Genres: Young Adult; Fantasy; Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Shahrzad no longer believed the tales running through the streets of Rey. Khalid Ibn al-Rashid was not a madman from a line of murdering madmen, hell-bent on senseless brutality.
He was a boy with secrets.
Secrets Shahrzad had to know. It was no longer enough for her to stand at his side and play along with the dance of ice and stone. To watch him fade into the distance, barricaded in a room no one was permitted to enter.
She was going to break down the door. And steal all of his secrets.
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.
There was nothing about this book that I didn’t like. It had everything a book needs in order to impress: fantastic main characters, intriguing plot, handsome love interest, beautiful setting, gorgeous writing, a glimpse at some politics, and lots of action and stragegizing. It was flawless.
Shahrzad is a phenomenal lead. Her voice is strong and, while I had nothing in common with her, relatable. She reminds me of Kestrel from The Winner’s Trilogy, Katsa from Graceling, and Katniss from The Hunger Games. She is powerful and she knows it. She is smart and capable, and can shoot a bow and arrow well (but not as well as Katniss). She is arrogant and reckless but at the same time cautious and unsure.
I really loved the intricately woven plot. Everything about it was perfect; each little thing made the whole picture even more beautiful. Even though it was told in mulitple perspectives, I never saw more than I was supposed to see at any given time. It was masterfully done. The people who told the story were all so different, and the pieces they offered to the plot were important and useful, even if they were confusing at the time. The writing did not help- despite its beauty, it was more fanciful than everyday language and so did not make the story any easier to understand. Still, it fit the story and the setting.
Overall, I loved this book to pieces. I could not hope for a better beginning, and I hope the sequel will be even better.