Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Genre:  YA Fantasy
The Wrath & The Dawn Series, Book 2

Description (taken from Renee Ahdieh's website):
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 her childhood sweetheart Tariq, 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.

This book picks up right where the last one left off: with Tariq rescuing Shahrzad from the Caliph.  But Shahrzad didn't need any rescuing.  And while she wants to go back to Khalid, she realizes her family needs her in the camp.  Her father is very injured and won't wake up, yet he clings to an old, mystical book.  And can Shahrzad really help Khalid by returning to him, or can she break the curse some other way?

This book starts off with Khalid's enemy encampment.  The one Tariq is help leading.  And even though he's rescued Shahrzad and convinced he can make her fall in love with him again, he's not getting what he bargained for.  And Irza, Shahrzad's sister?  She's barely growing up and trying so hard to keep her family together.  But how can she when not even her sister will confide in her?  So many choices to make that revolve around each other.  In the end, will Shahrzad and Khalid get their happily ever after?

I'm going to start with this:  I probably would have liked this book more if I had read it right after the first.  It did not do a good job of refreshing what happened in the first, and I spent the first half of the book stumbling through the story.  But once I got into it, I couldn't put the book down.  But I felt like more questions came up than were answered.  And I got so distracted by the side stories and the answers I was missing that I kind of missed the happy ending.  I'm still stuck on the mystical book.  And Artan.  And the justification for people's loyalties.  And now the series is over?  Ugh, I missed it.

I'm definitely going to recommend people read the second book right after the first one.  Then maybe you won't be as lost as me...

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