# of Pages: 388
Source: Purchased Copy, Books-A-Million
- "My soul sees its equal in you."
- "Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky."
- "You honestly expect me to breathe in a world without air?"
- "You have a beautiful laugh. Like the promise of tomorrow."
- "I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it."
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Korasan, 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 Shahrzads' dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determine 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 palace 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?
This book...I wish I could even begin to find the right words to describe it. First, if you are a fan of re-tellings and books that re-imagine classic stories then this is definitely the book to check out. The most beautiful aspect of this book was strength of the main character Shahrzad. To take on the task of killing a king after he has murdered every single woman that has harked his doorstep is truly enchanting. I'm clearly a big fan of strong female characters. It was not only her courage, but her determination to avenge a wrong that had been committed against her best friend that set the tone of the novel. It is also understandable that Ahdieh gave Shazi a softer side, a side that ended up falling for the very man that killed her best friend. The combination of her soft and more intense personas made Shazi more human and easier to relate to. Shazi illustrates that all is not what it seems on the outside. Sometimes one has to dig a little deeper to get the whole picture.
One of the most interesting aspects of this novel was the inclusion of magical elements. Magical elements that seemed to control both the fate of the Khalid and Shazi. However, I did hope for a stronger development of these magical elements; maybe an explanation of where they come from. I'm assuming that this information will be further developed in the future novels. It was almost as if certain characters were able to harness these special powers; however, readers were not privileged in knowing and understanding their purpose or origins.
Lastly one major concept that brings the novel together is it's reflection of the classic tale One Thousand and One Nights. Ahdieh does a beautiful job of incorporating the traditional Middle Eastern culture into the novel. It exposes readers to concepts and terms they typically would not be familiar with. The reader has a broader cultural experience which is not always guaranteed in young adult fiction. Along with the development of the characters and the various magical element, this part of the novel gives the overall story a beautiful and enriching experience rewarding to all readers.
Rating: 4/5 Stars