adam Silvera. Sadly, he only had one book available. I’m super excited to see what his next book is about!

4. Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn was probably my favourite fantasy debut that I read this year (not that I read very many to begin with). I thought it was such a great beginning to the duology. It had a fantastic set of characters and the romance was OMG. I devoured this book in just one day.

5. David Arnold

I really liked David Arnold’s debut novel, Mosquitoland, but was frustrated with the writing style. It was overly purple prose-y and I wished it was slightly more comfortable to read. I enjoyed the story a lot so I’m still excited to pick up something else by him.

6. Jasmine Warga

I read My Heart and Other Black Holes at the beginning of the year and I loved it. I read a whole pile of books on depression and mental illness at around the same time and this debut novel really stood out as one of the best.

7. Erin Gough

The Flywheel is an Aussie YA debut that blew me away! It’s a wonderful LGBTQ+ novel and it’s one of my favourite diverse books. This book is set in Sydney and it was wonderful to be able to read a book and know where the places are. This is probably my favourite OzYA book so I highly recommend it, if you can get your hands on it.

8. Meg Haston

I really enjoyed Paperweight by Meg Haston. It was an emotional book about eating disorders and is set in a treatment facility. I thought it was a wonderful representation of eating disorders and it’s a really important book that needs to be read! I can’t wait to see what Meg Haston brings next.

9. Lauren James

The Next Together was a book that I read recently and really enjoyed. It was unique in its concept and was executed pretty well. It’s the first book in a duology so I can’t wait to see what the next book is about.

10. Melinda Salisbury

I read The Sin Eater’s Daughter at the beginning of the year and thought it was a pretty good first book in a new fantasy trilogy. I had some problems with it but loved the direction that it took at the end. Can’t wait to see what happens next.


My honourable mention goes to Sophie Kinsella’s Finding Audrey. I know that she’s not a debut author since she’s released a million adult books, but Finding Audrey is her first YA novel and I thought it was delightful! I hope she continues to write YA books because I’d pick them up in a heartbeat.

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Publisher: Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release date: May 12, 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0399171614
Pages: 388
Goodreads || Book Depository

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

The Wrath and the Dawn is the first book in a duology (I believe), a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights. Its sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, is scheduled to be released in 2016.

I thought this first instalment was a very enjoyable and captivating read. It was very fast-paced and the writing just sucked me in and made me not want to put it down. The story was engrossing, with lots of mystery running throughout the book. At times, I felt like the book was a bit slow, particularly in the middle, but the end was so eventful that it gave me such a rush. There were times when I was very frustrated by all the mystery and secrets, and how the same issues kept creeping up again and again. But overall, I did like how the story played out and I’m excited to see how the plot unfolds in the sequel.

My only other big complaint was the number of foreign references the book contained. There is a glossary at the back to make things more clear, but the glossary is sandwiched between the end of the book and an excerpt of the sequel. So I kept finding myself seeing little things that I didn’t want to see. But that has nothing to do with the story.

I did like the romance between the two main characters, Shahrzad and Khalid. It did seem a little bit insta-lovey, which didn’t feel very believable to me and annoyed me a little bit at the beginning. But I really liked how their relationship developed throughout the book. I thought the middle section of the book might have been a little bit too focused on the romance but I liked where their relationship was at by the end of the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and the reading experience. The chapters are relatively short, which makes it quite a quick read.