Title: The Rose and the Dagger
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin Teen)
Published: April 26th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)The summary of The Rose and the Dagger from Goodreads:
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”
I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
It took me a few days to really wrap my mind around how much I loved this book and the series.
I recently learned that when I get annoyed and angry, I start using fancy words. When I’m trying to motivate people, or illustrate a point, I use fancy words. When I speak to a four-year old, I know what words to use. I cold not think of any words after finishing this book. I was reduced to just making sounds as I read the last pages. I was a ball of feelings and emotions that couldn’t communicate for a while.
What I Liked:
Whereas the first book grew the romance, this book developed the world. Shazi is back with her family, although not entirely of her own choice, and while she is happy to see them, her soul is elsewhere. Her father is in a coma, reduced to a shell of a man after the events of the last book. Her sister is trying to bring back that sister connection, but too much has changed. Shazi is keeping secrets. Irsa wants to grow into her own strength, as she sees Shazi has done. Tariq is trying to win Shazi’s heart back, ignoring the truth he can see with his own eyes. Khalid’s trying to do right by his people while wishing for Shazi back.
Everything is a mess and yet, it’s a beautiful mess. Shazi knows her power will play a role, but she doesn’t understand that role. Irsa is wanting to be more than just the little sister. Tariq still wants revenge in the form of destroying Khalid and his empire. And wrapped up in this mess is the love of Shazi and Khalid, but their’s isn’t the only romance that we get to see grow.
What I think really stands out about this novel is the respect for powerful women. Shazi clearly understands and demands respect as a woman, but Irsa is just coming to understand that she can have that same power. She doesn’t have to hide in the shadows and let the world happen around her. She can make choices that affect the world instead.
Beyond the idea that women can change the world, there is one scene in particular that shows a great respect for women. It involves Tariq, Shazi, and Khalid. Because it could spoil a portion of the story, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but Khalid makes an incredible point about Tariq’s behavior toward Shazi when she is weak. It made me love Khalid even more.
As for the other aspects of the story, there is definitely more action and magic in this story. Khalid is fighting for his kingdom. He understands he will need resources beyond what he has in his kingdom. Shazi proves a valuable resource in his fight, only serving to cement their roles as equals. It’s a beautifully written struggle and fight.
What I Didn’t Like:
I’d Recommend To:
Obviously, if you read The Wrath and the Dawn and enjoyed it, read The Rose and the Dagger. But the entire series is so beautiful, I’d recommend it to almost anyone. It’s still not as action-heavy as other books and so you might feel a little bored if you must have action sequence after action sequence. However, it’s a wonderfully character driven novel that will take your breath away.