The Rose and the Dagger, by Renée Ahdieh

23308084Somehow, I didn’t end up reviewing The Wrath and the Dawn this fall when I read it, which makes no sense because it was one of my favorite books of 2015. I did do a marry, date, or dump devoted to the book (now I’d add Rahim in to the mix and that might shake all the answers up). The book was perfect, and if you haven’t read it stop reading this review and go check it out before I SPOIL anything about it for you. So in a week when many favorite authors had books released, The Rose and the Dagger is the one I had to read first. And I’m so glad I did. Because, perhaps improbably, this book was perfection to0. Two perfect companion books! Which makes it so much fun to experience as a reader and as a writer. Because, how??? But also… yes! swoon! oh my god! Only these disjointed thoughts for the most part came to me after setting the book down. While I was reading it I had few thoughts except for being totally immersed in the story. So if you are looking for an intelligent or critical review of this book, perhaps you should stop reading too. I’m just going to fangirl all over it for a few minutes, and then get on with my Friday. 

Okay now for some stuff that might get spoilery if you haven’t read The Wrath and the Dawn. Also here’s a link to the back cover description of the book, if that interests you.

The first book was basically about Khalid and Shahrzad falling in love, learning each other’s secrets, and establishing the central problem of the story (i.e. the reason Khalid keeps killing his brides). This book seems to be more about getting everyone else on board to try and solve the problem so that Khalid and Shahrzad can be together again. I was worried this separation would take the romance out of the story, but, believe me, it does not. The way they long for each other, remember each other, and pine for each other (along with some juicy meetings along the way) keep the swoon quotient high. Because this is a love story with a capital L. Despite complications both personal and political you never doubt these two belong together.

The characters of Shahrzad’s sister, Irsa, and Rahim are also significantly developed (which I loved because sister stories are always my favorite) and magic plays a bigger role in this book than the previous one. Jalal continued to bug me (which I’m sure is intentional) but even he seemed to redeem himself somewhat throughout the story. As much as I wanted a perfectly happy ending for these characters, that didn’t exactly happen. But through tears and smiles and (most overused word of this review) swoons I did feel like everything came together in the right way – even though it wasn’t entirely what I expected.

When I say these books are perfect, part of what I’m saying is that there is not a single change I would make or could imagine making to the plot or the characters. It seems seamless. But a bigger part of what I’m talking about is the perfection of the language. I’d say that 95% percent of what Renee Ahdieh writes sounds like a quote or a poem. Whether it’s the way the characters talk to each other, a setting description, or a detail about an item of clothing the language is rich and sweet and, yes, perfect. For example:

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. 

Even reading this again gives me the butterflies.

Okay, this is getting long so I’m going to nip this fangirling in the bud. If you have read this book or are going to read it, let me know what you think. Favorite parts? Favorite characters? Things you wanted to change? I want to hear it all!



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