Book Review: The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

the rose and the dagger

The Rose and The Dagger
by Renee Ahdieh
E-book edition, 528 pages
Published April 26th, 2016 by Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
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The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

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.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30109713-the-rose-and-the-dagger

“No. He was not here to wreak revenge.
For revenge was trifling and hollow.
No. He was not here to retrieve his wife.
For his wife was not a thing to be retrieved.
No. He was not here to negotiate a truce.
For a truce suggested he wished to compromise.

He was here to burn something to the ground.”

Let’s just cut straight to the point: I’m a bit underwhelmed. It’s just… I expect so much more from this book.

The pacing feels somehow a bit off to me. I think that’s because of the writing style. I still think the writing style is beautiful and enchanting, but I think it’s too flowery for the situations in this book. It fits the #1 book because it was about love and curses, while this book about war. And I expect a lot of actions and a show of Khalid, Jalal and Tariq skills at war. Imagine how impatient I was when the kingdoms were on the cusp of war but the author decided to describe how the breastplate look and how the desert look. I mean it’s okay, but it kinda distract from the action and the urgency of the situation.

“It was never about belonging to someone. It was belonging together.”

There are so many new characters in this book, and it just distract us from Shahrzad and Khalid. I feel detached with Irsa and Rahim. I really feel nothing and tend want to skip their moments. I also dislike Irsa because she tried too hard to be like Shahrzad. I know she idolizes her, but bravery doesn’t mean to be silver-tounged or good at wielding weapons. Doing what’s right took courage. Being a healer took courage. She just can’t see that and no one ever tell her that. Also, the romance between Irsa and Rahim feels nothing for me other than as a filler. It really has no impact or whatsoever to the story. (Although I have to admit I feel sad when Rahim died)
Tariq is as hot-headed, bad tempered, act like an alpha male as ever. He forces his decision and can’t see that Shahrzad is capable of protecting herself. He really infuriates me. His rashness has cost almost 2 lives. Yes, I blame Shahrzad struck by an arrow and Rahim’s death on him. I hope he learn his lessons and just learn to control his temper.
I wish we could see more of Artan. I quite like him. I wish we could see more of his magic and power, and what did his parents actually did (since we never get any story about it) and what is he exactly (I have my theories, but I’m not quite sure). I’m a bit sad that he used like a prop in this book.

“From the stars, to the stars.”

Shahrzad is still quick witted and silver tounged as ever. She may seem a bit rash sometimes, but I think most of the time she managed to rein her temper. Khalid is as cold (and sweet to Shahrzad as ever) but he managed to rein his famous temper too, and he seems more human and considerable to others. I wish we could see his mad fighting skills though.
I wish to see more of the side character, like Jalal, Despina, Jalal’s Father, Yasmine, Vikram, Omar and others. I think they’re interesting, especially Omar and Despina. I’d love to know more about the desert tribe and Despina’s life before/during her time as Salim’s daughter.

“As always. As ever. As a rose to the sun.”

I did have my problems with this book. But that epilogue guys? FEELS. It’s just so beautiful I wish it was longer. It’s definitely everything I could ask for, even more! PLEASE AT LEAST ANOTHER NOVELLA???

Overall, I admit I was dissapointed. With the urgency and the stakes of the story, it should have more action and focuses on Shahrzad, Khalid, Tariq and the impending war, instead of going around introducing tons of new characters. But that epilogue really leaves me statisfied and happy, so it’s definitely worth the read.

“Cut the strings, Shazi. Fly.”

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22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

  1. Tasya Dita says:

    I planned to rate this book 3 stars but the epilogue totally made me add another star 😄 So yeah I get what you mean. It didn't blown me away at all, which is just sad and make me terribly dissapointed 😦 Thank you!

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  2. Shannon/ It Starts at Midnight says:

    Yes, yes I agree! I rated it higher, but I am now almost doubting myself, wondering if I may have rated it mostly for the end/epilogue? That's not great. I mean, it was at LEAST a solid 4 stars either way- I definitely liked it a lot, I just wasn't as blown away as I was by Wrath. And the more I think about it, the more I agree with the things you said about the pacing and the added characters and such. GREAT review, I am glad that you enjoyed the end!! 😀

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  3. Diva Booknerd says:

    It's sad when finales introduce a horde of new characters, especially when all you really want is to do is see how your characters' story will end. It distracts from the book overall usually. Sounds as though it's a lot quieter and gentle than book one too. I'm still looking forward to reading the series but might have a few reservations about this one. So sorry that you couldn't have enjoyed it more Tasya, it sounds like a novella might be just what the series needs. Wonderful review! ❤

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  4. Nick says:

    I wasn't the biggest fan of the first book, because of the flowery writing and some issues I had with the characters, but I bought this one the other day with the hopes of reading it so I can finish the duology. I'm a bit sad to hear that it turned out to be underwhelming for you. That's not fun. But I can understand how the flowery writing didn't suit a story about war. And Tariq sounds positively annoying!
    I'm glad the epilogue was good though! 🙂
    Lovely review!

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  5. Tasya Dita says:

    Yes, Tariq get in the way all the time and cause a lot of anger for me! I just can't stand him! The amount of strong female in this book makes me happy too! ME TOO. Another novellas would be nice!

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  6. Tasya Dita says:

    Yess! I really want to see more war and magic, but they aren't present unless convenient for the plot. I think Shazi magical ability is never really developed so that's really bug me too! Thanks Jenna!

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  7. Tasya Dita says:

    I feel that way too Aentee! All I really care about are Khalid and Shazi but we're given tons of new characters. It's a bit underwhelming, especially since TWATD was really statisfying! I've been hearing confusing news about this series? I thought it was supposed to be duology, but there are also people that says it's going to be a trilogy? But looking at the ending of this book I think it's going to be a duology…

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  8. Alex Ang says:

    Ewww I honestly didn't enjoy Tariq and felt he got in the way of everything a numerous amount of times. I freaking loved this duology. SOOO beautiful, well-written and with such a strong female protagonist. The epilogue was such a tease. I think Renee needs to write an entire short story novella about Khalid and Shazi.. OMGGGG YESS AND THEIR KIDS!!!

    Awesome review and gahh I need more from Renee Ahdieh NOWWW!!

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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  9. Jenna says:

    I actually quite enjoyed this one but I did have some of the same problems with it as you did. I felt like there wasn't really enough action and war and most of it was going on in the background while other things happened. And I also had problems with the lack of magic and Artan in this book. They were only present when it was convenient and overall, I'm not sure that Shazi's magical abilities were necessary. It just felt like a massive plot device. But other than that I was pretty happy with the characters. I wish this could have been a trilogy because it might have been developed and resolved a bit better. Great review, Tasya!

    Jenna @ Happy Indulgence

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  10. Tracy says:

    I have to admit I skimmed this one because I'm currently reading book one in this series and I don't want to see any spoilers! (I haven't even read the synopsis for this one yet.) I'm disappointed that this one wasn't a great read for you, though. :/ I'm glad the epilogue at least kind of made up for it though!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

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  11. Denise @ The Bibliolater says:

    I'm sorry you were a little disappointed by this one! I really enjoyed TRATD, but I've not read this one yet, and I don't know when I will. I was really in the mood for TRATD, but the writing was a little slow, and I'm not sure if I would enjoy it if I read it now. I hate it when books have too many side plots distracting from what's really happening! I still definitely want to read this book, but I'm not desperate ♥

    Denise | The Bibliolater

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  12. Aentee says:

    Omg yesss I was a bit disappointed by this book, I felt it focused on characters I did not care for and the ones I did love feel a bit different. I agree that the prologue was perfect and they deserve all their happiness now, though. I also did not realise this was the last book so I thought the ending was very rushed!

    Aentee at Read at Midnight

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  13. Tasya Dita says:

    Oh yes, the ending of the #1 book definitely makes us dying for the #2 book right?? Well I think the best way to enjoy books are to not hype them up, therefore they'll always surprise you 😄 Shazi and Khalid doesn't have much moments in this book, but when they do… oh my *fans self*

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  14. Josephine says:

    Wonderful review! I've been anticipating this book ever since reading the first book. The ending of the first book was so action packed and hinted at much better things to come in the second book! I have heard though from a number of people that there was some slight disappointment and I'm glad I'm hearing that because I can tone down my expectations a little bit.
    I am still excited to swoon over and see more of Khalid and Shazi though! ��

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