Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
This book had so much hype that it scared me. Would I really love it as much as others seemed to? The answer is a resounding YES!! The hype for this one is completely justified.
I was not super familiar with the original story of A Thousand and One Nights that this book is loosely based on, so I went in a bit blind. First of all, I absolutely LOVED the writing for this book. It was so incredibly beautiful and poetic and vivid. I felt like I was right there in the kingdom and like I was eating all the delicious foods. And okay, let's talk about all the food for a minute. I LOVE FOOD!! I love when food is described in books because characters have got to eat and I want to know everything they are eating. I was salivating at some of the descriptions. Amazing.
Now, let's talk about the characters. I adored Shahrzad. She was so feisty and sarcastic and quick witted. Some of her responses to people had me laughing out loud. She just had a way of saying something to an enemy and she was smiling even while her words cut like a knife. Perfect.
I didn't expect to like her husband, Khalid. He is a murderer after all. But yeah, I started to feel sympathy for him and I hated it. I was dying to know WHY he had to murder all of his brides at dawn. So was Shahrzad and she kept trying to get it out of him. The reason behind it was very sad and heartbreaking. I can see why Shahrzad fell for her husband. Despite the fact that she knew he killed her best friend, she could also see the remorse under the surface and she could see that he wasn't the monster everyone thought he was.
There was so much suspense and mystery between the secret of Khalid's brides, his uncle trying to usurp his throne and Shahrzad's family (and childhood love) trying to "rescue" her from Khalid's evil clutches. We got to see a little bit of the POV of Tariq (Shahrzad's first love) and her father. I could see why Tariq was frustrated since he didn't have all the information that Shahrzad did. And there was even a little bit of magic.
This book did start out a bit slow. I was still engaged because the writing was beautiful and the characters were very well written. But the action didn't really pick up until the 15% mark or so. That is really the only thing about this story that could have been improved. And now I am SO EXCITED for the sequel!!!
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!!