The Wrath and the Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

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Genre: Fantasy, YA, Historical fiction, romance

First published: May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

 One life to one dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vow vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this place of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end. 


Oh my. This book is so unlike anything I have read before, so I was apprehensive before reading it. Why? I do not know. It was amazing. Considering I don’t really read fantasy I loved this book. Everything about it was incredible. I need to stop rambling and start reviewing…

Renée Ahdieh is some sort of genius. The writing in this novel is perfect – her writing style is almost poetic, in a way – it’s beautiful. I was completely at ease reading this book, seeing as it’s set in a world / place so different from what I’m used to reading (being mainly a contemporary reader). I sometimes find it harder to connect with a character when the novel is written in third person, but not with this. It was like you could understand the reasons that each character had for his actions without needing them explained in detail.

Having never read and not even knowing the basic premise of A Thousand and One Nights (something I now want to read) didn’t create an issue, which I was worried about. In fact, I had no idea whatsoever as to what to expect and so I went into this book with an open mind. I did find the world enthralling, the way the souk (outdoor market), the palace and all of the locations were described created vivid images in my mind’s eye. Colour features a lot in this novel, and I didn’t realise this until afterwards. Shahrzad’s outfits are always vibrant and I could picture them clearly and I want them – they sound so beautiful!

The plot of this novel was clearly well thought out too – a lot happened, yet it was not all crammed in like some books end up being when the author wants to include too much stuff. No, this was a fast-paced intriguing plot that kept me interested throughout. It included magic where magic worked well with the plot, yet it didn’t include it unnecessarily either. I didn’t find myself getting lost when I was reading either; I knew what was happening, to which characters and in which location. Always a good thing when you get confused as easily as I do! (This is probably why I read mostly contemporaries – they’re set in a world that I know so I avoid any confusion that a fantasy world may create!)

The characters throughout this novel were likeable too, which was a good thing. Shahrzad I could imagine getting on some people’s nerves, but I really liked her and her feisty attitude. Also Khalid, although depicted as a monster, I liked him; there was something about his character that I couldn’t quite place, but I felt that there was a sort of underlying softness about him. I don’t know – I can’t really explain it!

There is something about this book that I want to talk about, something that probably shouldn’t be mentioned because this is a review of the book and writing, not the aesthetic. But this book is gorgeous. Sorry, but the cover is absolutely beautiful and at the beginning of each new chapter the first page has a border and it is just so elegant this book! The cover design (and the chapters) completely fit the location and the theme of the book and as books go – this is one of the most beautiful I own. I know, I know, but it is stunning.

If you’re still questioning whether I’d recommend this (I’d go back and read the review – the answer is in the first paragraph)… YES. Oh my days this book was amazing and it exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I can’t sing its praises enough (and not just because I can’t sing). It was captivating and magical (literally – it included magic) and just perfect. The ending was just- The only bad thing I can think about it is that the sequel is not out until 2016… A definite pre-order – I need it in my life as soon as possible.

(Easily a) 5 / 5.

Walking in Sunshine

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It’s spring! Finally. Every year it gets to this moment and I feel like an eternity is over. Today I went on a dog walk and took a few photos because it was gorgeous and the sun was out. I love the sun. Like, love it. There’s still a chill in the air, but it’s getting warmer, meaning that soon it’ll be vest tops and dresses and sandals (my favourite pair of shoes is a pair of heeled sandals). Daffodils are coming out and they’re so beautiful – they always cheer me up because they make me think of warmth and spring and summer.

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The scenery of the walk was gorgeous as well. I’ve walked it several times before, but in the sun it just looked so gorgeous and I loved it. I can’t wait for the summer now. I really cannot wait. This is not a long post this week, because I’ve been planning several others and taking photographs etc. I just wanted to share some of these photos and my enthusiasm for the coming months. Even my stress levels decrease when the sun’s out. AS level exams? Bring them on.

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Spring is such a happy season because it promises warmth and sunlight to come. That’s how I see it anyway. It doesn’t seem like long ago since I wrote my Autumn post… And yet it does. I just want spring to stay forever with it’s new life and beauty. One can dream!

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Reflecting upon a week at Blencathra Field Centre

I have to say, before I talk about the centre, because I haven’t really done so yet, that there are a couple of things that I have realised through blogging everyday. The first is that, having read over my previous posts from earlier this week, I’ve noticed that the weather can influence my mood as though there is sensor built into me. If the weather is bad, I’m in a foul mood (really, really, foul) whereas if the weather is good, everything else is good too. Seriously, I knew it affected my mood, but I didn’t realise quite how badly it did so, although, I was feeling ill, so maybe that had an impact, especially for the first few days. Secondly, I’ve realised that reading over what I have written, I now think about the week completely differently. Blogging this week has been a little like keeping a diary, just everything is there for anyone to read (probably not the best idea for someone who writes / speaks before they think, but oh well). I did exactly the same on my Duke of Edinburgh award expeditions – every step I wanted to be at home, yet if someone asked me now whether I wanted to go, I would say yes in a heartbeat. This week has been similar, in a way, though different because I didn’t want to be at home every minute I was at the centre, unlike DofE, I really, really, enjoyed a large amount of the time – it was just the rain (definite theme – mood and weather – here) that made me want to be tucked up in bed, hiding from the world, but it does that to me anyway, wherever I am. Anyway, I have also realised that the wordpress app means that I am a lot more concise in blog posts, but that’s unrelated to this post…

So the centre – Blencathra Field Studies Centre (I believe that’s the full, correct name). I’m going to split it into subheadings that I’d like to talk about.

Location: What a location. Seriously, it was gorgeous. At the start of the week I began questioning, “where is civilisation?” and by the end I didn’t want to come back to my house with its views of the street. It is situated at the foot of the Blencathra mountain and looks across the valley. I was lucky enough to be put in a room overlooking this valley so waking up and looking out over it was a treat every morning. It was even stunning covered in snow – yes, I did say that.

Rooms / Accommodation: The rooms were decent. Considering their purpose, they fitted it extremely well, to be honest. They were rather on the small side, but we didn’t spend a huge amount of time in them anyway at the end of the day, so it didn’t matter in the end. One thing the centre could do with is more showers and toilets – if not just loos. There were only two (that I could find) for about four (?) rooms and it was the same for the showers. The showers actually worked out okay, I had one quite late in the evening so I didn’t have to queue or wait for one, but I did have to wait for the toilet a couple of times. Other than that though, everything was kept really clean and tidy. I have to add this – the accommodation was lovely and warm. I’ve been on school trips where the heating has not worked or whatever, thankfully at the centre it was perfectly comfortable – something which I am very grateful about!

Facilities: These were really, really good. I must confess I was surprised at the amount there was for us. There were several classrooms (I saw four, but I didn’t wander round too much or visit the other outbuildings) which were equipped with new technology and so the lessons were much more interesting and interactive. Also, there was a library, two recreation / lounge rooms in the main building (my school occupied one of their cottages too which had its own lounge area – which is where I went), one of which had a pool, table tennis and football table in. All three that I saw had TVs. The library had computers for us to use whenever we wanted them, which would have been useful if I needed to type up some work or do further research (I personally didn’t, however I noticed other people at the centre using the computers). The centre wifi was a bonus as well. I was expecting it to only work in a couple of the downstairs, communal rooms, however it worked all over the centre (well, the cottage nearest the main building and my room, which was in the main building) and it was a really strong connection too – something teenagers definitely appreciate! There was also a drying room to leave our wet boots etc and a pantry where we could make ourselves a hot drink or squash and there would be cake when we arrived back after a day out. I know there was a shop too, but I never visited it!

Food: I’m going to start with the breakfast, as normally although I’m hungry in the morning, I really don’t like breakfast as I don’t enjoy breakfast foods. However, every morning I had cooked food and it was so good. The fact that there was the opportunity for tea and coffee helped my morning as well – I have to have a cup of tea in the morning! We had to make our own sandwiches for lunch, but that was fine because of the selection for fillings; tuna, ham, cheese, sausage, cucumber, the list goes on. It was very well thought through and laid out as well. The dinners were probably my least favourite meal of the day, but that does not mean that they were bad, I simply preferred the breakfast! I did like the way that they’d make you a jacket potato if you didn’t like what was on offer – that was a good touch.

Staff: I was with two main members of staff from the centre during the stay; Katy and Richard. I really have to say that they were both so lovely and relaxed, it made the whole experience better (there’s nothing worse than having a sour-faced teacher casting a dark cloud over every lesson). They’d both have a laugh and a joke and I couldn’t fault either of them – I really couldn’t – Thank you both. Katy always seemed to smile and was really patient (especially when we were lagging behind) and Richard would easily have a laugh with us and would wind us up. They both delivered the lessons in a way that didn’t send people to sleep (and although in my first post I said it wasn’t particularly helpful for me, I, in my bad mood, didn’t mention the fact that it was interactive and interesting – and it was definitely more applicable after going out the following day). All the other centre staff seemed friendly too, the instructors more so than the rest of the staff, but everyone seemed pleasant.

Fieldwork / Lessons: Seeing as this is the main reason we actually came to the centre, I can’t possibly miss it out! The way it worked was that we’d have a lesson the evening before we went out (for example on Tuesday we learnt about fieldwork techniques and what the exam would be asking us (which is quite a relief – I had no clue!) and then on Wednesday we went out and completed the fieldwork). Sometimes I didn’t see the relevance of the lesson until the next day, until I realised “That’s why we did that!”. I definitely preferred going out to sitting in the classroom (even on Tuesday in the bitter cold) because I just loved the Lake District and the countryside – it was so stunning! I realise now, when I was thinking about how much we’ve done over the week, how interesting the Keswick walk actually was – I definitely learned  something as I can remember a lot of the things Katy said about defences I’d never heard about before! Ditto the walk up to the corrie, although I enjoyed the walking part anyway! The Carlisle survey I found quite interesting as there were some things that I noticed which I would never normally take note of wherever I was. Today we kept it simple and had a tour of the site, where they showed us how the site was run and we learnt about their biomass and hydroelectric schemes, which I found more interesting than I thought I would as energy is probably my least favourite topic of the course. Hydrology is my favourite, so having two days focusing on rivers was a bonus for me! My favourite day was probably, thinking about it, Wednesday, when we took the river measurements. I learnt so much about fieldwork that day as before I’d only ever done really simple fieldwork with about three or four simple parts to it, whereas there was a lot more to do for this one which made it more interesting, in my opinion.

Overall: This week has been a weird one for me, but a good one all the same. It was not what I expected, because I didn’t know what to expect, instead it was better than I thought it could be. It truly has been an amazing opportunity in an incredibly beautiful location. I say this week was weird because it put me out of my comfort zone and also I never seemed to be able to make up my mind about how I liked everything. However, now, after reflecting upon the experience, I have come to the conclusion that actually, should someone say “Would you go again?” my answer would be a resounding “Yes.” because I would happily do it all again.

One final Lake District post will go up tomorrow; it will include a large number of photos from Tuesday especially, I have some beautiful pictures from that day.

Autumn!

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So autumn arrived a while ago and it has to be the most beautiful season. It’s not my favourite season, because it’s getting colder (and I don’t cope well with being cold) but I love it when I’m sitting at home or going on a walk. Not so much when I’m sitting in my English classrooms and both of my teachers like open windows and it’s freezing. But still. I went out with my boyfriend the other day to take some pictures of this season because it’s so lovely with all of the colours in the trees. Sadly, it’s nearly winter and every day there are less and less leaves on the trees and more making a gloomy, slippery mess on the pathways. I’m not a winter person, I’d happily hibernate, despite my birthday and christmas being in December!

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Then comes Halloween / Samhain which is fun (apart from the constant ringing of the doorbell – I am the Scrooge of Halloween and never answer) but I do like the idea of dressing up and some of the decorations available are quite cute too. Not that I dressed up or decorated the house. I have such an exciting social life I stayed in planning NaNoWriMo.

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And of course, November has arrived and NaNoWriMo has begun! I’ve decided to try and complete it. I didn’t hear about it that long ago, and I’ve never written anything longer than about 13,000 words, so 50,000 is going to be a huge challenge, especially seeing as I seem to have extended exam questions thrown at me for three of my four subjects, but hey. It’s worth a try. If I complete half then I’ll have written more words for one piece of work than I have before, so that’s something! But I was surprised the other day when I discovered that the book I am currently reading (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) was actually written (well, started – it’s really quite long) during NaNoWriMo. That’s inspiring, especially as I bought it ages ago to read because it looked good as opposed to reading it because of it being written during NaNoWriMo! I may do a little review type blog post for it when I finish it (if I ever get time to read). I know it’s a YA, but I like YA novels, the characters are relatable and they’re easier to read than other books, but a lot still have a depth to them which keeps them interesting.

I’ve just realised that I’ve completely gone off topic – this post is titled “Autumn!” so talk about autumn.

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Another great thing about autumn is that chestnuts are back in the supermarket! I love them, I don’t know why, but I do! They’re ridiculously unhealthy because I put loads of salt on them and I always end up with sore fingers from peeling them but they’re so good!

Jumpers are another amazing thing about autumn! I can actually wear jumpers and be the perfect temperature. I love snuggling up in them. Maybe I’m weird, but it’s nice.

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I’m loving scented candles too at the moment, and I think that my obsession came at just the right tine as there’s something about lighting a candle during a dark evening. They make the room seem so cosy and relaxed, which helps when doing homework! And they smell amazing. Which is obviously a bonus!

Anyway, next week won’t be so much rambling… I really should think of specific topics and not something I can veer away from so easily. Bye!

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