One of the audiobooks I finished this week was The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and read by the actress Ariana Delwari who has roots in the Middle East. Her pronunciations were spot on, especially for the characters names which I would have stumbled over if reading the print edition. For this reason, I can recommend this format of the book.
The Wrath and the Dawn is an imaginative retelling of 1,001 Arabian Nights. In this book, as in the original, Shahrzad (Scheherazade) marries the wicked king who has been murdering all his brides after only one day, because she wants to exact revenge for the death of her friend and for all the innocent girls. She "buys" herself a one night reprieve by telling the king a story, promising she will finish it the next night. She continues to do this gaining one night at a time until the king issues a general order in which Shazi is not to be killed automatically the following day. Along the way she comes to admire, possibly love this tortured king. But does she come to this opinion too late?
The language of the book is rich, exotic, and colorful just like the land where it is set. We can easily picture the gossamer curtains, the jeweled headdresses, the plates full of delicious and dainty foods. When the wind picks up we can see in our mind Shahrzad's dark tresses whip about. We feel the tension in the palace caused by some unknown source. We want to know what it is that is making the king behave in such a monstrous way.
As I listened to The Wrath and the Dawn I was reminded how much I enjoyed the 1,001 Arabian Nights tales as a young girl. I must have had a young reader's edition because I remember reading them myself. I recall being swept up in the stories. In fact, I am determined to go back and read some of the tales again as soon as I can lay my hands on a book. It was this aspect of the book that I liked the best.
What I didn't care for, or even fully understand, was the weird love triangle between Shazi, an impulsive childhood friend, and the king. It was hard to understand how and why Shazi could change her allegiances so quickly. But my main beef with the book should be leveled at the publisher. I didn't know the book was the first book in a series. I thought it was a stand-alone book. No where on the CD case does it indicate being part of a series. As the tension was building I kept looking at the time left on the disc wondering how all the action would be resolved in such a short amount of time. Then BOOM it was over, ending on a huge cliff-hanger. Sigh. Be forewarned!
I guess I was living with my head in a hole, however. If I had just bothered to look around the Internet a bit I might have run into the interview with the author, Renee Ahdieh, where she said, "I'm working on edits for the second book in the series, tentatively titled . I really can't wait to share it with readers, and I feel so lucky to have people already awaiting the sequel. For any writer, that's a dream come true. As for details, I can promise sword fights, swooning, and a possible tear or two!" (Huffington Post).
I predict this is going to be a very popular book in my library this Fall. When I peeked at the reviews for it on Goodreads I could hear the actual swooning. Ha!
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
30 books Summer Reading Challenge
23 / 30 books. 76% done!