Friday, February 17, 2017

The Rose & the Dagger

I'll admit, I never thought of a retelling for One Thousand and One Nights. And it should have been obvious! What better retelling could there be than one where the main character tells stories to stay alive. It's a writer's dream. So when I read The Wrath and the Dawn, I loved it, though I had a few quibbles. But in the main I loved Shazi's relationship with Khalid and the revelation that it was a curse, not from someone who wanted to take over the world, but a grief-stricken father than brought Khorasan to the brink of revolt. So I was eager to pick up the sequel, The Rose & the Dagger. And I devoured it just as quickly as the first one.

Retrieved from Goodreads
With Khorasan in flames, Shazi is forced to leave Khalid behind. She ends up in the desert camp of those who wish to take down Khalid's regime, led by her childhood love. Together with her sister, Shazi does the only thing she can do: act. She has a burgeoning magic she does not understand, but it might be the only way she can save Khalid from the curse. Meanwhile, Khalid is slowly going mad. He misses his wife and he might lose his throne. These star-crossed lovers will stop at nothing to save the kingdom, and each other.

Oh my. I can't believe I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed Ahdieh's writing style. It just flows from one sentence to the next to the point where it's 2am and I forgot to eat dinner but don't even care because I need to read just one more chapter. Now, I will say that the story is not perfect. I could have done with more content about the bordering kingdom trying to destabilize Khalid. But at the same time...I don't think this was supposed to be that kind of book. In the end it was the relationships between Shahrzad and her sister, Khalid, and Despina. And can we take a moment to talk about Despina? Because I adore her. I've read all the novellas that go along with this series, and I think Despina's was my favorite. She is such a good actress. Where Shazi is all fire and passion and fierce intelligence, Despina is the snake in the grass that you invite into your home because it promises not to bite you. And then somehow it's still surprising when it does. She was magnificent and was probably the one character that could put Shazi in her place. There's also some stuff in here about magic, but the true magic was the interactions between the characters. I will absolutely be picking up Ahdieh's next series.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (more like 4.5)
Up Next: Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

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