Title: The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Sons Books for Young Readers, 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Fairy Tale Retellings, YA Retellings
This series…wow. I will say the second wasn’t as exciting as the first, but it was definitely a worthy read. I enjoyed it and I am sad to see it come to an end. Honestly, I was expecting a trilogy, lol!
Yes, spoilers are possible, and they are quite unavoidable when doing a book review for a sequel. So I can try to dance around certain events that happen in this particular book, but the first book might get spoiled for you if you haven’t read it yet. So please proceed at your own peril…or just skim to the bottom and tell me how awesome my review is. Cause you know it is. 😂
All right. Fully ready? Here we go…
So Shahrzad (or Shazi as she will be referred to in hopes of making my typing much less strenuous) has fled from the palace. This happened previously in TW&TD. She is staying with her father (Baba) and her sister, Irsa, as well as Tariq, her childhood love. They all think they have saved her from a murderous monster. Which makes sense: until Shazi, the Caliph of Khoresan had been killing his brides at dawn for no apparent reason. But Shazi knows the truth; Khalid had been cursed by a former wife’s father for not loving her enough, which led to her suicide (I’m not going to go into details about the curse bc you need to read it yourself, foo’!). He stopped killing after Shazi, and the effects are immediate. Shazi and Khalid both think this is why Khoresan was attacked by lightning strikes…they don’t realize that Shazi’s father is to blame, and he has been playing with some very dark magic.
To break the curse, Shazi sneaks away from the camp in the desert to go see the Fire mage, Musa. She hopes she can spare an impending war that Tariq has started, with the help of a nomadic badawi tribe as extra muscle. If they knew the real cause of all the deaths of the daughters of Rey…well, they might understand a little better. Or they might think Khalid is weak. So Shazi keeps her mouth shut and hopes Musa can help.
This book focuses on gathering factions, impending war, and double-crosses. Shazi stays as fiery as ever, trying to save the King she loves so deeply. I won’t drop more spoilers…I’ll only say that Shazi’s father becomes an impediment more than a contribution. And black magic is involved. (Perfect for Halloween, right?)
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes. Once again this book is very good for classroom exploration. The original story can be compared to the modern adaptation. The culture is rich and ready to be explored. Classic dishes from the book (yes, the book constantly made me hungry…except for lamb. I don’t eat baby anything. Just was raised that way) could be prepared, and the language and practices discussed. It’s lacking any offensive material and would make for a good lesson plan, as long as it’s used in conjunction with the first book. You can’t use this book as a stand-alone; it requires the previous text to understand the events that transpire.
This book is rated the same as the first one on Lexile.com: HL690L. Once again, this just means that younger people will understand the words, but the concepts are mature. I, however, think the concepts aren’t that mature. Intimacy once again is only implied, and there is no swearing. Lexile recommends 14-17 (its almost always used age range), but I think 13 year olds could handle it. Once again, I would not feel troubled letting my 12 year old niece read this: it is a retelling of a famous story, and it is not gory or obscene. It sheds light on a culture that gets a bad rep, and while there is a serious fear of Arabic people nowadays, this book shows that there is so much beauty in the history of the region. I liked seeing a part of the world and its customs.
I only gave this one ★★★★☆. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it became a little predictable. Everything wraps up nicely for the most part. One shocking event but I won’t divulge. I’ll say that it took me longer to read this one than the first because I wasn’t as absorbed. Quick fixes were evident to many problems. But I do think that it warrants four stars, as it followed up and ended the series nicely. I do think there could have been more, but maybe I’m just greedy. Still a lovely book, and I would recommend it to anyone who read the first one.
**New thing…I’m going to make my rating a little more obvious in my reviews now, so here’s my rating…**
Happy Reading! 😘