Date of Publication: April 26, 2016
Dates Read: July 2 – 4, 2016
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.
My Rating: ★★★★★
The fact that I finished this book in 3 days – a short amount of time for a slow reader like me – says a lot about how much I absolutely loved this book.
Usually second books are worse than the first, but this one was strong and held its own against its amazing prequel.
I want to know what it’s like inside Renée Ahdieh’s brain, because she manages to write such intense, beautiful books that keep me on the edge of my seat, have me swooning and heartbroken, and feeling about a million other emotions.
Okay enough rambling. Let’s give this review some structure, shall we?
I just loved how the characters and their relationships developed, particularly how Shazi’s sister, Irsa, built up her courage. I like that we got to get to know each of these characters more, not just Shazi and Khalid, and nobody left this book the same way they were at the beginning.
Like the first book, the writing was magical and wonderful. There was love and there was loss. There were fights and make-ups, misunderstandings and compromises, and, of course, magic and battle. The food was still described perfectly to make me hungry, the scenes picturesque and easy to imagine, and the events heart-pounding until the very last page.
(Seriously, I think I stopped breathing near the end. I didn’t see that one coming. I was so scared, I had no idea how the heck they would get out of that situation!)
Every chapter had something important for the reader to know and to understand, contributing to the story. Not one chapter was wasted on filler. Everything was written for a reason and had a purpose, though it may not seem obvious at first.
And that epilogue! Absolutely perfect. Just what I needed.
As with The Wrath and the Dawn, writing down my feelings about this book in coherent sentences is really difficult. I just love it so much. From the beautiful writing to the different, vibrant characters, to the events that just thicken the plot, I cannot say enough good things about these books. Please read them, if you have not.
Overall: Easily my new favourite books/series.