October 10, 2016

It feels so good to be back writing a book review. My reading schedule has been put on pause over the past couple of weeks as I tried to adjust to my senior year of high school, apply to colleges, keep up with blogging, and take time for myself. With all of that going on, I've had little to no time to sit down and read a book, let alone finish it in a timely manner.

Thankfully, things have finally simmered down, and I was able to read The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. If you haven't already read The Wrath and the Dawn, which is the previous book, then you might want to opt out of today's post, check out my review on that book, and pick it up for yourself. After you read and love it (you will trust me), make sure to come back to this review so we can discuss it's awesomeness together.

I think that's enough for an introduction, so let's get this review started!

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 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. - Goodreads

The Rose and the Dagger picks up a few days after Shahrzad and Khalid have been separated. Tariq and Rahim take Shahrzad back to a camp, where her sister, Irsa, is introduced as well as a couple other characters. Although every character had a place in this book, I do wish that we were given more information about some of them. The magical elements in The Rose and the Dagger were a little more consistent than they were in the previous book. The magic was briefly touched here and there, but wasn't something that felt fully developed. Despite the genre, I wouldn't necessarily call this a "fantasy" book.

The pacing was PERFECT. I didn't feel like it dragged or was rushed. Everything happened in an orderly manner, except for a few surprises here and there. Every page had my undivided attention and I could not put this book down no matter how hard I tried. I am so happy that Ahdieh decided to just let this series be a dualogy, because I can definitely see how this could drag if she made it into a 5 book series or something.

And the final thing I have to say about the plot is this: there is betrayal. There were things I didn't see coming. Many tears were shed. I had a mini heart attack at some point. A lot goes on in this series finale and a lot of information is thrown at you, but once you put the pieces together and everything starts falling in place, you'll love it.

Shahrzad. I've never admired a female character the way I admire Shazi. She's confident, strong-willed, powerful, and beautiful. I was so sure that after she was taken from Khalid, she would forget about him and the love they shared. NOPE. Khalid consumed her thoughts daily. She stayed loyal to him and didn't once question her love for him. Along with that, Shazi sees the two of them as equals. She's not a damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armor to save and protect her. Oh no. She protects HIM. She saves HIM. She makes sure she lets Khalid know that too. The way she carries herself is something that I strive to be. It's what every girl should strive to be. I love her character more than words can describe. Why can't she be my friend??

Khalid. I've been in love with Khalid since the start of The Wrath and the Dawn. The more I learn about him, the deeper I fall in love with him. I can see why other people might find his character to be distant and someone they can't connect with. I couldn't at first. But once you find out all his secrets, you build an unbreakable connection with him. In The Rose and the Dagger, Khalid showed vulnerability countless times. In the first book, you see him as a strong and guarded character, but this sequel shows his one true weakness: Shazi. I promise you this boy would climb through mountains for this girl. He would fight a war just for her. The way these two balance each other out is just so beautiful.

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.” 

Irsa. Shahrzad's younger sister. At first, I was a little skeptical about her because younger siblings, especially sisters, are always portrayed to be a pain in the ass. But I was proven wrong. Irsa truly cares for her older sister and will do the riskiest things to protect her. I loved Irsa's bubbly personality, but also the fierceness that her character develops throughout the story.

Tariq. I know I mentioned that Tariq was not my favorite character in the last review, but I actually enjoyed his presence this time around. I will say that in the beginning, he was a little annoying, but after a couple of chapters, he started to grow on me, and I was vouching for him. I never liked him and Shazi together, but I do appreciate the way he cares for her.

Jahandar. I didn't like him before, and I still don't like him. He's a sick, twisted, confused old man who basically gets off to power. His attachment to the damn magic book was just...weird.

Ahdieh's writing is captivating. Everything flows perfectly and smoothly. With that being said, the only issue I had with the writing was the heavy use of cultural terms, which don't get me wrong, I do appreciate them. I just wished that there would've been a glossary in the back, like there was in The Wrath and the Dawn. But nevertheless, I still enjoyed the book. All the scenes shared between Shazi and Khalid were magical and made my heart swoon. You all know that I love a good romance, and this is one of the best ones written.

My Final Thoughts
As I always say at the end of any series, all good things must come to an end. The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger were more than just books that I read and enjoyed. I learned something from them, which doesn't always happen when I read books. I love everything about this duology and will vouch for it everytime I get the chance. This is honestly a job well done Renee Ahdieh. I can't wait to read more of her work!


Have you read The Rose and the Dagger? What are your thoughts on it?

xo, kathlyn

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