Title- The Wrath & The Dawn
Author- Renee Ahdieh
Publisher- G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Copyright Date- 2015
Genre (s): Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Historical Fiction
Reading Level/Interest Age: 12-17 years old
Reader’s Annotation: 16-year old Shahrzad must continue to tell her captivating tale to stay alive and exact revenge on her best friend’s murderer.
Shahrzad’s best friend, and many other young girls, are sent to marry the 18-year old Caliph of Khorasan. Each morning after their marriage, the young brides are put to death. Shahrzad volunteers to marry the young king in the hopes to exact revenge for her best friend Shiva’s murder. On her first night as the Caliph’s wife, Shahrzad begins a tale. As soon as the sun rises, she refuses to continue until the next night. The Caliph allows her to live for one more day. She befriends a servant named Despina, who knows the ins and outs of the castle and all about the Caliph. The Caliph continues to allow Shahrzad to live in order to hear the rest of the tale. On the third morning, guards come to collect Shahrzad to hang her. She is almost unconscious when they are ordered to stop by the Caliph.
While this is happening, Shahrzad’s first love Tariq is traveling to the kingdom to stop her death. Shahrzad begins to have feelings for the Caliph but fights against them out of grief for Shiva. She plans to kill him multiple times, but each time she is interrupted. The Caliph becomes suspicious of her volunteering to marry him, and Shahrzad tries to find answers as to why the other girls had to die. Tariq makes it to the kingdom and is investigated by the Caliph. He finds a connection between Tariq and Shahrzad. At this point, he loves her very much and offers himself for her to kill him. She refuses. The Caliph eventually explains why he must kill his wife, and the book is left open for the next book to continue.
I really liked this story! I was initially interested in it because it was a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights. It lived up to my interest. I really liked Shahrzad as a character because she was really strong, but she could have a soft side as well. A lot of characters in YA lean entirely too close to one side, but I believe Shahrzad was a great balance. I found that I didn’t always agree with her choices, but that’s pretty much a given with any book for me. I think that the secondary characters really make this story as well. Renee Ahdieh writes beautiful descriptions and really makes you envision the settings. This book is important to be included in my collection because it is a retelling of an older story, and allows the reader to glimpse a historical view of a different culture. Teens will flock to this novel and eat it up.
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 head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog. She is the author of THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. (Renee Ahdieh, 2015).
Ties to Curriculum Units: Diversity of Culture, Relationships
How would you handle the situation Shahrzad is in?
Challenge Issues: I cannot find a challenge against The Wrath & The Dawn. But at some point there will be a challenge against it because it features a consummation of the marriage between characters, and violence. I would prepare for this challenge by explaining that it was a retelling of a classic fairy tale, and that the scenes are watered down to fit the audience for which it was intended.
Here is a link to reviews for The Wrath & The Dawn:
Renee Ahdieh. 2015. The Wrath & The Dawn. Retrieved from http://www.teenreads.com/authors/renee-ahdieh