FICTION

The Wrath and the Dawn

400p. glossary. Putnam. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399171611; ebk. ISBN 9780698185890.
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RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—A reimagined tale based on One Thousand and One Nights and The Arabian Nights. In this version, the brave Shahrzad volunteers to marry the Caliph of Khorasan after her best friend is chosen as one of his virgin brides and is summarily murdered the next morning. She uses her storytelling skills, along with well-placed cliff-hangers, to keep herself alive while trying to discover a way to exact revenge on the Caliph. However, the longer she stays in the palace, the more she realizes there's more going on than just a murderous prince. While her feelings for the Caliph grow and change, the first love she left behind is busy plotting to overthrow the entire palace. When the various plotlines come together in a final conflict, the story is brought to a satisfying, if unexpected, ending. A quick moving plot and sassy, believable dialogue make this a compelling and enjoyable mystery, with just the right amount of romance and magic. The main characters are well drawn and surprisingly likable, while secondary characters also develop in endearing ways. The rich, Middle Eastern cultural context adds to the author's adept worldbuilding. Intimacy is dealt with in a straightforward way, without graphic details, and a subtle message of strength is portrayed through the brave independence of the protagonist.
VERDICT This well-written mystery will be a surefire hit with teens.

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