Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆ (4/5)
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so mesmerized by a romance in a YA book. In fact, it is what made the book for me.
I know a lot of people say the romance is too much of an insta-love but I didn’t think it was. There was an initial attraction granted despite surrounding circumstances but their love had to develop throughout the book. I love the chemistry between Khalid and Sharzhad. They’re such great characters in their own right. Khalid is selfish and selfless; he’s passionate and aloof all at the same time. Sharzhad is full of possibilities and great pride. And together, they’re unstoppable. There were so many times the dialogue in this book could have turned into a cliche fest but instead impressed me and had me hypnotized. The “feisty” girl and the aloof bad by is such a worn out trope I thought I’d seen it all but I was pleasantly surprised.
I thought the writing of the atmosphere and setting was fantastic. It gave a very magical and and epic quality to the story. The writing in general was just fabulous, poetic and sensational but intimate at the same time. I felt like Jasmine in the Disney movie Aladdin as she was wandering outside the castle for the first time.
I had a few problems with some of the plot developments which I felt were a little unnecessary. Another thing that really bothered me was the fact that it was pretty obvious where the retelling was and the actual story. There were bits of the original Arabian nights story that were very obviously put into the story and aspects that I could obviously tell was the “retelling” part of the book. I just wish it was more subtle. Some of the side characters I could have done without but I think they’re going to be a bigger part in the sequel. I also wish there were more female characters with a substantial role in this story except the one handmaiden that Sharzhad had a friendship with.
But overall, highly recommend if only for the swoonworthy romance and equally swoonworthy writing. If you’ve read the book, stay tuned for my spoiler discussion coming Monday!