Renée Ahdieh’s The Rose and the Dagger is the lush conclusion to her duology inspired by A Thousand and One Nights. It starts off right where The Wrath and the Dawn left off. Shahrzad reunites with family in the desert, and Khalid, her love interest in Rey, struggles to reconstruct a broken city.
Ahdieh writes in a very lyrical, but sometimes flowery way, with lots of embellishments and frills. It can be beautiful, but at times feels a little overdrawn, even unnecessarily melodramatic. Like with its predecessor The Wrath and the Dawn, it sometimes loses you in superfluous words. However, other times it works and sounds wonderfully descriptive.
The plot is for the most part very interesting, but occasionally slows. Unlike in The Wrath and the Dawn, which was pretty fast paced, The Rose and the Dagger focuses on character development. Shahrzad is learning to control her magic abilities and has to make an important decision between the safety and security of her family versus the risk life of Calipha would hold. In this sense, although the stakes are higher, Ahdieh’s story stays true to the coming of age story the YA genre so very loves.
I liked The Rose and the Dagger. If you have already read The Wrath and the Dawn, or are particularly interested in a Middle Eastern setting, I would suggest it. It is satisfying but not great- good for when you need to get out of a reading slump.