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

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.

“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.”


23 Replies to “Book Review: The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh”

  1. 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!! 😀


  2. I planned to rate this book 3 stars but the epilogue totally made me add another star XD 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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