The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on April 26, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Pages: 416 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
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.
With The Rose & The Dagger, Renée Ahdieh returns us to the desert sands for the culmination of her series. After Rey’s near destruction, Shahrzad and Khalid have been torn apart. While he tries to pick up the pieces of his kingdom, Shazi is left on unfamiliar ground once again, this time with the people closest to her. The insurmountable odds are piling up but that will not stop them from trying to forge a future.
Shazi and Khalid are my everything. Equals, a perfect match. They faced danger head on, fighting back against physical and mental forces. Their relationship continued to develop until the very end, acceptance and honesty flowing freely. Each moment of tender care and inner turmoil was felt so deeply regardless of whether they were together or apart. It kept me enthralled.
While I was totally enchanted by the two main characters, I was glad that some side characters had a chance to shine. Shazi’s sister, Irsa, comes into her own, finding a place within the desert camp and standing by her sister’s side. Rahim was a bright light, a kind, sweet protector. I loved the introduction of Artan with his power and past. Even Jahandar’s arc, though aggravating, held such deep meaning. Tariq though can just go jump off a cliff.
I’ve always considered these books to be wonderfully magically despite only wisps of power in the first one. At least now it’s more fully explored. Shazi’s attempts to learn her gifts, relying on the carpet bequeathed to her, seeking out those with more knowledge. I think Ahdieh’s writing in itself conjures those feelings. With lush settings, delicious food descriptions, and romantic moments that left me swooning, she captures magic within these pages.
Back to back books ending a series have pretty much left me an emotional wreck now. Ahdieh certainly knows how to pull on my heartstrings and I was already teary eyed before I reached 100 pages. She has a way of building things up and tearing them away with such beauty and pain that I cannot stop reading. This story takes a hold on you whether you’re ready for the end or not.
Despite rating this 4.5 out of 5 stars I did have some issues within the pages. I felt like not enough justice was done for the side characters from The Wrath & The Dawn. Some of them just faded into the background and there definitely wasn’t enough Jalal. Also there are a few moments that were so utterly predictable and the ending felt rushed. Plus Tariq just grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard.
Overall though I deeply loved The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh. These characters hold a firm grip on my heart and I felt every moment of joy and torment they faced. Her writing evokes magic and romance at every page and I’m so glad I got to take this journey with Shazi and Khalid. I would gladly read more and more within this world and definitely recommend this series to all. It isn’t over, right?
So have you read The Wrath & The Dawn series yet? Does your heart feel heavy with all the emotion of this story? Who was your favorite side character? Let me know in the comments below!