The Rose and the Dagger: Aesthetics and Review
The Rose and the Dagger, the second book in The Wrath & the Dawn series, was a great follow-up to the first book that left everything wrapped up nice and tidily in the best way possible. It was perfect all in itself, but I do believe that there was a bit of a lighter feel to the plot in general (though let's be honest, Shahrzad and Khalid were pretty much perfect - it's like their state of being). However, I'll start with the good stuff since there was so much of it.
The Wrath and the Dawn left us with Khalid and Shahrzad separated, and The Rose and the Dagger starts off not too much later with them still separated, unfortunately. It sucks seeing them both apart and having to deal with their problems alone, but it's also interesting seeing how different they are when they're alone, and how their short time with each other in the last book changed them forever. I love the characters enough to adore seeing them on their own, but my heart was about to burst out of my chest the first time Shahrzad and Khalid finally saw each other again for the first time.
Once the two are together again, readers get a ton of romantic scenes between the two lovebirds. It's been a while since I read the first book so I can't really say if they're more or less romantic than they were in the first book, but boy did I swoon at Khalid. He seemed much more comfortable with Shahrzad and also much more accepting of their love, and it was perfect seeing how much he cared for her, and to what lengths he would go to protect her. At the same time, he remained a true ruler and managed to put his country first despite being the endearing, overprotective lover that he is.
While in the first book the focus was on the romance, the second book delved more deeply into the plot, which makes sense considering it's the final book in the series. The book was a whirl of read that I raced through - I read it in under four hours - but there's never a dull moment in the novel, and it lives up to everything that was promised. That being said, like I mentioned before, despite all the shocking moments that could not surprise you more, the entire book felt a bit less intense to me than The Wrath and the Dawn. Of course, this didn't disappoint me too much considering I got everything I wanted - namely, romance, great plot twists, new characters, brilliant betrayals, etc. - but it was something I noticed after finishing the book, and it's probably good information to have.
That actually might be the one and only thing I didn't love about the book though. The beginning, middle, and end were perfect, though I admit the end could have been drawn out more since everything happened so quickly, but I also concede that the speedy ending upped the shock factor; it took me a couple of seconds for the text to get to my brain, and then I burst out bawling a few minutes after "the event" (that's what I'm calling it).
Overall though, this was a lovely sequel that reads quickly and treats its readers with more swoony romantic scenes between Shahrzad and Khalid, though less than in the last book because, duh, they have more important things to worry about. Like war. I'd also like to take a moment to mention a new character, Artan, who has a flying servant, as well as a simultaneously hilarious, lovable, and grumpy and disrespectful when you first meet him disposition. I really wish he could have had a larger role in this book, but I'm happy with what I got.
Point of the story is: fear not and go forth and read this book, because if you loved the first book, then there's no way you'll be unhappy with this one.