‘If you ask me, the best way to go about flying is to cut the strings tying you down.’ – Renée Ahdieh, The Rose and the Dagger
The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh is the second book in The Wrath and the Dawn Duology. Therefore, this review will contain moderate spoilers for that book and there will not be a summary of the plot. There will be some quotes used from The Rose and the Dagger but nothing that is a large spoiler or a spoiler at all if not read into.
I want to draw a line between The Wrath and the Dawn and the Rose and the Dagger. They fit together, two perfect pieces of a perfect whole, but they are very different. In The Wrath and the Dawn Renée Ahdieh took the reader through a delightfully angsty, yet playful and heart-wrenching romance with dreadful consequences. In this book, Renée Ahdieh takes the reader through all types of love, mature, life-risking love and fierce passion and determination. The focus of the book shifted on an axis, but in a way that perfectly fits the character growth of Khalid and Shazi.
The writing in this second installment is just as beautiful, lyrical and potent as the first book and was truly a delectable feast. Renée Ahdieh introduced a lot more characters, in a way that really worked well and wasn’t too overwhelming. The one thing I would have liked to have seen more with the side characters is to develop them before and give them quirks, rather than have them there at face value and deep level without any of the in between. Not for all the characters, naturally, but maybe for one or two.
One thing that I really appreciated in this book was how healthy Shazi and Khalid’s marriage was, despite curses and evil people running amok.
“No. He was not here to retrieve his wife. For his wife was not a thing to be retrieved.”
“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”
The above quotes are just two examples of how Renée Ahdieh makes equality and respect for each other incredibly romantic. It was all about give, take, sharing instead of two warring sides and belonging. The two characters were each their own characters and there were many obstacles between their romance, especially when they are separated at the beginning, but they don’t read into things more than need be and their romance thrives healthily because of their trust in each other. Although there were fewer romantic scenes between Khalid and Shazi and fewer scenes between them in general, the ones we did have were gems, absolutely stunning.
There were some deaths that killed me, some romances that made my heart swoon and some proclamations that made me feel so, so proud of these characters. This was a wonderfully rich masterpiece and absolutely worth the read. If you were wondering, I gave this book 5 stars.