Review: The Wrath and the Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

Book cover: Shahrzad’s face looks at the reader

Everyone has been talking about The Wrath and the Dawn, so I decided I’d give it a try. The story takes place in the Middle East – I don’t think that the exact region is mentioned.

The Good

I thought that Vikram, Despina and Jalal were beautiful written characters. Whenever they re-entered the story, I became more invested in the book again.

I enjoyed the descriptions of the food and the clothing.

The Bad

The two main characters are one-dimensional. It’s an insta-love story, and I just couldn’t understand why they fell in love and how. Why is it a beautiful romance, when Shahrzad falls in love with someone who has directed the deaths of a great number of girls (not a spoiler, as mentioned in the blurb)? There is more to Khalid than what is shown at the beginning, but I still feel like the romance came out of nowhere.

Another issue I had was with the killing of the other wives. If Khalid feels so bad about innocent women dying, why wasn’t he trying to find out how to avoid this problem?

The story is supposed to be a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, however Shahrzad did little story-telling.

This book is mainly about Shahrzad and Khalid’s relationship. The reader doesn’t discover much about the other characters and their development, even though they end up influencing the story to a certain degree. More pages should have been devoted to the minor characters. What exactly was her father, Jahandar, doing for half of the book? What does Jalal think of the problem? How did Vikram get the position he has?

One of the characters puts down another character by making a joke about the size of the person’s penis. I’m really annoyed with these types of jokes, they’re rude and disrespectful, and the character wasn’t called out for it.

All of the words that are not English words are in italics, which makes them seem out of place. It also disturbed my reading flow.


I have to change the rating from 2 stars to 1 star, as there are two very indirect rape scenes (blink-and-you’ll-miss-them-scenes) and one of the characters falls in love with their rapist. I’d like to thank Elif, from The Written Word (a German blog) for making me aware of this as I didn’t realise it while reading the scenes myself. This is why we need sensitivity readers. It’s not romantic to fall in love with a rapist. I know that this scene is seen as controversial and some bloggers are not sure if it is rape or not, but in my opinion it is not consensual and thus rape.

Here are further reviews that discuss the rape scenes:

Hey Ashers! (longer discussion in the comments on Booklikes)

Jami’s Life in Books

Clatter and Clank | Fiction by B R Sanders

All in all

Update: I don’t agree with what I wrote here anymore: [If you want a romance story, this is the book for you. However, it is also mostly just a love story and nothing else. If you don’t like stories about insta-love, I wouldn’t read it.]

Update: I really can’t recommend this book to anyone. I don’t like the insinuation that it is supposed to be romantic that the victim falls in love with their rapist. 

Update: Trigger warning: rape.

1 star

What did you think of The Wrath and the Dawn? What’s your opinion on insta-love?


19 thoughts on “Review: The Wrath and the Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

  1. I completely agree with everything you said in your review! I ended up DNFing this book when I tried to read it because I got so frustrated with the insta-love. It was handdled so badly, the main character goes from absolutely hating Khalid to loving him in a few pages.


  2. I’ve heard only good about this book before – thanks for the alternative perspective, gives me something to think about!


      1. If you do end up reading it, I’d be interested to hear what you say.

        However, I would definitely recommend against it, as it’s left me feeling very upset. There are more reviews that discuss the rape scenes in this book. I can send you some if you’d like me to do so.


      2. If I do, I’ll try to remember to send you a link to any review I might write.

        Thanks – that’s be awesome 🙂 No rush – whenever you’ve got a spare 5 mins or whatever. 🙂


  3. this is the first negative review of read of this book. jfc, i can’t believe it hasn’t been mentioned before! i have yet to read the wrath and the dawn (and i was really looking forward to it), but i guess i won’t rush to pick it up now :/ wow, i’m honestly so disappointed.


  4. Excellent review! I had a number of the same problems when reading this book but had only seen it getting positive praise so for the longest time I just thought it was me who had the problem, not the book. The sequel is even worse in my opinion with the insta-love, lack of consequences for killing people, toxic masculinity and flat characters. As interesting as the premise is, it’s not a series I’d recommend.


  5. Thank you for this review, this book was quite high on my TBR based on all the positive reviews I’ve seen. Falling in love with one’s attacker is not romantic – if I read this at all, I’ll be getting it from the library.


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