“He was not here to wreak revenge. For revenge was trifling and hollow. No. He was not here to retrieve his wife. For his wife was not a thing to be retrieved.”

The Rose and the Dagger is the sequel of The Wrath and the Dawn written by beautiful, talented Renée Adhieh. I admire her not only for her extraordinary writing skills but for her engagement to produce and support more Diversity in books.

In the first installment we meet Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan who takes a new bride only to have her killed by the next morning. He gets married to sixteen-year-old Shahrzad who seeks revenge for her best friend. At first Shazi only tries to survive by telling beautiful stories to the Caliph ever night but soon she finds herself falling in love with the boy she always believed to be a monster. She learns that Khalid is forced to kill all this girls because he’d been cursed.
In this second novel the two of them try to get rid of that curse while their land is at the brink of war.

I really adored The Wrath and the Dawn, because of its agitating, lovely writing and the power Adhieh ascribes to female characters. In The Rose and the Dagger the writing is equally beautiful and the novels’ ending is the final demonstration of girl power. I will even go so far as to say that the second installment is a piece of feminist fiction. I don’t want to spoil too much but I’ll say this: Women save themselves in this one. More than once. Besides there is a lot of solidarity between them and men who support woman in power. This is rare in YA and was so pleasant to read for a change.

I wasn’t a fan of the instalove and love triangle presented in the first novel so I was very pleased to see it dissolve into the background in The Rose and the Dagger. Romance still played its part but it hid behind more action and dangerous tasks. As to action, I think the novel could have been paced faster. Some situations developed too slowly, taking away the feeling of immediate danger for the characters. Yet other situations were dealt with too quickly for my liking.

To finish, let’s talk characters: THERE ARE SO MANY AWESOME ONES!!
I really can’t decide who I liked best. I love Shazi for her stubbornness and strong will, I admire Khalid for being just but kind and I’d be friends with Irsa for her readiness to help others.
Not all characters are going to have a happy end though and I’m not sure I can forgive Adhieh yet.

Nevertheless I’m going to rate The Rose and the Dagger with 5 out of 5 feathers. It deserves it because of its evocative language and empowering, diverse characters.
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What did you think about The Rose and the Dagger?
Can you recommend other YA Novels with girl power? (As little romance as possible please!)
Tell us in the comments!

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