Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger (TWATD #2) by Renee Ahdieh

A gorgeous but imperfect follow-up to one of my favorite books of 2015.

4/5 stars

cover the rose and the dagger

Unavoidable spoilers for The Wrath and the Dawn, sorry. My review of TWATD can be found here.synopsis for reviews 2

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

my thoughts for reviews 1

I was terrified to read this book. The ending of TWATD was one of the most painful cliffhangers I’ve ever read, and I didn’t want to see Shazi and Khalid’s love fall apart. While TRATD was intense and emotional, it wasn’t as heartbreaking as I expected, focusing more on character growth than drama.

I am still in love with Shahrzad’s character. Her spunk and fiery personality were a major of the story, though she tempered herself for her family’s sake. I understood why she had to hold her sass back in the rebel camp, but I missed her fearless temper that captivated me in TWATD.

It was painful to watch her be tormented for loving Khalid by her family and the other anti-caliph rebels. After she had grown so much and finally accepted her love for Khalid, she had to hide it and try to be the girl who hated him again. Needless to say, that hurt to read.

The new characters from the rebel camp were interesting. A lot of characters who had been mentioned in passing in the first book were given more complex personalities in the second book, helping to fill out the story. Meeting Shazi’s sister was one of my favorite parts of the book, as was seeing her sister get her own taste of romance. Thankfully, Tariq grew less annoying as we spent more time with him.

Back at the palace, Khalid was falling apart. Burdened both by the curse and the loss of Shazi, Khalid’s character grew more and more volatile. Again, it was painful to see one of my favorite characters so destroyed, but it also pushed his character to do new things and made him even more interesting.

Shazi and Khalid’s romance was still adorable. They are an amazing couple, and the scenes when they were together were some of my favorites in the book. I appreciated that Ahdieh held back from adding too much drama to their relationship, focusing instead on other plot lines to supply the heartbreak.

Still, I missed the excitement of seeing the two of them fall in love. That had been the most addictive part of TWATD, and without it, TRATD lacked some of the power of the first book.

In the place of Shazi and Khalid’s romance, changing loyalties and character growth came to the forefront of the plot in TRATD. Enemies were forced to find common ground, and characters developed in the face of war and relentless suffering. The growth was realistic for each character, and it happened at a reasonable pace. This was undeniably the most powerful part of the book.

The subplots and changing POVs in TRATD worked a lot better than it did in TWATD. They wove together better and created a unified story. I never felt annoyed when the focus of the story changed, something that had been a major problem for me in the first book.

Finally, fantasy elements that had barely been a part of the story in book one took on a more prevalent role in book two. Learning to use her magic and befriend magical characters helped Shazi’s character grow and made the story more interesting. I could have used even more fantasy elements, but I’m happy that any were included at least.

My main problem with TRATD is that the ending felt rushed and incomplete. I love that the series is a duology, and I don’t think that there was enough story there for a third book, but I wish that the second book had been a bit longer. As it was, the ending just appeared, tying up loose ends and resolving large conflicts quickly. Some parts even felt anticlimactic, which was mind-boggling for me after the series had been so emotional.

I would recommend reading TRATD to anyone who enjoyed TWATD. Our beloved characters are still amazing, and the story goes unexpected places. It isn’t the perfect ending, but it is worth reading to finish off the series.

Top Ten Facts About Me and The Versatile Blogger Award

Hey everyone! The TTT topic for today is Facts About Me, so I decided to combine it with the Versatile Blogger Award, since it is also fact-based. I’m awful at listing facts about myself, and it seemed like overkill to have two different posts for basically the same thing.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

top ten tuesday orange 2

10 Bookish Facts About Me

  1. I’ve been reading YA books since late elementary school.
  2. I started out really into dystopian and paranormal books, but nowadays I rarely read those genres, sticking to contemporary and fantasy.
  3. I’ve met a few of my favorite authors, including Libba Bray, Brandon Sanderson, Naomi Novik, Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff. I turned red every time.
  4. I organize my bookshelves by order of how much I enjoyed each book/series, with some special shelves depending on the genre.
  5. I love how rainbow bookshelves look, but it stresses me out to think about books I didn’t like shelved next to books I loved.
  6. My mom is really awesome and she’ll read the YA books that I tell her to. Then we can fangirl together and it’s great.
  7. I can never decide if I like paperbacks or hardcovers more. Honestly, I love them both.
  8. I break the spine of basically every paperback I read, and I know that there are ways to prevent it, but I can’t get them to work.
  9. I never read hardcovers with the dust jacket on. It’s hard to hold and I’m afraid of wrinkling it.
  10. I LOVE rereading books, and I’ve read most of my favorite books at least two times (but probably more).

Thank you to Diana Prince Reviews for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!

versatile blogger award

Rules

  • Show the award on your blog
  • Thank the person that has nominated you
  • Share 7 different facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 3 blogs of your choice (sorry I’m lazy and 15 is WAY too many)
  • Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination

7 Non-Bookish Facts About Me

  1. I just got my drivers license.
  2. I really love working with Photoshop. Sometimes I edit photos, sometimes I follow other people’s tutorials, sometimes I just make random images, but I enjoy all of it.
  3. I enjoy basically every subject in school except science. Probably, that’s just because I’ve had pretty bad science teachers, but I also just don’t connect with the material the way that I do with math/English/history.
  4. I like most foods, except for red bell peppers, cucumbers, and anything spicy.
  5. I don’t have personal accounts for social media platforms. My bookish Twitter/Instagram is my only Twitter/Instagram.
  6. My cat is a giant ball of sass and insolence…but I love her for it.
  7. I miss my sister like crazy! She’s been at a college program for the last three weeks, and while I’m glad she’s having a fun time, I wish she was home!!!

I nominate:


There it is! Sorry some of those facts are boring…it turns out I’m a boring person, apparently. Happy Tuesday!

My Make Me Read It Readathon TBR

A little while ago, I told you guys that I was going to be taking part in the Make Me Read It Readathon, hosted by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ Tea and Titles. The special part of this readathon is that YOU got to vote for what books I am going to read.

The results are in, so here is my TBR for the next week:

  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (29 votes)
  2. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (13 votes)
  3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (10 votes)
  4. Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (10 votes)
  5. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (7 votes)

There were a lot more books on my poll, but these are the winners. My goal is to read at least three books this week…which would have been easier if some of the winners hadn’t been massive.

I just have to finish up Elantris (my current read) before I start Shadow and Bone. I’m really excited to read it, especially seeing how much it killed in the poll.


Are you taking part in the readathon? What books won in your poll? Were they the ones you expected to win?

The Alphabet Book Tag

Hey everyone! I was tagged by Morgan @ Happily Ever Bookish to do the Alphabet Book Tag. She’s super sweet and you should all check her out!

The rules of this tag are pretty simple. You just have to match a read or TBR book to every letter in the alphabet. I’ll try to stick to books I’ve read and enjoyed and mark those that are on my TBR.

cover the ask and the answer

A — The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness

cover beauty queens

B — Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

cover code name verity bigger

C — Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

cover the darkest part of the forest

D — The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

cover elantris

E — Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

cover fire

 

F — Fire by Kristen Cashore

cover graceling

G — Graceling by Kristen Cashore

cover hex hall

H — Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

cover illuminae

I — Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

cover just listen

J — Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (TBR)

cover knife of never letting go

K — The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

cover VA 6

L — Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead

cover mistborn

M — Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

cover night circus

N — The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

cover out of the easy cage

O — Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

cover putting makeup on dead people

P — Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

cover queen of shadows bigger

Q — Queen of Shadows (TOG #4) by Sarah J Maas

cover rebel angels

R — Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray

cover the scorpio races

S — The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

cover the thief

T — The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

book 2
book 2

U — Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2) by Ally Carter

cover vengeance road

V — Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (TBR)

cover the well of ascention

W — The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

X — Seriously, are there any books that start with X?

cover young love murder

Y — Young Love Murder by April Brookshire

cover zeroes

Z — Zeroes by Chuck Wendig (TBR)


I tag:

A Novel Glimpse

Giovanna @ Book Coma

Jess @ Princessica of Books

And you if you want to try it!


That was harder than it seemed! There was only one letter I couldn’t do, though, so I’m pretty proud of myself.

If you’re curious about any of the books that I listed, please comment and we can talk!

Top Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings on Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic was really surprising for me! I never really use Goodreads (which I won’t get into right now), and when I do, I never really look at how many ratings a book has. The fact that some of these books have less than 2000 ratings blew me away!

1. Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander (1,251 ratings)

cover love and other unknown variables

I LOVED this book! It was an incredibly romantic and moving story that also managed to have a beautiful math motif. The fact that this book has so few ratings kills me! My review here.

2. Atlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig (446 ratings)

cover atlanta burns

Chuck Wendig is an amazing person, people. You should definitely read his blog, Terrible Minds, and you should even more definitely read some of his amazing books! Atlanta Burns is his (clearly underappreciated) YA novel, but his Miriam Black series is also deserving of more love. My review here.

3. Going Underground by Susan Vaught (637 ratings)

cover going underground

AHHHHH!!! I love this book SO MUCH. It is the perfect combination of important social commentary and sweet, amazing romance. You will fall in love with the characters and you won’t be able to forget their stories. I know I couldn’t.

4. The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer (1,983 ratings)

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I read this book a while ago and remember being completely entertained by it. The characters and the premise were exciting, and I was completely sucked in to the story.

5. Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi (997 ratings)

cover putting makeup on dead people

Again, this is a book I read a while ago, so I don’t remember specifics, but I remember being drawn in by a relatable protagonist with extremely relatable emotions.

6. The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella (281 ratings)

cover the sweetheart

Okay, so I haven’t read this book yet, but my sister swears by it. She was captivated by the story and the characters and has been pushing me to read it ever since she finished it.

7. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez (725 ratings)

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This book was HEARTBREAKING. It touched on incredibly important issues of sexism and racism with painful realism, all while capturing the reader in a historical setting. My review here.

8. Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (1,505 ratings)

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Elizabeth Wein’s book Code Name Verity has over 52,000 ratings, while this one has under 2000?!?! Both stories have beautifully drawn characters whose stories bring history to life while breaking (and then mending) your heart. My review here.

9. Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (323 ratings)

cover dream things true

Another book that touches on racism, though in the present day. This book focuses on the modern issue of illegal immigration in America, putting a human face on the suffering of undocumented immigrants while also commenting on other issues our society faces today. My review here.

10. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (1,735 ratings)

cover the weight of feathers

I didn’t go crazy for this book, I’ll admit, but the writing and the world building were absolutely gorgeous. My review here.


Have you read any of these books? What books have you loved that are underappreciated?

Happy Tuesday!