ARC/Book Review: Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh

Title: Flame in the Mist (2017)
Series: Flame in the Mist – Book 1
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 400 pages
Release Date: May 18, 2017
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Mariko has always known that being a woman means she’s not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden – the emperor’s son – Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued… or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.

Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan’s hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Review

I’ve been looking forward to Flame in the Mist ever since I finished The Rose and the Dagger last year. Shazi and Khalid’s love story was one I happily immersed myself in, and I loved every word and enjoyed every minute of it — which is why I was supremely disappointed, to say the least, that Flame in the Mist didn’t quite manage to captivate me in the same way.

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Book Review: The Rose and The Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

The-Rose-and-the-Dagger-Renee-Ahdieh-Book-Review

Title: The Rose and the Dagger (2016)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn – Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 416 pages
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

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.

Review

So… I have been excited about The Rose and the Dagger ever since I finished The Wrath and the Dawn last year. I loved that book so much I pretty much included it in 90% of my tags and Top Ten Tuesday lists, as well as mention it whenever is appropriate — which goes to say that my expectations for TRATD are so high, they’re probably impossible to meet realistically. Thankfully, this book delivered. This review will contain spoilers for TWATD. 🙂

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Book Looks: The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

Book-Looks-The-Rose-and-the-Dagger-Renee-Ahdieh

Bangle | Clutch | Outfit | Lipstick | Earrings | High Heels

Title: The Rose and The Dagger (2016)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Description: 

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.

Read the first lines… 

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Book Review: The Wrath and The Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

Book Review The Wrath and The Dawn Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and The Dawn (2015)
Series: The Wrath and The Dawn – Book 1
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 388 pages
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Description

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Review

I’m a big fan of retellings, especially when what’s being retold is something different. The Wrath and The Dawn is the re-told story of Scheherazade, the legendary Arabic queen who wedded a king who would marry a woman every day and then execute her at dawn. Now, this made me even more biased because I actually love the story of Scheherazade—it’s an exotic tale and definitely not a ‘cliché’, as far as YA literature goes.

And how I love Shahrzad (Shazi), the incarnation of Scheherazade in this book! She was incredibly snappy, incredibly intelligent, and incredibly brave. I didn’t exactly identify with her, but I certainly connected with and cared about her. I wanted her to survive. When she started falling in love with Khalid, she was so conflicted, so torn between what she came to do and what she learned about him, that I couldn’t help but to sympathise with her. Shazi is definitely the highlight of this story, and for good reason, too.

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