Title: The Rose & The Dagger
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: YA Fantasy & Romance
Date Published: April 26th 2016 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Series: Book #2 in the Wrath & The Dawn duology
Synopsis: 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.
“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.”
I’m in the minority, but I enjoyed this one just a little bit more than the first one. I was a lot more emotionally attached this time around.
I will say though while I did really love this, I couldn’t give it the full five stars for a couple of reasons. The first being that the beginning is really slow. I was a little bit worried because I thought I wasn’t going to end up enjoying this but it eventually does pick up at around the 150 page mark and it’s really great from there.
Another issue I had was that there was too much damn Tariq in the beginning (and in general, but whatever). He is such an annoying and awful character and such a waste of space. I still don’t see what the point of his character is. The series honestly wouldn’t have been any different if he weren’t around.
My other issue with this book was that while I did like the ending and the epilogue, it was all wrapped up too quickly and there were a lot of plot holes and things left unresolved. I don’t think this needed to be more than two books but this one could’ve been a little bit longer because I still have questions because the ending rushed to the happily ever after and that was kind of annoying. It didn’t feel final enough and besides Khalid and Shazi, we don’t get any closure for the other characters.
All of that aside, I still think this was great and action packed. The writing is still so beautiful and lush. The world is scenic and instantly draws you in and the character development that both Shazi and Khalid went through was fantastic. I was on the fence with the both of them as individuals after the first book but here I absolutely loved them. Not only were they a great couple, they were strong characters that stood on their own. Shazi has so much spunk and attitude and I feel like she really came into her own and the way she was able to push forward and keep going after everything she went through was so admirable.
Khalid, I had started to like him at the very end of the first book, but damn he completely won me over in this book. I love the way that he respects Shazi and lets her be who she is. She wanted to help and while he didn’t agree, he didn’t try to stop her or get in her way. He respected and let her do what she pleased while standing at her side. I love that he opened up so much more and we got to see him actually be a person and not just this emotionless wall. It was refreshing and made me appreciate his character so much.
The side characters (minus Tariq, of course) were great especially Irsa and Raheim. Irsa was a bit grating in the beginning but she definitely did grow on me in the end.
Overall, this is a fantastic duology and I look forward to Renee Ahdieh’s next work.
If you’ve read this series, what are your thoughts on it? Which book was your favorite?