The Rose & the Dagger
By: Renee Ahdieh
Published: April 26, 2016 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
My feelings about this book are so conflicted.
When I read The Wrath & the Dawn, I absolutely loved Renee Ahdieh’s writing style – it was poetic, without ever being flowery – and completely fell in love with her characters, who were all so dynamic and wonderful.
In The Rose & the Dagger, her wonderful prose and characters continued to fascinate me. I really enjoyed getting to know Shahrzad’s sister, Isra, and seeing her develop from a timid girl into a strong young woman. There were also quite a few surprises throughout the story – my jaw literally dropped at one of them. This book also had much more magic in it than its predecessor, which definitely made things more interesting.
However, I did have some problems with the pacing in The Rose & the Dagger. While reading the first 3/4, I never once felt that the pace was too slow; things were progressing at a normal rate. But once I reached the last 30 or so pages…everything just kind of fell apart for me. There was such a rapid progression from one intense scene to the next and no true denouement. It practically went straight from the climax of the story to the epilogue. So when I finally reached the end, I felt somewhat unsatisfied. I felt like some important plot points were wrapped up much too soon and without much fanfare.
Despite the issues I had with the book, I still enjoyed reading it and look forward to seeing what Renee Ahdieh releases next.