GENRE & SYNOPSIS
Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance / Retellings
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
RATING & REVIEW
This has been a book that I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time, but never really got to. So when I picked this up during Christmas I knew that I was in for a treat. I haven’t read 1001 Nights, so I had no idea what I was actually getting into other than the fact that it would be inspired by the middle eastern culture – which I was excited about. I feel like a lot of fantasy is set in like western-europe-kind of worlds, so it was a nice break from everything “typical”.
Shazi is such a nice main character, and I liked her story and background. I also found Khalid to be an interesting character that drew me in from the beginning. Of course, from the synopsis we know that everything isn’t what it seems, but I liked how the author kept the whole truth until the end of the book, making us guess as to why he dooms all of these young girls in the first place, and why Shazi is so different.
What I didn’t like was that the romance between them turned around so quickly. From one page to another they were suddenly madly in love? Which seemed very unrealistic. I also did not like that Tariq had to be this “villain”, wanting to take Shazi away without even asking her if she wanted to go. BUT, I am a sucker for enemies-turned-lovers, and this one has that – so it kind of made up for this stupid love-triangle in the middle of it.
The other thing that annoyed me a little bit was Shazi’s hesitation in doing what she was supposed to do the whole time. Kill Khalid and get the revenge she wanted for her friend. But in all reality, she spent a lot of time doing everything but plotting his death. Which annoyed me. AND it annoyed me that Khalid, after realizing that he loves Shazi, wouldn’t tell her the freaking secret earlier. Why keep her thinking that he’s just cold-hearted?
I did however like Jalal, who was this books comic relief, and Despina whom for once wasn’t just a stuck up bitchy girl who wanted what Shazi had. Which was a nice change, girls needs to stick up for girls, right?
But all in all, I really enjoyed this book, and the culture just mesmerizes me. There’s just something about middle eastern culture and food that really speaks to me, and it was a nice change from all the typical back-in-European-times. I have ordered the second and final book of the duology, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store.