Let's start this off by saying that I had heard ALOT of hype about this book. It's been nominated for many awards and has gathered the attention of many readers/bloggers. The diverse story has really captured an interesting story and has alot of people pushing for more diverse stories, which is something I think we could all use.
This book really switched up the playing field of retellings and stories that are inspired by others. I really enjoyed the different setting of this first book. It was something I never really had read about before. The descriptions at first were confusing to me but throughout the book, I was able to really picture what was happening in the plot. Everything connected throughout the setting the descriptions of the city, desert, clothing and food really helped to connect the dots on an area of the world I'm not familiar with. It was exciting to explore different perspectives throughout the Khorasan's adventure.
The characters were deep and were not predictable, which I always appreciate. The perspective of the book was from an outside view which gave the book further depth as you could understand what each characters thought and how they felt thoughout the volume.
Shahrzad: This character is a strong female, which is something to be appreciated. She willingly sacrificed her life to take revenge for her friend. Although we never meet Shiva, we know that she must have been special and her death effected many around her. As the story continues we see that Shazi, as she's commonly called start to fall for her once enemy. Seeing her struggle internally to push away her feelings is hard to watch. And as much as you hate Khalid for killing so many women, you want Shazi to show her true feelings. (At least I did). As the story goes on Khalid opens up to Shazi, but when Tariq appears to rescue her she is forced to make a choice about where to stay. After she has made a choice, her choice is revoked and she is forced to leave the city. I look forward to see how she reacts to being taken.
Khalid: At first, I hated this character, as is to be expected. Stringing people up by their throats isn't really an action that makes people fond of a character. As you find out more about him you begin to wonder what is plaguing him and how his childhood made him the man he was today. At first I assumed that the death of his mother left him unstable with a female, but as you read on the magic comes to life and you realize that he is really trying to be the Caliph that the people of Khorasan deserve. Even if it involves the death of many
Jalal: He's slick this one, but quickly takes Shazi's side, something to be appreciated. I do hope that he found Despina and took care of her. They should obviously be together! Duh.
Despina: A pain at first, a nuisance, but she grew on me quickly. Her quips and friendly manner remind me of those of my own friend. This being said, being a self proclaimed spy didn't make me trust her, which is obvious. I do hope she made it out of the fires because the heartbreak for Jalal may overcome him.
Tariq: He's clearly in love with Shazi, but the idea of stealing her away interested me. She clearly has grown at least a fascination with the Caliph. She stands by his side and sticks up for him as well as herself, and she has started to make contact without a hesitation. Tariq appears unable to let go and move on which is unfortunate, but makes for a great story! And a possible revolution.
Yasmine: This girl is trouble and I expect to be seeing more of her throughout the coming sequel. She is not afraid to use her wit to get what she wants and appears to want to do anything to get to the Caliph
Moments to remember:
"'If I'm a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.' The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
'No.' His hands dropped to her waist. 'Destroy me.'
The bow and arrow clattered to the ground as he brought his mouth to hers."
"'I am not a fool.'
'No you're not. Not yet.' Despina grinned. 'But it's inevitable. When you meet the one who makes you smile as you've never smiled before, cry as you've never cried before... there is nothing to do but fall.'"
"'It's a fitting punishment for a monster. To want something so much to hold it in your arms and know beyond a doubt you will never deserve it.'"
Final Line: "Into a glorious dawn."
Thanks for reading,