The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
I think I am one of the few people that was disappointed with this sequel. Despite the fact that the relationship between Khalid and Shahrzad burned brightly, without all the added complications or clichés prevalent in many young adult works, the plotlines felt forced and rushed and ultimately anticlimactic. The first novel rested on the shoulders of Khalid and Shahrzad’s romance whereas this novel was driven by the plot. Surprisingly, I missed the darkly treacherous nature of the first novel.
I was continuously bored with Irsa’s plotline, I found her uncompelling and naïve in comparison to her sister. Furthermore, her thoughts and opinions held little value in advancing the plot and I thought it unwise to give her such a large role given that this is the final instalment in the series. Shahrzad was bold and reckless where her sister was meek and thoughtful and the opposition is unflatteringly highlighted.
Despite the messy nature of the plot I cannot argue that the novel moved at a quick pace, with complication following complication. However, with so many deliberately shocking plot twists it was surprising how little I was motivated to finish this novel. I was also disappointed that Shahrzad’s magical abilities were not touched upon more extensively as they were an intriguing facet of her character.
I was actually unaware that this series was a duology, so you can imagine my surprise and begrudging delight when I reached the epilogue. Nonetheless, the achingly sweet ending only served to reinforce my thoughts of this novel’s jumbled plot lines as lacking finesse, though the writing remains beautiful in its simplicity.