The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée AhdiehThe Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

The Wrath & The Dawn

byRenée Ahdieh

Hardcover | May 12, 2015

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#1 New York Times Bestseller

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

*The book is a Rough Cut Edition (pages are deliberately not the same length).*
Renée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her he...
Title:The Wrath & The DawnFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:416 pages, 8.5 × 5.81 × 1.25 inShipping dimensions:8.5 × 5.81 × 1.25 inPublished:May 12, 2015Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399171614

ISBN - 13:9780399171611


Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED LOVED LOVED I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! Everyone MUST check this out!!! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommend!! Fractured fairytales are one of my favourite genres. I'm not sure if you consider The Arabian Nights a fairytale but I loved what Ahdieh did with the spark of the original to spin it into her own tale. This book falls into the category of not being able to put down. I loved it. The characters in this novel, completely won me over. Even Khalid, who seems evil by his actions, won my heart almost immediately. Combine these fantastic characters with an intriguing mystery and I couldn't stop turning the pages. Fast-paced and exciting, this is a must-read young adult novel that truly bring something unique and new to the table (even while it is entrenched in a ancient tale). Highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-01-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great One of my favorite books to read over and over again.
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good The story and characters were pretty interesting but i'm not sure if i care to read the next book
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Romantic, and Swoon-worthy I absolutely love the romance that blossomed between Shazi and Khalid. I love his brooding nature he is such a complex character. I admire that even though the rumors are true, he really cares about Shazi and tries his hardest to show her that side of him. I really hope they find their way back to eachother. The note that he leaves for Shazi, is probably one of the most romantic things I have ever read in any novel. "Shazi I prefer the color blue to any other. The scent of lilacs in your hair is a source of constant torment. I despise figs. Lastly, I will never forget, all the days of my life, the memories of last night— For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you. I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it." Yup, I'm a puddle. Love Khalid eek !
Date published: 2017-06-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from YA cliche I've never hated a book this much before. The insta-love made me cringe. One second the protagonist talks about killing the king and a second later she is swooning over him. Reading the reviews I feel like I read a whole different story than everyone else.
Date published: 2017-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An awesome retelling Such a magical read! Can't wait to dive into the second book
Date published: 2017-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating This book was really interesting. She is determined to kill the boy king in revenge for her murdered best friend but she falls in love with him.
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great re-telling and a great romantic story Loved every page. The pacing was good and I loved the re-telling aspect of it.
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "If you are just one girl, I am just a boy." A beautiful story that sweeps you up into a completely new world. Shahrzad and Khalid are a couple you want to root for because their love story is a slow burn throughout the novel, and as you delve into the depths of their characters, you start to really feel as if these two were made for one another. The ending wraps things up in the first book nearly enough but it's still a cliffhanger that makes you want the sequel desperately!
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I thought this was an interesting story and I quite enjoyed it.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story I am not at all familiar with 1001 nights, so this story was entirely fresh for me. It was a bit slow to start, but not at all uneasy to read. I loved Shazi right from the start, though Khalid took some time to grow on me. I love the banter going on between Shazi and her handmaiden Despina. I was pretty confused by the insta-love and really could not see why Shazi was falling in love with Khalid, but by the end of the story I found myself saying "aww" to myself a lot. Which I really never do. Towards the end, I found some of the most beautiful words of love I've read in a while, so much that I had to stop and write them down in my reading journal. Now that I've finished the story, I'm totally sold on this romance and am pretty upset by what seems to be about to happen! I did find the chapters focusing on magic to be kind of strange and, well, just really weird. Hopefully that will be explained a little more in book 2. Overall, it wasn't perfect but I definitely enjoyed this story. It's a keeper in my library for sure.
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 4.4 Stars! An amazing debut novel by author Renee Ahdieh. Filled with mesmerizing characters and a unique look at a different culture. An unpredictable and stunning plot with suspense and secrets at every turn is what made me enjoy this book. With intricate details from the beautiful clothing to the delicious food, this book will make readers feel like they are truly there and eager to read the sequel!
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing It's magical. Two people coming together in the oddest way possible. read it one sitting
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding retelling! I was totally captivated by this book. I really enjoyed the narration and the whole storyline. I could not turn the pages fast enough. The presence of Persian culture was very interesting, especially since the author inserted foreign words. It was also accurate and expected since it is a reimaginated tale of The Arabian Nights. The descriptions are lush and detailed just enough. I was utterly transported into a different culture and location. The principal characters are simply enticing. Shahrzad is such a fierce and fearless character with a witty repartee. She is also torn between her reason and her desires. Khalid is this mysterious and tormented boy with a terrible secret we long to discover. They are such a great match. Moreover, the cover is so beautiful! I sincerely look forward reading the sequel and adding it to my shelf.
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Arabian Nights Retelling After hearing so much great things about this book, I find that I am kind of disappointing after actually reading it since I was hoping for so much more. As much as that goes, I still really enjoyed this book. The story line is great, and the relationship is wonderful too.
Date published: 2016-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 Stars I was very surprised by how much I loved this book. I was hooked from page one and couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy and/or wants to read more diverse literature. This is one of my favourite series.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this book at first sight I absolutely LOVE this book! It has become one of my new favourite books! The Wrath and Dawn deserves to be talked about way more than it already is. It was such a unique read for me. It helped me get out of my reading slump! I so badly want what Shahrzad and Khalid have. Khalid is added to my fictional boyfriends list. I am looking forward to read The Rose and the Dagger.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Compelling Piece of Art This beautiful story was extremely enjoyable and I was unable to put it down. The main character is a fierce strong female lead and very self sacrificing. Although Sharazad can get annoying at times, she is easy to love. The romance in this book was quite predictable but enjoyable all the same. I would recommend this book to people who love a well planned story. Real rating is 3 1/2, but I rounded it up because I really liked it.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A very captivating story This is a beautifully written story, with characters that you'll really feel for. It starts off somewhat slow, but as you get further into it, you'll have trouble putting it down. Something I would definitely reread and recommend.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal! This book was so good! It was one of those books that I could not put down. I loved all of the characters and the world that the story took place in. Renee's writing is amazing!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprisingly good !! :) When I started this first, I was reticent. I was scared it was going to be full of stereotypes. But, oh how I was wrong !! It made me feel so many emotions ! I found myself vouching in favour of Khalid and very angry with him at the same time. The setting is set in Khorasan, which is historically a region from Persia. The way Khalid and Sharzad interact is really sweet and take into account his upbringing as a King. The story doesn't focus on the stories told by shared like Arabian Knights does for Sharhazad, but rather on her relationship with Khalid. I lent my book to a friend and she got as hooked as a got with the story.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love it; absolutely amazing I read it in one night because I couldn't put it down! The world building is so effortless and the writing is so beautiful and detailed it plays like a movie in your head. The story moves at a great pace and the characters are well-written. There were times I felt that somethings were going to take a cliche turn but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't. The story, while based in 1001 Arabian nights, felt fresh and new and magical while still being based in and written with enough realism to avoid being kitschy and delving too deep into the mythologies and history. I haven't read a novel in a while, I just couldn't really get back into reading but I'm so glad I decided to pick this up. Reading this was effortless and it's easy to get lost in the writing and the story. My only complaint is that I read it so quickly so it was over all too soon.
Date published: 2016-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Magical Read that Transports you to Another World (4.5 /5 stars) This was my first book of 2016 and I am happy to report that it was an amazing one! The Wrath and the Dawn is the debut book from first time author Renée Ahdieh. It is a fairytale inspired book based on the tale 1001 nights. Truth be told, I haven't read the original fairytale so I'm sure I missed some minor details but you do not have to read the original fairytale before reading this book. First I want to talk about the cover of this book. The dust jacket cover, the spine of the hardcover, the picture on the front endpapers and the map in my opinion all make it worth buying for those reasons alone. I personally love maps and whenever there is a map inside the book it makes me just a little bit more excited to read the book and I am constantly flipping back to the map when places are mentioned. You can see the map pictured below. What I found particularly interesting was the fact that the world we come to know in the book is only half of the map. Are we going to discover new places on the map in the future? I can't wait to see! The picture on the right below is the picture on the front endpapers. If you look closely this picture is the same picture on the cover of Shazi, but it is what you see behind the screen. And the gold embossing on the spine, especially the cut outs of the screen from the book cover! These extra touches show the thought and care that was put into the presentation of this book. Also, not just by the author because the author actually doesn't get too much of a say when it comes to how their book looks in most cases. I'm especially impressed with this book though. ****** MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD ****** Shazi was a particularly favourite character of mine. She is a courageous character with fire in her soul, yet she is not afraid to be a character of contradictions. For example she is fierce yet tenderhearted, an imaginative romantic yet a stark pragmatist. Many times in the book she is said to be a great beauty but she only uses her beauty as a weapon and would much rather use her brain than her beauty. I loved seeing her become more than a vessel for revenge and see her change "sides" so to speak as she learned that not all was what it seems. Shazi is a strong and proud female character who didn't deny the truth of what was happening or happened except for in the case of Khalid's role in her best friends death. The relationship between her and Khalid took on a two steps forward, one step back characteristic that kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. I also appreciated that while they may have admitted to themselves that there was an attraction, they wouldn't admit it to each other. In many young adult love triangles the love, it is denied, denied and denied again and this was a refreshing change. Khalid who is the "monster" Caliph, the King of Kings in the story. I understand that this is a fairytale inspired book, but the constant references to the beauty and the beast which kept getting thrown in our faces was a bit much for me. Although it was wondrous to see the beast become the hero in the story. I was very interested in the fact that the reader only learned why he was the way he was as slowly as Shazi did. We learned as she did and we got to feel the way she felt. I really became attached to the two main characters and wanted them to succeed as we got to see who they are as people. Watching Khalid be drawn out of his shell by Shazi and Jalal also happened to be immensely entertaining. Tariq is the second lead and the childhood love of Shazi. Tariq as a character annoyed me from the start really. It felt to me that Tariq saw Shazi as more of a belonging than Khalid ever did. I thought Omar really hit the nail on the head when he said that Tariq was mistaking love as wanting ownership over her and wanting to be the only one in her eyes. I do think that he does love her, but it is not the driving force behind him. I was intrigued in Tariq's descent into darkness and how he went from hero to monster all in the name of love while Khalid went from monster to hero. Jalal is an interesting character and I can't quite discern his motives. For example, when he went to get the pregnant Despina but then found Shazi and company in the stables? How could he have done both so fast? Does he want to help or to hinder? I was happy to see that all this started over getting revenge for her best friend and in the path of her revenge Shazi found a new best friend in Despina. She has a womanly refuge in the face of all the men she has to deal with. I thought that the stories that Shazi told Khalid every night were going to be more centre stage and I was disappointed that they weren't. Although I did like how Shazi used her stories to lure him in, and she also uses them as teaching tools to teach Khalid a lesson when she wants to. Also, the role magic seemed to play in the book was introduced and made me think it was going to be more important but it seemed more like an afterthought that was just put in. For me, finally finding out the details of the curse were a bit of a letdown. I had pretty much figured out the main strokes of the curse before it was revealed, i was just missing some of the finer details. But the letdown upon finding out about it matched the way Shazi felt upon finding out so in that way it isn't really a letdown because it lets you connect on another level with Shazi. Overall this book causes a roller-coaster of emotions for the reader on behalf of the characters located in an exotic, lush rich landscape of a world. Did Shazi and Khalid cause the downfall because Khalid didn't have her killed? It seemed to me that Shazi's family would have stayed the same course even if she had died. Instead of a rescue it would be revenge though. So it seems like Khalid isn't really cursed or the curse didn't take effect because it was Shazi that caused the downfall. Or is it the curse because her death would have taken the wind out of the sails so to say of her family trying to rescue her. It is delightfully confusing and I think it is meant to be. I will definitely be reading The Rose and the Dagger, the second book which comes out May 3, 2016. Where will we go from here? A missing Calipha after the destruction of the castle and the city? Will she be blamed for it and Khalid redeemed after helping his subjects rebuild the city? There is much to learn and I'm looking forward to May 3!
Date published: 2016-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great characters, magical When Shahrzad’s dearest friend becomes a victim to the the murderous ways of the boy-king Khalid, she vows revenge. Each night he marries, only for the new bride to end up with a silk noose around her neck. Shahrzad promises that she will last more than one night and get revenge for all the girls who have perished because of him. She enchants Khalid with a story, night after night, and she keeps surviving. The longer she lives, the more she realizes Khalid is nothing like she assumed, but falling for him seems like a huge betrayal of her promise to her friend. This was a book I was really excited to read but also really nervous because I have s a lot of hype about it, which can be dangerous in a book. Before even opening the book to the first page, I already had so many questions. The main question was: could I actually get lost in the romance that seemed like it would play a huge part in the book? I liked Shahrzad. She was very cunning and brave and she could be very sassy, which I loved, but she was also naive. She excelled in storytelling and in challenging Khalid, both qualities that were important in keeping her alive. She wasn’t one to just not do something she wanted even if it was frowned upon for the queen to do so. She was a very determined young woman and I loved her fire and her passion. I also liked that, while Shahrzad was the main POV, there were a bunch of other characters’ POVs through the book so the reader could see what was going on with characters not attached to the palace. It worked well in setting up for future battles and showed some very interesting characters. The romance, I wasn’t completely sold on, but I liked that I wasn’t completely sold on it. Whatever reasoning Khalid had, he was still a murderer and Shahrzad’s intentions had been to avenge her friend’s death, to stop the murders. It was impossible to forget that and, even when they were falling in love, they were both still guarded with secrets. I did get sold on the friendships. They were great. From the newness of Shahrzad and her handmaiden Despina, to older friendships like Khalid and his cousin Jalal, or Tariq and Rahim who knew Shahrzad before she became queen. I would probably read a book where those six did nothing but bicker and banter with each other because it was that entertaining. The plot was a bit slow in this first book. There was a lot to set up and reveal so it wasn’t a quick read. It was one of those books where it felt like every small detail could be important later on so I wanted to take time and not miss anything. The action really started picking up in the last quarter where it got very hard to read slowly because I just wanted to know what was going to happen. A great debut that has me very excited for the next book.
Date published: 2015-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After The Wrath and the Dawn is a mesmerizing retelling of Arabian Nights.Renee Ahdieh's storytelling instantly captivated me with her beautiful writing and rich plot. Reasons to Read: 1. Life-like characters: We know that humans are flawed, and the characters in The Wrath and the Dawn are no exception to this. But there is a fine line to writing flawed characters, because the reader still needs to be able to tolerate their flaws so as not to be terribly frustrated with the characters. All of the characters in this book have such distinct, strong personalities that this feels like a real story set in a real world, and really helps to develop the plot. 2. Steady, gradual development: The book has a slower pace than other action-packed stories, but this works well because it allows the reader to see the extensive development which takes place. Khalid and Shahrzad have a complicated relationship (to say the least...) and it takes time for their feelings towards each other to change. And that, in turn, also propels the story in a new direction. I think this is also partially because Shahrzad has to practice patience with her plan, but as time goes on, she starts to uncover more secrets and the truth behind them. 3. Captivating writing: Enough cannot be said for Renee Ahdieh's style of writing. I fell in love with it right away. She gives Shahrzad a strong voice and personality, and I loved reading about clever, brave, and risk-taking Shazi. She is deeply loyal, and yet so much of her personality was expressed with Renee's subtle writing. Renee somehow manages to describe both immensely painful scenes and very sexy ones. And most incredibly, the writing creates this mysterious and mystical ambiance which perfectly sets the mood for The Wrath and the Dawn. Khalid is particularly interesting to me, because it's rare to see a YA character with so much power. It isn't often that it is shown quite as explicitly nor that as much thought is given to the inner turmoil of such a powerful character. And it's interesting to see how the story seems to clash with itself; I spent most of the book changing my mind about who is the true heroine (or hero) and who is the true villain. There is so much to this story, that I can't even begin to touch on every aspect in one review. It truly is the type of book which you need to experience for yourself in its entirety. ARC received from Penguin Canada for review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2015-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life All the stars. Take all the stars! This is gorgeous. Beautiful. Wonderful. Brilliant. The Wrath and the Dawn is everything. It's one of those books where I love it so much but don't have the words to convey that love properly. Everyone needs to read it and discover how uniquely beautiful everything in this book is. Writing, story, characters are on point. And the romance, HOLY! Can I use breathtaking? I'm going to use breathtaking. I really can't form the proper words here. Just the development of Shazi and Khalid's relationship gave me every feel. Bad decisions were made but those bad decisions made Brittany very very happy. Because they lead to one of the best romances I've read. "What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?" he whispered. "If I'm a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed." The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest. "No." His hands dropped to her waist. "Destroy me." pg.166/167
Date published: 2015-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Utterly Captivating YA Debut Breathlessly romantic and utterly captivating, Renée Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn is an unforgettable YA debut. When I first learned The Wrath and the Dawn was inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, I instantly added the book to my must-read list. I absolutely loved immersing myself in an unfamiliar world with its own diverse culture, customs, and history. Renée Ahdieh's lush, sumptuous descriptions of Khorasan completely bring the story to life off the pages. Nobody understands why eighteen-year-old Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, murders his young wives, only that none ever survive past dawn of their wedding night. When brave and impulsive Shahrzad volunteers to become Khalid's new bride, she's fully aware it's a death sentence, but she is determined to avenge her best friend's death, no matter the consequences it will bring to her or her family. Alone and surrounded by strangers in Khalid's extravagant and intimidating palace, Shahrzad devises a clever plan to stay alive. Each night, she weaves tales of danger and adventure, hoping it's enough to mesmerize the caliph and survive another day to plot his death. But the longer Shahrzad remains in the palace, the more she finds herself increasingly torn between her growing feelings for Khalid and loyalty to her friend's memory. I wasn't all too sure how Renée Ahdieh could make me completely fall for Khalid, considering the role he's played in his wives' deaths, but she truly did find a way. The most powerful man in Khorasan, the burden of responsibility is a heavy one for Khalid. He's not the distant and imposing figure he tries to be, but a man of flesh and blood with a passionate heart. When you finally discover the truth of his actions, the motivations that drove him to commit seemingly unforgivable acts, your heart will break for him. Trust me. And the ending! THAT CRAZY ENDING! How could you do that to us, Renée Ahdieh!? After I turned the final page, I was left with a deep sense of awe and a burning desire to learn what fate had in store next for Shazi and Khalid. The Rose and the Dagger will most definitely be on my list of anticipated reads for 2016. In the meantime, I will simply have to reread The Wrath and the Dawn and lose myself in the feels all over again.
Date published: 2015-07-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Loveee Shahrzad is a force to be reckoned with. Being a noblewoman she grew up with having no worries and wants and it shows when she ends up as queen (calipa). I pretty much laughed out loud at the witty banter her character would spring on people. Shahrzad had snarky wittled down to a science. I loved her struggle with being faithful to her plan and gaining revenge for her own best friend. What I wanted to see was more of a back story with her and Shiva. I wanted to see their friendship and see how strong their bond was. The other characters seemed unmemorable to be honest, except Despina. Now she was one that I knew I would like immediately. Even though I didn't trust her, she seemed like a wholly capable strong woman as Shahrzad. There's a glossary in the back for everyone to check out and it helped so much. I was constantly flipping to the back to find out what item was what or which term was used in which context. The dialogue and the world setting was on point. I even googled some objects and wanted to learn how to pronounce their names correctly. I hope I did get the names correctly in my head when I was reading :P. I loved the details about every little thing. What the scene looked like, where they were, what objects they were glossing over etc. It really felt like I was dropped in the Arabian setting and thrust upon these characters and their story. I loved reading the stories that were being told even though I don't know anything about the original stories, I did catch Aladdin and Blue Beard in there. There wasn't too much of a story. Unless you count the romance which I did but I didn't want it to be just a romance. I wanted more magic and plot and character development. I wanted Shahrzad to dig up Khalid's past. There was none of that. I also wanted to find out why they loved each other? They truly challenged each other but was that it? The one thing that bonded them together? After a while, I couldn't get over their romantic laments, but that's just me. A beautiful setting, with diverse poignant characters, "The Wrath and The Dawn" will have you wanting more. I know I did because I can't wait for the next installment. A wonderful debut in my book!
Date published: 2015-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Addicting! This book consumed me from the beginning to end. The writing pulls you in immediately into this intricate world that you just don't want to put the book down! The Wrath and the Dawn was one of my most anticipated books of this year because it is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic stories) with a beauty and the beast twist. I need the sequel right now!! The story is told from Shazi, who lives in the land that is ruled by the boy king, and marries a girl every night only to be killed when dawn arrives. Shazi is then thrown into the royal world and starts to fall in love with the boy king that could also derail her plans to revenge him. The Wrath and the Dawn is diverse and exotic because it has a Arabic feel to it. Many readers will be able to picture what Renee Ahdieh has written because the descriptions were perfected with every outfit, meal and the hallways around the palace. It was a great feeling to experience while reading it. There aren't enough diverse books out there and this one is unique and refreshing. Shazi is a fantastic main character who is smart and fierce. She knows how to play this game and get what she wants. The romance between Khalid and Shazi was adorable as it started as a hate to love romance but by the end you will be fangirling and wanting to jump up and down for these two characters. While there is a small love-triangle with Tariq (Shazi's boyfriend before she married Khalid). It was very interesting to see the dynamics of all the characters + secondary characters with each having a role in what will happen next. This entire world was brilliant and well-detailed and I am already craving for more! Overall, this book will be one of your favorites! I loved every page of this book, and it I just devoured the entire book in a day. If you are looking for a great fantasy with an awesome storyline, characters and a lot of twists this is the book for you! Pick up this amazing book that will make you crave for more!!
Date published: 2015-05-11

Read from the Book

I once had a thousand desires,But in my one desire to know you,all else melted away.Jalal al-Din RumiIT WOULD NOT BE A WELCOME DAWN.Already the sky told this story, with its sad halo of silver beckoning from beyond the horizon.A young man stood alongside his father on the rooftop terrace of the marble palace. They watched the pale light of the early morning sun push back the darkness with slow, careful deliberation.“Where is he?” the young man asked.His father did not look his way. “He has not left his chamber since he gave the order.”The young man ran a hand through his wavy hair, exhaling all the while. “There will be riots in the city streets for this.”“And you will put them to rout, in short order.” It was a terse response, still made to a somber stretch of light.“In short order? Do you not think a mother and father, regardless of birth or rank, will fight to avenge their child?”Finally, the father faced his son. His eyes were drawn and sunken, as though a weight tugged at them from within. “They will fight. They should fight. And you will ensure it amounts to nothing. You will do your duty to your king. Do you understand?”The young man paused. “I understand.”“General al-Khoury?”His father turned toward the soldier standing behind them. “Yes?”“It is done.”His father nodded, and the soldier left.Again, the two men stared up at the sky.Waiting.A drop of rain struck the arid surface beneath their feet, disappearing into the tan stone. Another plinked against the iron railing before it slid its way into nothingness.Soon, rain was falling around them at a steady pace.“There is your proof,” the general said, his voice laden with quiet anguish.The young man did not respond right away.“He cannot withstand this, Father.”“He can. He is strong.”“You have never understood Khalid. It is not about strength. It is about substance. What follows will destroy all that remains of his, leaving behind a husk—a shadow of what he once was.”The general winced. “Do you think I wanted this for him? I would drown in my own blood to prevent this. But we have no choice.”The young man shook his head and wiped the rain from beneath his chin.“I refuse to believe that.”“Jalal—”“There must be another way.” With that, the young man turned from the railing and vanished down the staircase.Throughout the city, long-dry wells began to fill. Cracked, sunbaked cisterns shimmered with pools of hope, and the people of Rey awoke to a new joy. They raced into the streets, angling their smiling faces to the sky.Not knowing the price.And, deep within the palace of marble and stone, a boy of eighteen sat alone before a table of polished ebony . . .Listening to the rain.The only light in the room reflected back in his amber eyes.A light beset by the dark.He braced his elbows on his knees and made a crown of his hands about his brow. Then he shuttered his gaze, and the words echoed around him, filling his ears with the promise of a life rooted in the past.Of a life atoning for his sins.One hundred lives for the one you took. One life to one dawn. Should you fail but a single morn, I shall take from you your dreams. I shall take from you your city.And I shall take from you these lives, a thousandfold.THEY WERE NOT GENTLE. AND WHY SHOULD THEY BE?After all, they did not expect her to live past the next morning.The hands that tugged ivory combs through Shahrzad’s waist-length hair and scrubbed sandalwood paste on her bronze arms did so with a brutal kind of detachment.Shahrzad watched one young servant girl dust her bare shoulders with flakes of gold that caught the light from the setting sun.A breeze gusted along the gossamer curtains lining the walls of the chamber. The sweet scent of citrus blossoms wafted through the carved wooden screens leading to the terrace, whispering of a freedom now beyond reach.This was my choice. Remember Shiva.“I don’t wear necklaces,” Shahrzad said when another girl began to fasten a jewel-encrusted behemoth around her throat.“It is a gift from the caliph. You must wear it, my lady.”Shahrzad stared down at the slight girl in amused disbelief. “And if I don’t? Will he kill me?”“Please, my lady, I—”Shahrzad sighed. “I suppose now is not the time to make this point.”“Yes, my lady.”“My name is Shahrzad.”“I know, my lady.” The girl glanced away in discomfort before turning to assist with Shahrzad’s gilded mantle. As the two young women eased the weighty garment onto her glittering shoulders, Shahrzad studied the finished product in the mirror before her.Her midnight tresses gleamed like polished obsidian, and her hazel eyes were edged in alternating strokes of black kohl and liquid gold. At the center of her brow hung a teardrop ruby the size of her thumb; its mate dangled from a thin chain around her bare waist, grazing the silk sash of her trowsers. The mantle itself was pale damask and threaded with silver and gold in an intricate pattern that grew ever chaotic as it flared by her feet.I look like a gilded peacock.“Do they all look this ridiculous?” Shahrzad asked.Again, the two young women averted their gazes with unease.I’m sure Shiva didn’t look this ridiculous . . .Shahrzad’s expression hardened.Shiva would have looked beautiful. Beautiful and strong.Her fingernails dug into her palms; tiny crescents of steely resolve.At the sound of a quiet knock at the door, three heads turned—their collective breaths bated.In spite of her newfound mettle, Shahrzad’s heart began to pound.“May I come in?” The soft voice of her father broke through the silence, pleading and laced in tacit apology.Shahrzad exhaled slowly . . . carefully.“Baba, what are you doing here?” Her words were patient, yet wary.Jahandar al-Khayzuran shuffled into the chamber. His beard and temples were streaked with grey, and the myriad colors in his hazel eyes shimmered and shifted like the sea in the midst of a storm.In his hand was a single budding rose, its center leached of color, and the tips of its petals tinged a beautiful, blushing mauve.“Where is Irsa?” Shahrzad asked, alarm seeping into her tone.Her father smiled sadly. “She is at home. I did not allow her to come with me, though she fought and raged until the last possible moment.”At least in this he has not ignored my wishes.“You should be with her. She needs you tonight. Please do this for me, Baba? Do as we discussed?” She reached out and took his free hand, squeezing tightly, beseeching him in her grip to follow the plans she had laid out in the days before.“I—I can’t, my child.” Jahandar lowered his head, a sob rising in his chest, his thin shoulders trembling with grief. “Shahrzad—”“Be strong. For Irsa. I promise you, everything will be fine.” Shahrzad raised her palm to his weathered face and brushed away the smattering of tears from his cheek.“I cannot. The thought that this may be your last sunset—”“It will not be the last. I will see tomorrow’s sunset. This I swear to you.”Jahandar nodded, his misery nowhere close to mollified. He held out the rose in his hand. “The last from my garden; it has not yet bloomed fully, but I wanted to give you one remembrance of home.”She smiled as she reached for it, the love between them far past mere gratitude, but he stopped her. When she realized the reason, she began to protest.“No. At least in this, I might do something for you,” he muttered, almost to himself. He stared at the rose, his brow furrowed and his mouth drawn. One servant girl coughed in her fist while the other looked to the floor.Shahrzad waited patiently. Knowingly.The rose started to unfurl. Its petals twisted open, prodded to life by an invisible hand. As it expanded, a delicious perfume filled the space between them, sweet and perfect for an instant . . . but soon, it became overpowering. Cloying. The edges of the flower changed from a brilliant, deep pink to a shadowy rust in the blink of an eye.And then the flower began to wither and die.Dismayed, Jahandar watched its dried petals wilt to the white marble at their feet.“I—I’m sorry, Shahrzad,” he cried.“It doesn’t matter. I will never forget how beautiful it was for that moment, Baba.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him close. By his ear, in a voice so low only he could hear, she said, “Go to Tariq, as you promised. Take Irsa and go.”He nodded, his eyes shimmering once more. “I love you, my child.”“And I love you. I will keep my promises. All of them.”Overcome, Jahandar blinked down at his elder daughter in silence.This time, the knock at the door demanded attention rather than requested it.Shahrzad’s forehead whipped back in its direction, the bloodred ruby swinging in tandem. She squared her shoulders and lifted her pointed chin.Jahandar stood to the side, covering his face with his hands, as his daughter marched forward.“I’m sorry—so very sorry,” she whispered to him before striding across the threshold to follow the contingent of guards leading the processional. Jahandar slid to his knees and sobbed as Shahrzad turned the corner and disappeared.With her father’s grief resounding through the halls, Shahrzad’s feet refused to carry her but a few steps down the cavernous corridors of the palace. She halted, her knees shaking beneath the thin silk of her voluminous sirwal trowsers.“My lady?” one of the guards prompted in a bored tone.“He can wait,” Shahrzad gasped.The guards exchanged glances.Her own tears threatening to blaze a telltale trail down her cheeks, Shahrzad pressed a hand to her chest. Unwittingly, her fingertips brushed the edge of the thick gold necklace clasped around her throat, festooned with gems of outlandish size and untold variety. It felt heavy . . . stifling. Like a bejeweled fetter. She allowed her fingers to wrap around the offending instrument, thinking for a moment to rip it from her body.The rage was comforting. A friendly reminder.Shiva.Her dearest friend. Her closest confidante.She curled her toes within their sandals of braided bullion and threw back her shoulders once more. Without a word, she resumed her march.Again, the guards looked to one another for an instant.When they reached the massive double doors leading into the throne room, Shahrzad realized her heart was racing at twice its normal speed. The doors swung open with a distended groan, and she focused on her target, ignoring all else around her.At the very end of the immense space stood Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, the Caliph of Khorasan.The King of Kings.The monster from my nightmares.With every step she took, Shahrzad felt the hate rise in her blood, along with the clarity of purpose. She stared at him, her eyes never wavering. His proud carriage stood out amongst the men in his retinue, and details began to emerge the closer she drew to his side.He was tall and trim, with the build of a young man proficient in warfare. His dark hair was straight and styled in a manner suggesting a desire for order in all things.As she strode onto the dais, she looked up at him, refusing to balk, even in the face of her king.His thick eyebrows raised a fraction. They framed eyes so pale a shade of brown they appeared amber in certain flashes of light, like those of a tiger. His profile was an artist’s study in angles, and he remained motionless as he returned her watchful scrutiny.A face that cut; a gaze that pierced.He reached a hand out to her.Just as she extended her palm to grasp it, she remembered to bow.The wrath seethed below the surface, bringing a flush to her cheeks.When she met his eyes again, he blinked once.“Wife.” He nodded.“My king.”I will live to see tomorrow’s sunset. Make no mistake. I swear I will live to see as many sunsets as it takes.And I will kill you.With my own hands.THE FALCON DRIFTED THROUGH THE BLEARING MID-afternoon sky, its wings held aloft on a passing sigh of wind and its eyes scanning the underbrush below.At fleeting signs of movement, the raptor tucked its wings against its body and hurtled toward the dirt in a blur of blue-grey feathers and flashing talons.The mass of fur, screeching and scurrying through the underbrush, had no chance of escape. Soon, the sound of clattering hooves drew near, a swirl of sand curling in its wake.The two riders paused a respectful distance from the falcon and her kill.With the sun at his back, the first rider, sitting astride a gleaming, dark bay al-Khamsa stallion, extended his left arm and whistled, low and soft.The falcon twisted his way, her yellow-rimmed eyes narrowing. Then she took to the air once more and landed with her talons firmly embedded in the leather mankalah cuff bound from the rider’s wrist to his elbow.“Curse you, Zoraya. I lost another bet,” the second rider groaned to the bird.The falconer grinned at Rahim, his friend since childhood. “Stop complaining. It’s not her fault you’re incapable of learning a single lesson.”“You’re lucky I’m such a fool. Who else would stomach your company for so long, Tariq?”Tariq laughed under his breath. “In that case, perhaps I should stop lying to your mother about how smart you’ve become.”“Of course. Have I ever lied to yours?”“Ingrate. Get down and collect her kill.”“I’m not your servant. You do it.”“Fine. Hold this.” Tariq stretched out his forearm, with Zoraya still waiting patiently on her perch. When the falcon realized she was being passed along to Rahim, she ruffled her feathers and screeched in protest.Rahim reared back with alarm. “That godforsaken bird hates me.”“Because she’s a good judge of character.” Tariq smiled.“With a temper for the ages,” Rahim grumbled. “Honestly, she’s worse than Shazi.”“Another girl with excellent taste.”Rahim rolled his eyes. “A bit self-serving in that assessment, don’t you think? Considering the one thing they have in common is you.”“Reducing Shahrzad al-Khayzuran to such a notion might be the reason you’re always on the receiving end of her temper. I assure you, Zoraya and Shazi have a great deal more in common than me. Now, stop wasting time and get down from that blasted roan so we can go home.”Under continued grumblings, Rahim dismounted from his grey Akhal-Teke—her mane shining like polished pewter in the desert sun.Tariq’s eyes skimmed the stretch of sand and dry brushwood along the horizon. Blistering waves of heat rose from a sea of umber and adobe, rippling into patches of blue and white across the sky.With Zoraya’s catch now stowed in the leather pouch affixed to his saddle, Rahim swung back onto his horse, employing the grace of a young nobleman trained in the art since boyhood.“As to the earlier bet regarding the bird . . .” Rahim trailed off.Tariq groaned when he saw the determined look on Rahim’s face. “No.”“Because you know you’ll lose.”“You’re a better rider than I am.”“You have a better horse. Your father is an emir. Plus, I already lost one bet today. Give me a chance to even the field,” Rahim insisted.“How long are we going to play these games?”“Until I beat you. At every one of them.”“Then we’ll be playing forever,” Tariq joked.“Bastard.” Rahim suppressed a grin as he gripped his reins. “For that, I won’t even try to play fair.” He dug his heels into the mare before taking off in the opposite direction.“Fool.” Tariq laughed as he released Zoraya into the clouds and leaned over the neck of his stallion. At the click of his tongue, the horse shook out its mane and snorted. Tariq pulled on the reins, and the Arabian reared onto its massive hooves before launching across the sand, its powerful legs kicking up a vortex of dust and debris.Tariq’s white rida’ billowed behind him, the hood threatening to blow back in spite of the leather band holding it in place.As they rounded the final dune, a walled fortress of tan stone and grey mortar rose from the sands, its vaulted turrets capped in spirals of copper tinged by the turquoise patina of age.“The emir’s son approaches!” a sentry cried out as Rahim and Tariq neared the back gates, which swung open with barely a moment to spare. Servants and laborers scrambled out of their path as Rahim barreled past the still-screeching iron with Tariq on his heels. A basket of persimmons crashed to the ground, its contents rolling across the expanse before a grousing old man bent forward, struggling to collect the wayward orange fruit.Oblivious to the chaos they had wrought, the two young noblemen reined in their horses near the center of the sprawling courtyard.“How does it feel—being bested by a fool?” Rahim taunted, his dark blue eyes bright.One side of Tariq’s mouth rose with amusement before he swung down from the saddle and knocked back the hood of his rida’. He ran a hand through his unruly tangle of wavy hair. Grains of sand fell into his face, and he blinked hard to fend off their attack.The sound of Rahim’s choked laughter rang out from behind him.Tariq opened his eyes.The servant girl standing before Tariq looked away in haste, her cheeks blooming with color. The tray she held with two silver tumblers of water began to shake.“Thank you.” Tariq smiled as he reached for one.Her blush deepened, and the rattling grew worse.Rahim lumbered closer. He took his own tumbler and nodded to the girl before she twisted around and ran as fast as her legs could carry her.Tariq shoved him. Hard. “You oaf.”“I believe that poor girl is half in love with you. After another wretched display of horsemanship, you should be extra grateful to the hand of fate that dealt you those looks.”Tariq ignored him and swiveled to take in the sights of the courtyard. To his right, he noticed the elderly servant stooping above a gaggle of persimmons scattered across the granite at his feet. Tariq glided forward and bent on one knee to help the old man place the fruit in a basket.“Thank you, sahib.” The man bowed his head and touched the fingertips of his right hand to his forehead in a gesture of respect.Tariq’s eyes softened, their colors flickering in the shade. Their bright silver centers blended into rings of darkest ash, with black lashes that fanned against the soft skin of his eyelids. His brow had an air of severity that faded with the ready appearance of his smile. A day-old beard shadowed the square line of his jaw, further accentuating its finely wrought symmetry.Tariq nodded at the elderly man and returned the customary gesture.Above them, Zoraya’s cry resounded from the sky, demanding immediate attention. Tariq shook his head in mock irritation and whistled for her. She swooped down with a wild shriek that cleared another portion of the courtyard. Again, she landed on Tariq’s outstretched mankalah and preened as he carried her to her mews to feed her.“Do you not find the bird a bit . . . spoiled?” Rahim studied the falcon as she guzzled an entire strip of dried meat without pausing for breath.“She’s the best hunter in the kingdom.”“Nevertheless, I’m convinced that accursed bird could get away with murder. Is that your intent?”Before Tariq could retort, one of his father’s closest advisors appeared in the nearby archway to the vestibule.“Sahib? The emir requests your presence.”Tariq’s eyebrows drew together. “Is something wrong?”“A messenger arrived from Rey not long ago.”“Is that all?” Rahim harrumphed. “A letter from Shazi? Hardly worthy of a formal audience.”Tariq continued studying the advisor, taking in the deep lines marring his forehead and the tight weave of his interlaced fingers. “What happened?”The advisor hedged. “Please, sahib. Come with me.”Rahim followed Tariq and the advisor into the columned marble vestibule and past the open-air gallery, with its tiled fountain of mosaic glass. Sparkling water fell in a steady stream from the mouth of a lion constructed of gilt bronze.They entered the main hall to find Nasir al-Ziyad, emir of the fourth-richest stronghold in Khorasan, sitting with his wife at a low table. Their dinner lay before them, untouched.It was obvious Tariq’s mother had been crying.He stopped short at the sight. “Father?”The emir exhaled and raised his troubled eyes to meet his son.“Tariq, we received a letter from Rey this afternoon. From Shahrzad.”“Give it to me.” The request was soft. Sharp.“It was addressed to me. There is a portion of it that was meant for you, but the—”Tariq’s mother burst into tears. “How could this happen?”“What happened?” Tariq demanded, his voice rising. “Give me the letter.”“It’s too late. There’s nothing you can do,” the emir sighed.“First Shiva. Then, lost in her grief, my sister took her own—” She shuddered. “And now Shahrzad? How could this happen? Why?” Tariq’s mother wept.Tariq froze.“You know why,” the emir rasped in a low tone. “It’s because of Shiva that she did this. For Shiva. For all of us.”At that, Tariq’s mother rose from the table and fled, her sobs growing louder with every footstep.“Oh, God. Shazi. What did you do?” Rahim whispered.Tariq remained motionless, his expression blank and inscrutable.The emir stood and moved toward his son. “Son, you—”“Give me the letter,” Tariq repeated.With grim resignation, the emir relinquished the scroll.Shahrzad’s familiar scrawl swam across the page, just as imperious and heavy-handed as usual. Tariq stopped reading when she began addressing him directly. The apology. The words of regret for her betrayal. The gratitude for his understanding.No more. He couldn’t stand it. Not from her.The edge of the scroll crumpled in his fist.“There is nothing you can do,” the emir reiterated. “The wedding—it’s today. If she succeeds . . . if she—”“Don’t say it, Father. I beg you.”“It must be said. These truths, no matter how harsh, must be said. We must deal with this, as a family. Your aunt and uncle never dealt with the loss of Shiva, and look what came of their daughter’s death.”Tariq’s eyes closed.“Even if Shahrzad survives, there is nothing we can do. It is finished. We must accept this, however difficult it may seem. I know how you feel about her; I fully understand. It will take time. But you will realize you can find happiness with someone else—that there are other young women in the world. In time, you will see,” the emir said.“There’s no need.”“Excuse me?”“I already understand. Fully.”The emir eyed his son with surprise.“I understand your points. All of them. Now I need you to understand mine. I know there are other women in the world. I know it’s possible for me to find a measure of happiness with another girl. Given time, I suppose anything may happen.”The emir nodded. “Good. It’s for the best, Tariq.”Rahim stared, dumbfounded.Tariq continued, the silver in his eyes flashing. “But understand this: no matter how many perfect young women you put in my path, there is only one Shahrzad.” At that, he cast the scroll to the floor and whirled on his heel, slamming his palms into the doors to thrust them aside.Rahim exchanged a thoughtful look with the emir before following Tariq. They retraced their steps into the courtyard, and Tariq signaled for the horses. Rahim did not speak until both mounts were brought before them.“What’s the plan?” he asked gently. “Do you even have one?”Tariq paused. “You don’t have to come with me.”“And now who’s the fool? Are you the only one who loves Shazi? Who loved Shiva? I may not be blood, but they will always be my family.”Tariq turned to his friend. “Thank you, Rahim-jan.”The taller, lankier boy smiled down at Tariq. “Don’t thank me yet. We still need a plan. Tell me, what are you going to do?” Rahim hesitated. “Is there anything you can do?”Tariq’s jaw tightened. “As long as the ruler of Khorasan draws breath, there is always something I can do . . .” His left hand dropped to the hilt of the elegantly curved sword at his hip.“What I do best.”SHAHRZAD SAT ALONE IN HER CHAMBER, IN THE CENTER of a platformed cushion piled high with pillows covered in vibrant fabrics. Surrounding the bed was a thin veil of spider-silk, blowing with eerie leisure at the slightest disturbance. Her knees were drawn to her chest; her fingers were laced across her ankles.And her hazel eyes were trained on the doors.She had stayed in this position for the better part of the night. Each time she tried to venture from the spot, her nerves threatened to overcome her.Where is he?She exhaled loudly and clasped her hands even tighter above her feet.Soon, the panic she had been fighting for the last hour began to bear down on her like a hammer on an ironsmith’s anvil.What if he doesn’t come to see me tonight?“Oh, God,” she murmured, breaking through the stillness.Then I lied to everyone. I broke every last promise.Shahrzad shook her head. Her heartbeat rose in her ears as each breath became more labored.I don’t want to die.These macabre thoughts rubbed at the edges of her composure, pushing her down into the fathomless realms of terror—a terror she’d managed to keep at bay, thus far.How will Baba survive if I’m killed? And Irsa?Tariq.“Stop it!” Her words echoed into the yawning darkness. Foolish, but she needed something—anything—to fill the torturous silence with sound, if but for an instant.She pressed her hands to her temples and willed the terror back . . .Back inside the steel-encased enclosure of her heart.And then the doors swung open with a low creak.Shahrzad dropped her palms to the soft cushion at her sides.A servant stepped through, clutching tapers of aloewood and ambergris, which gave off a faint perfume and a delicate light; after a beat, a girl bearing a tray of food and wine followed. The servants placed their wares throughout the room and left without a glance in Shahrzad’s direction.A moment later, the Caliph of Khorasan appeared at the threshold.He waited, as if considering something, before entering the chamber and pushing the doors shut.In the pale glow emitting from the candles, his tiger-eyes seemed even more calculating and remote. The lines of his face fell into shadow as he turned from the light, sharpening the bladed hollows of his features.An immovable countenance. Cold and forbidding.Shahrzad threaded her fingers beneath her knees.“I’m told your father served under mine as one of his viziers.” His voice was low and unassuming. Almost . . . kind.“Yes, sayyidi. He was an advisor to your father.”“And he works as a custodian now.”“Yes, sayyidi. Of ancient texts.”He faced her. “Quite a change in position.”Shahrzad bit back irritation. “Perhaps. He wasn’t a very high-ranking vizier.”“I see.”You see nothing.She returned his gaze, hoping the mosaic of color in her eyes hid the thoughts running rampant behind them.“Why did you volunteer, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran?”She did not answer.He continued. “What compelled you to do something so foolish?”“Excuse me?”“Perhaps it was the lure of marrying a king. Or the vain hope you might be the one to stay the course and win the heart of a monster.” He spoke without emotion, watching her intently.Shahrzad’s pulse jumped to a martial beat. “I don’t suffer those delusions, sayyidi.”“Then why did you volunteer? Why are you willing to throw away your life at seventeen?”“I’m sixteen.” She cut her eyes. “And I don’t see why it matters.”“Answer me.”“No.”He paused. “You realize you could die for that.”The grip of her fingers tightened almost painfully. “I’m not surprised to hear that, sayyidi. But, if you truly want answers, killing me won’t help in the endeavor.”A spark of something flashed across his face, lingering at the edges of his lips. It was gone too quickly to offer anything of significance.“I suppose not.” He stopped, again in seeming consideration. She could see him withdrawing, a veil falling over the harsh angles of his profile.No.Shahrzad rose from the bed and took a step toward him.When he glanced back at her, she moved closer.“I told you. Do not think you will be the one to break the cycle.”Shahrzad gritted her teeth. “And I told you. I don’t suffer delusions. On any account.”She continued advancing until she stood but an arm’s length from him, her resolve unwavering.He locked upon her face. “Your life is already forfeit. I do not expect . . . more than that.”In response, Shahrzad reached up and began to unfasten the bejeweled necklace still hanging about her throat.“No.” He caught her hand. “Leave it.”He hesitated before shifting his fingers to the nape of her neck.At this disturbingly familiar touch, Shahrzad fought the urge to pull back in disgust and strike out at him with all the pain and rage she possessed.Don’t be foolish. There will only be one chance. Don’t waste it.This boy-king, this murderer . . . she would not permit him to destroy another family. To rob another girl of her best friend—of a lifetime filled with memories that had been and never would be.She raised her chin and swallowed the rising bile, the bitter taste remaining on her tongue.“Why are you here?” he whispered, his tiger-eyes ever searching.A corner of her mouth rose in sardonic reply.She brought her palm to his hand.Carefully.Then she lifted the heavy mantle from her shoulders and let it slide to the floor.• • •Irsa sat astride her dappled mare in the alley closest to the structure housing Rey’s most ancient and obscure texts. The city’s library was once a grand edifice, columned and swathed in judiciously hewn stones quarried from the finest pits in Tirazis. Over the years, its façade had darkened, and deep cracks marred its surface, the worst filled with slipshod efforts at repair. Every visible edge was worn, and the glorious lustre of yesteryear had faded to a mottling of greys and browns.When the team of horses behind her stirred in the dense silence before dawn, Irsa glanced over her shoulder apologetically. She opened her mouth to reassure the young driver, but the brittleness in her voice forced her to clear her throat before speaking.“I’m sorry,” she whispered to the boy, after a discreet cough. “I don’t know what’s taking so long. I’m sure he’ll be back shortly.” Her mare’s left ear twitched as Irsa shifted around in her seat.“No concern of mine, miss. As long as I’m paid in full. But if your father wishes to clear the gates of the city before dawn, we should leave soon.”She nodded, another knot forming in her stomach at the boy’s words.Soon, she would be leaving the city of her childhood—the city she had lived in for fourteen years. So, under the haven of night, with barely a moment’s notice, she had thrown everything of value into the covered cart behind her, knowing her life would never be the same.Odd that none of this mattered to her. At least, not yet.The only thing she could think about—the reason for her scratched throat and knotted stomach—was Shahrzad.Her stubborn tyrant of an older sister.Her brave and loyal friend.Again, hot tears welled in her eyes, even after she’d sworn not to shed a single drop more. Frustrated, she swiped at her already raw cheeks with the back of her hand.“Is something wrong, miss?” the driver asked, his tone approaching sympathetic.Of course something was wrong. But if they were to remain safe from prying eyes, he could never learn what it was. Shahrzad had been specific on this point. “No. Nothing’s wrong. Thank you for asking.”The boy nodded before resuming his posture of disinterest.Irsa thought instead of the journey before them. It would take three days of hard traveling before they reached Taleqan, the stronghold of Tariq’s family. She shook her head in bemusement; after all that had transpired, only Shahrzad would have the audacity to send them to the home of her childhood sweetheart. Every time Irsa stopped to think of Tariq and his family, her gamine features constricted with worry . . .And remorse.She heaved a weary sigh and stared down at the reins. Her spotted white horse flipped its mane as a gust of wind whipped through the alley.“What’s taking him so long?” Irsa said to no one in particular.As if on cue, the heavy wooden door to the side entrance of the library scraped open, and her father’s hooded figure stumbled into the night.He was clutching something in his arms, pulled tight against his chest.“Baba? Is everything all right?”“I’m so sorry, dear. Everything’s fine. We can leave now,” Jahandar murmured. “I just . . . had to make sure all the doors were secure.”“What is that?” Irsa asked.“Hmm?” Jahandar made his way to his horse and reached for his satchel.“What are you holding?”“Oh, it’s nothing. Just a tome I particularly enjoyed.” He waved his hand dismissively.“Did we come all the way here for a book, Baba?”“Just one, my child. Just one.”“It must be a special book.”“All books are special, dear.”“What kind of book is it?”Jahandar tucked the aging, leather-bound volume into the satchel with great care and swung into his saddle with infinitely less consideration. Then he motioned for the driver to proceed.The small caravan made its way down the still slumbering streets of Rey.Irsa directed her mount to walk alongside her father’s black stallion. When Jahandar gazed down at her with a kind smile, she reached for his hand, seeking the same reassurance she offered.“All will be well, dearest girl,” he said, almost absentmindedly.She nodded.It did not escape Irsa’s notice that he had failed to answer her question.THE INSTANT SHAHRZAD BROUGHT HER PALM TO HIS, she felt a cool wash of dispassion take over. As though she had floated beyond her person and was now a mere witness to everything around her.Thankfully, he did not try to kiss her.Nor did the pain last; it was but a fleeting moment, lost in the welcome distraction of her thoughts. He did not appear to enjoy himself, either. Whatever pleasure he derived was brief and perfunctory, and Shahrzad felt a stab of satisfaction at this realization.When it was done, he rose from the bed without a word and pushed aside the whisper-silk enclosing the platform.She watched him dress with neat, almost militaristic precision, noting the light sheen of sweat on his back and the lean muscles that coiled and flexed with the slightest of movements.He was stronger than she was. Of that, there was no doubt. She could not best him physically.But I’m not here to fight. I’m here to win.She sat up and reached for the beautiful shamla draped on a stool nearby. Shahrzad slid her arms into the lustrous brocade and tied the silver laces before moving to join him. As she rounded the edge of the bed, the robe’s delicately embroidered hem twirled about her like a dervish in the midst of sama.The caliph strode to the low table in the corner of the chamber, surrounded by even more sumptuous cushions and plump pillows covered in an array of jewel tones.He poured himself some wine, still standing in silence. Shahrzad stepped past him and sank onto the cushions encircling the table.The tray was laden with pistachios, figs, almonds, grapes, quince chutney, small cucumbers, and an assortment of fresh herbs. A basket of flatbread lay wrapped in linen off to the side.Taking pains to return his subtle disregard, Shahrzad plucked a grape from the tray and began to eat.The caliph studied her for a torturous instant before lowering to the cushions. He sat and drank while Shahrzad dipped pieces of bread into the tartly sweet chutney.When she could stomach the quiet no longer, she lifted a slender brow at him. “Aren’t you going to eat, sayyidi?”He inhaled through his nose, the corners of his eyes tightening in thought.“The chutney is delicious,” she remarked in an offhand manner.“Aren’t you scared, Shahrzad?” he asked, so quietly she almost missed it.She put down the bread. “Do you want me to be scared, sayyidi?”“No. I want you to be honest.”Shahrzad smiled. “But how would you know if I were lying, sayyidi?”“Because you are not a gifted liar. You only think yourself to be.” He leaned forward and took a handful of almonds from the tray.Her smile widened. Dangerously. “And you are not that good at reading people. You only think yourself to be.”He angled his head, a muscle ticking along his jaw. “What do you want?” Again, the words were so soft, Shahrzad strained to make them out.She dusted the crumbs off her hands, biding time to construct the next trap.“I’m to die at sunrise. Correct?”He nodded once.“And you wish to know why I volunteered for this?” she continued. “Well, I’d be willing to—”“No. I won’t play games with you. I despise manipulation.”Shahrzad snapped her lips shut, swallowing her nerve-riddled fury. “Perhaps you should spend less time despising the game and more time building the patience necessary to win.”She held her breath as his upper body froze. The knuckles in his hands stretched white for a harrowing instant before he released his grip.Shahrzad watched the tension leave him, a swirl of emotions colliding in her chest, wreaking havoc on her mind.“Brave words for a girl with hours left to live.” His tone was edged in ice.She sat up straight and twisted her fall of dark hair so that it hung over one shoulder. “Are you interested in the rules of the game or not, sayyidi?”At his silence, she chose to barrel ahead, concealing her trembling hands in the folds of her shamla. “I’m willing to answer your question, sayyidi. But before I do so, I wonder if you would be willing to grant me a small request . . .” She trailed off.A hint of callous amusement darkened his countenance. “Are you trying to barter for your life with trivia?”She laughed, the sound dancing around the room with the airy quality of chimes. “My life is forfeit. You’ve made that clear. Perhaps we should move past that issue and get to the matter at hand.”“By all means.”She took a moment to steady herself. “I want to tell you a story.”“Excuse me?” For the first time, she saw a distinct emotion ripple across his features.Are you surprised? Rest assured, it won’t be the last time, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid.“I tell you a story. You sit and listen. When I’m finished with the tale, I’ll answer your question.” She waited for his response.“A story?”“Yes. Do you agree to the terms, sayyidi?”He leaned back on an elbow, with an unfathomable expression.“Fine. I agree. You may begin.” He pronounced the words like a challenge.And I accept it, you monster. Willingly.“This is the tale of Agib, a poor sailor who lost everything he possessed only to gain the knowledge of self-discovery.”“A tale of morality? So you are trying to teach me a lesson.”“No, sayyidi. I am trying to entice you. I’ve been told a good storyteller can trap an audience with a single sentence.”“Then you have failed.”“Only because you are being unnecessarily difficult. And also because you did not let me finish. You see, Agib was a thief—the best thief in all of Baghdad. He could steal a solid gold dinar from your hand, right before your eyes, and pick the pocket of the wariest traveler with the stealth of a shadow.”The caliph inclined his head in consideration.“But he was arrogant. And, as his escapades grew ever more daring, so did his arrogance. Until one day, he was caught stealing from a wealthy emir and barely managed to escape with his life. In a panic, he tore through the streets of Baghdad, seeking refuge. Near the docks, he happened upon a small ship about to leave port. The captain was in dire need of a final crewmember. Certain the emir’s soldiers would find him if he remained in the city, Agib volunteered for the journey.”“Better.” A trace of a smile graced the caliph’s lips.“I’m glad you approve, sayyidi. May I continue?” She shot him a pointed grin, warring with the urge to splash the remainder of his drink in his face.He nodded.“The first few days on board the ship were difficult for Agib. He was not a seafaring man and had very little experience traveling in this manner; consequently, he was sick for long stretches of time. The other crewmembers mocked him openly and gave him the most menial tasks to accomplish, solidifying his status as all but useless. The respect Agib had amassed as the best thief in Baghdad was meaningless in this world; after all, he could not steal from his shipmates. There was no place to run and hide.”“Truly a conundrum,” the caliph remarked.Shahrzad ignored his quiet jab. “One week out to sea, there was a terrible storm. The ship was lashed about on immense waves that threw it far off course. Alas, this wasn’t the worst calamity to befall them: when the waters finally stilled two days later, the captain was nowhere to be found. The sea had swallowed him in its salty midst.”Shahrzad paused. As she leaned forward to select a grape, she shot a furtive glance over the caliph’s shoulder to the decorative screens leading to the terrace. They were still shaded in the cloak of night.“The crew began to panic. They were stranded in the middle of the sea and had no way of guiding the ship back on course. Arguments arose as to which sailor would assume the role of captain. Consumed in this struggle over power, the crew failed to realize a speck of land had appeared on the horizon. Agib was the first to point it out. It looked like a tiny island with a mountain at its center. At first, the crew rejoiced at the sight. But then an older sailor muttered something that ignited the panic anew.”The caliph listened, his amber eyes focused squarely on Shahrzad.“He said, ‘God be with us. It is the Mountain of Adamant.’ When a general outcry ran through the others at the truth behind these words, Agib asked what made this mountain so terrifying that grown men quailed at its sight. The old sailor explained that the Mountain of Adamant possessed a dark magic that pulled ships toward it by virtue of the iron in their hulls, and once a ship was fully within its grasp, the Adamant had such power that all the nails would be drawn out of the vessel, thereby sinking it to the bottom of the sea and sentencing all its occupants to a watery grave.”“Instead of wasting time lamenting their predicament, perhaps they should try to sail in the opposite direction,” the caliph suggested drily.“And this is exactly what Agib advised. Every oar was manned, and immediate action was taken to foil the mountain’s nefarious plot, but it was too late. For once the great blackness looms in the distance, there is little that can be done. By then the mountain already has you in its grip. Sure enough, in spite of all their efforts, the ship drifted closer and closer, faster and faster, into the shadow of Adamant. Soon, a terrible groaning could be heard from the depths of the ship’s hull. It began to shudder and shake as though the weight of the world were perched on its bow. In horror, the crew watched as nails ripped and spun from the wood around them. The ship started to break apart and collapse in on itself like a child’s plaything underfoot. Agib joined in the shrieking and the sorrowful wails of his fellow crewmen as they were thrown into the sea and left to fend for themselves.”Shahrzad lifted her glass and reached for the wine. She hid her surprise when the caliph filled her cup without a word.The very edge of the screen behind him was beginning to lighten.“Agib scrambled onto the stern of the ship—the last part of the boat still intact. In the melee, he noticed a heavy iron pot sliding past him in the direction of the mountain. Using the deft hands of a master thief, Agib snatched the pot and clung to it for dear life as he was pitched over the side and into the vast waters of the sea. The pot weighed him down terribly, and he fought to stay afloat, searching for something to cling to. The sound of his fellow sailors drowning around him only made his search all the more desperate. When he found a broken piece of the main mast, he flung his free arm around it, still clutching the pot with a frantic kind of fierceness.”The caliph’s sharp features softened in understanding. “It’s quick thinking on Agib’s part. He is hoping the pot will direct him to the island.”Shahrzad smiled. “Precisely. After many hours, Agib’s instincts led him to land. He stumbled onto the shining black coastline of Adamant, exhausted and trembling with fear. He passed out in the shadow of the mountain and did not awaken for many hours. When dawn broke, he stirred and began the search for food and water before realizing this was truly a place of death and destruction—no life stirred anywhere around him, and water was as scarce as hope on this desolate wasteland. He collapsed against a pile of rocks in despair, realizing his demise was, once again, upon him. As the rocks behind him shifted, a small metal chalice slid out from between the cracks. It was old and worn, beaten around the edges.”A faint blue light crept higher up the screen, sliding between its beautifully carved slats, bringing the designs from haunting silhouette to life.“Agib studied the chalice. It was caked with sand and mud. He staggered to the water’s edge to clean it. When the dirt floated away beneath the surf, he realized the cup was covered in markings, the like of which he had never seen. He raised it into the sunrise, but drops of water still marred the surface, so he swiped his sleeve across the cup to dry it . . .”Now the very edges of the screen were tinged in the glowing white of dawn. The rays of light streamed through the slats onto the marble floor like veins of raw gold stretched thin in the heat of the early morning sun.Shahrzad’s heart threatened to burst from her throat.“And the chalice started to tremble. From its hollow depths, a smoke the color of a clear midday sky began to swirl and grow until it became a flameless plume. In terror, Agib dropped the chalice and fell backward against the hard black pebbles of Adamant’s shore. The smoke grew in size and density until a shadow formed in its center.”The caliph bent forward.“The shadow solidified . . . and began to laugh.”Shahrzad stopped.Dawn had arrived behind the caliph, in all its horrifying glory.“Why did you stop?” he asked.She twisted her eyes in the direction of the terrace. The caliph followed her gaze.“You may finish the story,” he stated.Shahrzad inhaled with care. “I’m afraid that’s not possible, sayyidi.”“Excuse me?”“I have only just begun the tale.”His eyes narrowed to ochre slits. “Finish the story, Shahrzad.”“No.”He unfolded to his feet in a ripple of grace. “So was this your plan all along?”“What plan would that be, sayyidi?”“A trick. A tactic to stay your execution . . . to begin a tale you had no intention of finishing.” His voice was deathly low.“I have every intention of finishing it—tomorrow night. Whether or not that happens is entirely up to you.” She stared up at him, clenching her fists within her shamla.“You said you understood; your life is forfeit. That was clear from the very beginning.”Shahrzad rose to her full height. She pulled back her shoulders and lifted her elfin chin.When she spoke, she matched the biting softness in his tone.“All our lives are forfeit, sayyidi. It is just a question of when. And I would like one more day.”He glared at her, the sharp cut of his profile even more menacing with the haze of anger coloring its surface.A single knock struck the door of the chamber.“Just one,” she whispered.The tiger-eyes raked up and down her, gauging their adversary, weighing their options.A heart-stopping minute passed.I will not beg.Another quiet knock at the door.Shahrzad paced forward, her hazel orbs trained on the caliph.He took a slow step back before striding to the doors.No. Please. Stop!As he reached for the handle, he paused without turning to look at her.“One.” He pronounced the word like a soundless epithet before he stalked through the doors.When they thudded shut behind him, Shahrzad sank to the floor and pressed her flaming cheek against the cool marble.Even the release of tears involved too much effort.THE TRAY SLAMMED ONTO THE TABLE WITH A CLATTER and a bang.Shahrzad bolted upright, sleep caking the corners of her eyelids. She swiped at them with her hand. Traces of liquid gold and black powder dotted her palm when she was finished.“You’re very small to have caused such a big fuss,” a musical voice intoned.“What?” Shahrzad focused her bleary attention on its owner.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Wrath and the Dawn:#1 New York Times Bestseller#4 on the Summer 2015 Kids' Indie Next List!An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 2015 – Young AdultA New York Public Library Best Book for Teens for 2015 A Seventeen Magazine Best Book of 2015A YALSA 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults Pick “Lushly imagined and powerfully characterized, it’s a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”—Publishers Weekly “This book is a fairy tale, a mystery, and … promises to become a classic tale of its own.”—VOYA★ “Set against a backdrop of political intrigue and a simmering revolution, this is a carefully constructed narrative of uncertain loyalties, searing romance, and subtle magic in a harsh desert city.”—Booklist, starred review★ “The rich, Middle Eastern cultural context adds to the author’s adept world building… a surefire hit with teens.”—School Library Journal, starred review★ “Renée Ahdieh's lush debut novel, The Wrath and the Dawn, is a suspenseful and beautiful reimagining of The Arabian Nights, with an edge.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review “Dreamily romantic, deliciously angst-y, addictively thrilling.”—Kirkus Reviews“Sumptuous detail … satisfyingly steamy scenes, along with some angsty push and pull moments between the two for optimal romantic tension.”—BCCB“Don’t be surprised if the pages melt away and you find yourself racing through warm, golden sands or drinking spiced wine in cool marble courtyards. This is an intoxicating gem of a story. You will fall in love, just as I did.”—Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series and The Young Elites“In her absorbing debut, Renée Ahdieh spins a tale as mesmerizing as that of her heroine Shahrzad, filled with lush details and brimming with tension. The Wrath and the Dawn is truly an exceptional story, beautifully written.”—Carrie Ryan,New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth“Ahdieh weaves a world that is lush with detail. You will want to hear, taste, and touch everything. But it's not just the world that is vividly alive. The characters are fascinating too: I loved the friendships, romance, and shifts in feeling. A beautifully written book, The Wrath and the Dawn is a story I could not put down.”—Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner’s Trilogy