Review: ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ is a Well-Done Retelling of a Classic Tale

Cynthia Ayala ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Published May 12, 2015 The Wrath and the Dawn is a young adult fantasy retelling of love and adventure inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. This tale, written by Renee Ahdieh and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, showers readers with mystery and romance. The tale follows one young girl’s attempt to undo the wrongs that have been done, the many murders of innocent women by Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan. However, as Shahrazad soon discovers, there is something more to these killings than meets the eye.

A beautiful reimagining of a classic tale, this novel ties together mystery, romance, and brilliant narration to tell this story of a young king who takes a bride every day only to hang her at dawn. Since the opening page, there is a mystery going on, something that would break the king but has to be done nonetheless. Soon, readers discover just what actions have been going on when Shahrazad is introduced.

“The Wrath and the Dawn” Cover. Source: Putnam

Shahrazad is such an incredible character because she is strong willed, witty, and kind-hearted. Her narration is what really brings this story to life because she’s a character that is so full of life and anger. The passion that Ahdieh instilled in her is amazing and the progression of her character, the way she holds herself and changes alongside the story is amazing. It is evident that Ahdieh put extra effort in making sure the character development main protagonist leaps off the pages. The stories within the stories are familiar, the way the individual stories blend into the plot line as a whole works very well in making sure that this story is amazing. Moreover, hearing them from Shahrazad, with her personal narrative in the background, makes these mini-stories incredible and fitting the whole scheme of the outer story. They mean something, they aren’t just filler, and that is impressive storytelling, regardless of characterization and plot development.

Now the way the novel functions is by shifting between character point-of-views (POVs). Doing this in a smooth way may seem easy to any reader, but any writer knows just how difficult it is to do it clearly and so that it works with the story, submerging the reader versus taking the reader out of it. The precision in the making of this novel is incredible and it’s no surprise that this novel made the Indie Next List Top Ten Pick list. This shift allows the reader the opportunity to see the situation through various eyes, each view being distinct. Each perspective leads to the development of the plotline, of both the inside story and the outside story respectfully. This also builds the story because there is so much going on, so much that the reader does not understand and will not by the end of the novel considering the amount of cliffhangers that are introduced, each one as incredible as the one before it.

A slow start for a novel, but the intrigue and emotion surrounding these characters is amazing, and as each element of the story (narration, the romance, the secrets) pile onto one another, it quickly becomes addicting.

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