Oh, this book. It was, to put it simply, beautiful. The writing, the story, the characters… Just beautiful.
Renee Ahdieh knows how to write. The way she toys with words is extraordinary. She describes everything vividly, exquisitely. The romance scenes were swoon-worthy and just steamy enough. She made my mouth water every time she mentioned food. The prose was simply gorgeous.
Let’s not ignore the plot, either. Take a look at this:
That’s Shahrzad’s funeral, by the way. Khalid is the Caliph of Khorasan, and each day he takes a new bride, only to kill her at dawn with a silk cord around her throat. Shahrzad lost her best friend this way and vowed revenge. She volunteers to marry Khalid, with full intention of killing him. She stays alive by weaving stories, enchanting her mysterious, handsome husband. And she finds herself falling in love with him.
And now, on to the characters.
Shahrzad “Shazi” Al-Khayzuran. That “plague of a girl”. She is spunky and honest. I loved her spirit and the way she changed throughout the book.
Khalid, Caliph of Khorasan. This man… I expected to hate him. But I didn’t. He is the kind of man I would like to marry one day. He is honest, brave, noble. And handsome. I just love him.
I liked pretty much everyone: Despina, Jalal, and the Rajput. But Tariq, Shazi’s childhood love, just annoyed me. Even now, almost 200 pages into the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, I still don’t like him. I think I could, if he’s developed a bit more.
One more thing. The book was full of fantastic quotes. I fully intend to buy these books one day, just to underline. Here’s just a sample:
“For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.” (I nearly cried at this part, by the way.)
“You are not weak. You are not indecisive. You are strong. Fierce. Capable beyond measure.”
“Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable…and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”
“The more a person pushes others away, the clearer it becomes he is in need of love the most.”
“I know love is fragile. And loving someone like you is near impossible. Like holding something shattered through a raging sandstorm. If you want her to love you, shelter her from that storm…And make certain that storm isn’t you.”
All-in-all, I adored this book and highly recommend it.
Thanks for reading!