Recommended for: Young Adult Readers
The Rose and the Dagger is the second and final book of The Wrath and the Dawn. The story starts off shortly after the conclusion of The Wrath and the Dawn, and is shared through multiple characters. Ahdieh's beautiful writing and descriptive storytelling brings the reader right back into the stunning and mysterious world of Khorasan.
Our fierce and beautiful heroine, Shahrzad, is now in the desert with her family, her first love, Tariq, and a collection of others who are organizing and preparing for an attack on the Caliph of Khorasan and his kingdom. Shazi is torn and completely heartbroken as she tries to unravel the disaster before from inside a tent surrounded by her husband's enemies. Her father is incoherent and holding tightly to a tattered but magical book, so she has no idea how he managed to destroy the city. Her former love, and life-long friend is leading the uprising that is preparing to attack her husband and avenge the many deaths of daughters at his hand. And the true love of her life, her other half, and her soul's match, Khalid, is in his palace trying to pick of the pieces of his broken city and his broken heart.
As the many parts and characters work towards different ends the story evolves into a whirlwind of chaos. The impending battle, how to break the curse, how to escape from camp and reunite with Khalid, new-found magical power and relics, and Jahandar's secrets keep the plot moving and the tension rising.
The addition of the magical portion of the story was just okay for me; it was a bigger part of this story, and something that I didn't love. I sort of lost some of my intense connection to the story when the reality of it shifted. I knew this was coming as it was alluded to in the previous book, but the magic took a backseat to the story in the first book, and I feel like it took center stage in this one. It was super hyped and strong in some points and then a bit anti-climactic in other parts.
Shahrzad's sister Irsa, was one of my favorite new characters. She was fantastic, and I loved seeing her evolve from the tiny mouse-girl into a strong young woman through her relationship with Shazi and Rahim. I also was shocked with Despina's absence and eventual role. After reading more of her story in the novella, the Moth and the Flame I had expected to see much more of her in this book. I kept thinking "Where the heck is Despina?", and then she showed up in the most mysterious of places.
Since I don't want to give too much more away, I will wrap up by saying. Bravo, Renee Ahdieh! This was a wonderful conclusion to an extremely captivating and moving tale. I was pleased and very satisfied with how it wrapped up, and I truly enjoyed the addition of the Epilogue. I didn't love The Rose and the Dagger quite as much as I LOVED The Wrath and the Dawn, but I was still extremely happy with it. I am sad to say goodbye to Shazi and Khalid, but my time spent with them was breathtaking and probably one of my favorites. I look forward to more amazing tales from Renee Ahdieh.