Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Review: THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh

Rating: 1.5/5 stars

I’ve been rather excited to start this series for some time, but unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I actually ended up quitting about 45% in because I really didn’t want to suffer through the rest of this overly descriptive story with a weak plot and unbelievable protagonist.

I felt so distant from the story and the characters the entire time I was listening to it. To me, it felt like everything was happening inside Shahrzad’s head and she was telling us about it rather than me actually getting to experience the story’s events. I don’t know if this was because of the audiobook narrator and the way she told the story or because of the actual writing style or what. I liked the sound of the narrator’s voice, but she used the same tone for all the characters, so I think I struggled to know who was talking at times and whether she was actually reading dialogue or narrative in the first place.

The writing was so descriptive and flowery that I had trouble keeping track of the story buried underneath all the extra words. I normally don’t have an issue with overly descriptive writing but I think the audiobook hindered my understanding of the story. Plus the narrative felt very slow-moving to me, despite the audiobook, and I think it was because of the flowery writing that it took so long for anything to happen.

Shahrzad kept talking about how she was going to kill the king, that was why she volunteered to be his wife in the first place, yet she had no plan, and she never even tried to kill him. Instead she fell in love with him in two days, and when her inner monologues were saying that she was about to kill him, her outer actions were only showing him love. She ends up kissing him instead, this man who killed all her friends, within two days of being in the palace, and I just didn’t get it. Talk about cliche.

This book felt like the typical YA fantasy book, similar to many stories I’ve read before. A girl defies the odds and does something no other girl has done before. She softens the hard-hearted guy who has budged for no one before and falls in love with him even though she knows she shouldn’t. She somehow survives despite that she should have died on many occasions before. She’s stronger and more determined than any other girl in her town. She can fight just as well as the guys. She discovers she has some special magical ability that makes her different from all the other girls. Etc. etc. etc. I’ve read this before and I don’t want to read it again. Setting the book in an Arabian desert doesn’t make it unique.

I like the original story of Scheherazade in 1001 Arabian Nights, but I sadly didn’t care for this overly descriptive and cliched retelling.

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