Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

June 20, 2016 Review 20 ★★★½

Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Putnam
Source: Purchased
Pages: 420
Release Date: April 26th 2016
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #2
Genres: Action & Adventure, Ancient Civilizations, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Historical Fiction, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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.

“That is not the way of it. Your future is not set in stone, my dearest star.
A coin turns on itself a number of times before it lands.”

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was a favorite read of mine last year, largely in part due to the couple I shipped (they are pretty epic). But what of the sequel? What of the final book in the duology – THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER? While I do admit I had high expectations, I found the series conclusion to be somewhat lacking, although it tied things up nicely.

Second Book Syndrome?

THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER is the second and final book in this series. A conclusion should bring everything to a boil, with all the events threatening to spill over at any second. Instead. I thought this novel was kept at a safe temperature, the plot slowly simmering until the last hundred pages. Unfortunately, this meant that not much happened, and a lot of things felt like filler. On the other hand, some things were just rushed through and not given time to be developed or fully fleshed out. It also brought down the pacing – I kept looking at the page count every few turns.

The stakes are … high? I remain apathetic.

I question this statement because it never quite felt true. I’m not sure if it’s because I had trouble connecting to this installment in general, or if it’s just me, but I didn’t feel the danger. I never felt like anyone was in any peril or would get hurt. For a world on the brink of war, everything seemed relatively calm. Some events seemed like they were just thrown in to add angst, and some I couldn’t bring myself to care about, including what felt like extremely speedy introductions to characters and convenient solutions to plot conflicts.

Feels! This couple still wins all the awards.

I still love the couple and think they are a perfect match for each other, I relish every moment they are together and still marvel at the magic in their dynamic. The conclusion also brought some feels for other characters, but of course, I can’t give any of that information away!

I went back and forth on what to rate this book. Although I should round the 3.6 up to a 4, I didn’t, because I rated THE WRATH AND THE DAWN 4 stars and it was decidedly better. The ending and epilogue for THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER were satisfying, but the pages leading up to it were sadly not.

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

Rating Report
Overall: 3.6

20 Responses to “Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh”

    • Alise

      Yes! This was one of my favorite ships of all time in The Wrath and the Dawn but this one just fell sort of flat :/

  1. Tasya

    While I love TWATD, I have to admit I wasn’t too happy either with this book. Like you say, the pacing was off and the stakes don’t feel that high. I’m also really dissapointed with the so-called war. There were barely any action in the book, and Shazi’s magic and Irsa’s romance definitely feel like a filler. That epilogue was amazing though<33
    Tasya recently posted…Infinity Dreams Award

    • Alise

      I couldn’t agree more, it didn’t feel like a war at all. Even though there were some points of peril for the main character I was like meh, because it never felt real. The epilogue was great :)

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Awww well this is a little bit of a bummer Alise^^ I LOVED Wrath & Dawn but I have yet to get get my hands on this one. I need to fix that. So far the reviews for this have been varied and it’s just making me want to know which side I’ll end up on. The dreaded 2nd book syndrome worries me though – one would hope that with a duology, you’d avoid that altogether, but I guess not. I’m glad the ship still brought on the feels though because to be honest, that was the best part! (along with the world-building) *swoon*
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Searching for Dragons

    • Alise

      I agree, although this was the last book it definitely had second book syndrome. Like you, I loved Wrath, which maybe didn’t help when I dove into this one expecting just as much. Agreed, they are still so great together :)

  3. Lonna

    Hi Alise! Hope you’re having a wonderful summer. :) It’s too bad this one was only lukewarm, and wasn’t boiling over as you’d hope. Though, I’m glad to hear it was still somewhat enjoyable. It’s always so much better when you can feel the danger! In the Rose and the Dawn, I knew that Shahrzad wasn’t going to DIE, but always felt a bit worried and knew she’d probably be scraped up, banged up, or somehow screwed-(up? over?)…and I like that–a sense of fear for my beloved character. I’m still looking forward to reading ending. It’s been on my nightstand for two weeks. :D
    Lonna recently posted…Fresh Starts by Kimberly Krey Book Blast with $100 Giveaway

    • Alise

      Hi Lonna, great to talk to you again! It’s been a pretty good summer but I feel like I have less time now than when I was in uni xD It’s probably just poor time management. I also enjoy having that sense of fear because it makes the stakes feel higher.

  4. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    Aww…I’m sad to hear this felt a bit meh for you Alise. :( I was a bit ambivalent about the first book, so seeing that this one felt a bit mediocre as well makes me a little nervous. I can completely see where you’re coming from though – it’s hard to enjoy a book when it feels like it’s just filler. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Outrun the Moon

    • Alise

      I wonder what your thoughts on this one would be then! I loved Wrath so much so I expected this one to deliver that same punch and was probably more devastated than I should have been when it didn’t. Thank you so much :)

    • Alise

      The Wrath and the Dawn is still probably a favorite of mine although the sequel didn’t agree with me as well :)

    • Alise

      Yeah, they did spend a good portion of the book apart, which was lame because they have such an interesting dynamic together. I do hope you enjoy this one though!

    • Alise

      Yeah, I think that was what my main problem was – since I liked the first book so much I had really high expectations for this one.

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