A breathtaking and intoxicating conclusion to the saga of Sharzad and Khalid, The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh is the stunning sequel to The Wrath & the Dawn that readers have been waiting for.
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.
Like most readers, I’m sure, the ending of The Wrath & the Dawn left me utterly gutted. I adored this book — have been obsessed with it since first reading it, and am obsessed with it still — and I was in agony waiting for the sequel. And when I receive my review books, I’m usually pretty good about sticking to my strict “read-them-in-order-of-release-date” rule. But when The Rose & the Dagger showed up on my doorstep, I could not resist & dove in immediately. I raced through every page to find out what would happen next — and when it was all over, wanted to go back to the first book and read both of them, together, all over again.
That’s the magic of Ahdieh’s writing and storytelling in these books; it’s intoxicating. She weaves together tales of magic and love and struggle and war so elegantly; she is truly an enchantress with words.
Something that was so beautiful and engaging about The Wrath & the Dawn was the bond that Shazi and Khalid shared, in the face of all the odds. In many ways, it’s the two of them against the world and what the world believes to be the truth. But as The Rose & the Dagger unfolds, Shazi and Khalid are forced to bring more people into their trust — and as the truth of things is revealed, it has an incredibly powerful impact on their other companions. As much as I loved the intimacy of Shazi and Khalid sharing this secret, his burden, it was captivating to see them open up and share this with others. It gave their relationship more depth, and meaning — to see it witnessed more fully and honestly by Shazi’s closest friends and family members; and to see them all come together for the true greater good.
The twists and turns are so unexpected in this book, I really could never have guessed where things were going. It’s filled with heartache and intrigue and danger and romance and magic — and all of these combine for a dizzying, delightful book that will enchant you from page one and never let you go.
The Rose & the Dagger is in stores on Tuesday. Do not miss this. And if you haven’t read The Wrath & the Dawn, now is the perfect time to get hooked — you can read them both, back to back!