Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh - Review

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.

---------------------------- Amazon, B&N, Goodreads ----------------------------

The Rose and the Dagger is an enchanting fairytale story, if in the fairytale the princess was a headstrong, stubborn woman and the prince a guilt-ridden, intimidating warrior. The world that Renée has created is rich and vivid and beautiful. I loved learning more about the culture and feeling as though you are in this exotic, desert land. 

Things escalate quickly in this sequel. The city is suffering after magic was released with the help of a dark, magical book and both Shahrzad and Khalid are trying to deal with the aftermath, and the responsibility they both feel they hold, of the catastrophe. Other characters, such as Irsa, the warriors the camp working against Khalid, and other rulers, expand the cast, as well as expanding the people that Shazi feels she needs to protect. 

The story really focuses on Shahrzad's own journey to really claim what she wants - she wants to be with Khalid and, even if she doesn't realize it at first, she wants to be the leader than everyone believes she can be. Cost and reward is something she battles with throughout the story: Is her love worth the welfare of the kingdom? Is her loyalty to Khalid worth burning bridges with old friends? Is her plan for breaking the curse worth the danger to those she loves? While her love and relationship with Khalid is a driving force in the story, her own power, strength, and drive really propel the plot and make Shazi such an endearing, empowering, utterly feminine, and interesting heroine. 

I don't want to give too much away, since a lot is revealed concerning the magic found in the world, those who would abuse it, and Shazi's position within it all, but The Rose and the Dagger is a wonderful story about the quest for power, the desire to be with the one you love, the courage to become the person you wish to be, and the bravery to do decide what you are truly willing to give in order to live the life you want.
Check out more about Renée and her works here:

I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. My YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, is available wherever books are sold. Its sequel, THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER, will be published on April 26, 2016. In my spare time, I like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of my characters.

Happy Reading!


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