Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P Putnam
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
One Life to One Dawn.In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
I'm going to move on from the plot hole issue for now and instead concentrate on why I absolutely adored this beauty of a book. First of all, I must comment on the writing - it's beyond stunning! Renee Ahdieh really brings this world to life, with all the vivid descriptions of the landscapes, the buildings, the clothes and, let's not forget, the food. Her descriptions of the food actually had my mouth watering and my stomach rumbling. I truly longed to fall into this world, just so I could devour all of the delicious food she was describing - usually book descriptions have zero affect on me.
Next we have the characters, and there are quite a lot of them in this book. I love complex characters and there are so many of them here, characters I know we have barely scratched the surface of so far. Everyone had their own distinct personality, and they all had different motives that were driving them.
Shahrzad fascinated me, especially since she willingly offered to be sent to the palace to marry the Caliph. She's strong and determined, good with a weapon, and is a girl with a mission. She lost her best friend to the Caliph, and she wants her revenge. But then she's conflicted and torn, and I loved that side to her.
Khalid is more of an enigma, a puzzle that needs solving. You know there is more to him then we initially know. We are well aware of the fact that he kills his brides the day following the wedding, but we are not sure why. It's obvious to us that he isn't just doing it for laughs, or because he loves a great hanging in the morning!
Tariq is a character that I actually really loved, even though he seemed to annoy so many people. He is Shahrzad's childhood sweetheart, and he is determined to rescue her from the Caliph. Many didn't seem to like him, but I think they hated him because he got in the way of the romance between Khalid and Shahrzad. I'm a huge fan of the childhood sweethearts though, so I was cheering for Tariq for the majority of this book. Plus, the guy has a pet falcon! And that is just fucking awesome.
This book was wonderful and it kept me reading. But it didn't completely blow my mind as much as I had hoped. I think the sequel has the potential to become a 5/5 favourite, as long as it explores the plot hole issue.
Now, time to discuss my issue. It's spoilery so highlight at your own risk people!!!
My only problem with this book came into play once the whole curse aspect was revealed. My first issue was that I was a little disappointed with that explanation. At the beginning it mentions the rain has stopped, and that things were going wrong. I thought he had agreed to some kind of deal, where he was saving his people and Kingdom by agreeing to kill the 100 people. It's still sad and horrible, but it would make it seem a little more noble in some ways. But, nope, just an angry father seeking revenge. That didn't make too much sense to me as it really wasn't Khalid's fault. He didn't make his wife miscarry. He didn't make his wife commit suicide. So, maybe he wasn't madly in love with her but most royal marriages weren't based on love.
My other big issue with the curse was how horribly unspecific it was. I feel it should have to be as specific as wishes have to be, where you have to be super clear exactly what you want. It just seems like it only states '100 lives for the 1 you took". There is no mention of those lives having to be female. No mention that they have to get married to Khalid. So why is he marrying all these women and killing them?!? Is this explained at all? Did I miss that?!? This bugged me the whole time I was reading. The guy needed to make his curse way more specific, otherwise what is stopping Khalid just getting a criminal every morning and hanging them?!? SOMEONE TELL ME, I'M GOING CRAZY!!!
I absolutely loved this book, if it wasn't for that one small issue it would have been a 5/5 read for sure. This was the Arabian Nights retelling I had been hoping for when I tried A Thousand Nights. I can't wait to see where the story goes in the sequel.