May 12th 2015 | Pages: 388 | Genre: Historical/Fantasy | Publisher : Penguin Random house
I'm going to go ahead and reuse a .gif from my Red Queen Review
I mean we have the cold boy king Khalid, his protective cousin Jalal, the boyfriend Tariq and then his best friend Rahim.
Let me back up here. This YA novel is an adaption of the Arabic story of Scheherazade, a woman who tells the king a captivating story for 1001 nights to keep him from killing her and they eventually fall in love. You know kind of a Netflix and chill situation.
In this re-imagining when Shahrzad (who goes by Shazi) volunteers to be the sacrificial bride to the young king her plan is to enchant the caliph with her stories, earn his trust. . and then kill him. However as each dawn passes her mission and feelings towards the caliph begin to change.
In the first few chapters Ahdieh's writing is highly visual and reminded me of Marie Lu (a thought I had before I realized she'd blurbed it !) and the final chapters are just so page turn-y. It has one of the few love triangles in a book where I was feeling the feelings.
For me the story fell apart at the center. At first it seems like we are going to hear this amazing tale. . . but then we abandon the take 1/3 of the way in and the focus shifted to Shazi and the caliph doing the enemies-to-lover dance. . . and I don't know. It just felt rote until we hit the climax.
As one does in YA there is a rebellion a foot and we follow Tariq, Shazi's boyfriend, as he sort of recruits people but I'm not sure what the payoff was. It was additional backstory that just didn't click,
The audiobook narrator Ariana Delawari has one of those great unobtrusive narratives, she puts a lot of thought and emotion behind her performance of Shahrzad but her other voices blended together to me and that might have been on of the reasons I struggled with this audiobook, sometime I lost sight of who was saying what.
The book had glimmers of magic and I'll probably grab the sequel from the library to see where Ahdieh takes it next