The Rose and the Dagger (Wrath and the Dawn Series #2)

The Rose and the Dagger (Wrath and the Dawn Series #2)

by Renée Ahdieh

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399171628
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 04/26/2016
Series: Wrath and the Dawn Series , #2
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 293,792
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Renée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog. The Rose and the Dagger is the sequel to her sparkling debut novel, The Wrath and the Dawn.

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE
 
The girl was eleven and three-quarters.
Three very important quarters.
They’d been of consequence when her father had left her in charge this morning, with an important task to accomplish. So, with a world-weary sigh, she pushed up her tattered sleeves and heaved rubble into the nearby wheelbarrow.
“It’s so heavy,” her eight-year-old brother complained, as he struggled to move a piece of debris from their home. He coughed when a cloud of soot rose from the charred remains.
“Let me help.” The girl dropped her shovel with a clang.
“I didn’t say I needed help!”
“We should work together, or we won’t finish cleaning every­thing before Baba returns home.” She braced her fists on her hips while glaring down at him.
“Look around you!” He threw his hands in the air. “We’ll never finish cleaning everything.”
Her eyes followed his hands.
The clay walls of their home were ripped apart. Broken. Black­ened. Their roof opened up to the heavens. To a dull and forlorn sky.
To what once had been a glorious city.
A midday sun lay hidden behind the shattered rooftops of Rey. It cut shadows of light and dark across angry stone and scorched marble. Here and there, smoldering piles of rubble served as a harsh reminder of what had taken place only a few short days ago.
The young girl hardened her gaze and stepped closer to her brother.
“If you don’t want to work, then wait outside. But I’m going to keep working. Someone has to.” Again, she reached for her shovel.
The boy kicked at a nearby stone. It skittered across the packed earth before crashing to a halt at the foot of a hooded stranger standing by the remains of their door.
Tensing her grip on the shovel, the girl eased her brother be­hind her.
“May I help you . . .? ” She paused. The stranger’s black rida’ was embroidered in silver and gold thread. The scabbard of his sword was finely etched and delicately bejeweled, and his sandals were cut from the highest-quality calfskin.
He was no mere brigand.
The girl stood taller. “May I help you, sahib?”
When he did not answer right away, the girl raised the shovel higher, her brow taut and her heart hammering in her chest.
The stranger stepped from beneath the sagging doorjamb. He threw back his hood and raised both palms in supplication. Each of his gestures was careful, and he moved with a liquid kind of grace.
As he strode into a weak slice of light, the girl saw his face for the first time.
He was younger than she expected. No more than twenty.
His face approached beautiful. But its angles were too harsh, his expression too severe. The sunlight on his hands revealed something at odds with the rest of his finery; the skin of his palms was red and cracked and peeling—evidence of hard labor.
His tired eyes were a tawny-gold color. She’d seen eyes like that once. In a painting of a lion.
“I didn’t mean to startle you,” the stranger said softly. His eyes shifted around the ruin of their one-room abode. “May I speak to your father?”
The girl’s suspicion gripped her once more. “He’s—not here. He went to stand in line for building supplies.”
The stranger nodded. “And your mother?”
“She’s dead,” her brother said, stirring from behind her. “The roof fell on her during the storm. She died the next morning.”
There was an unassuming quality to his words that the girl did not feel. Because to her brother, the words were not yet real. For after they’d lost nearly everything in last year’s drought, the storm had taken its final toll on their family.
And her brother had yet to grasp this most recent loss.
The stranger’s severity deepened for an instant. He looked away, and his hands fell to his sides. After a beat, he looked back at them, his eyes unwavering, despite his white-knuckled fists. “Do you have another shovel?”
“Why do you need a shovel, rich man?” Her little brother marched up to the stranger, accusation in each of his barefooted steps.
“Kamyar!” His sister gasped as she reached for the back of his ragged qamis.
The stranger blinked down at her brother before crouching on the packed-earth floor. “Kamyar, was it?” he asked, a trace of a smile adorning his lips.
Her brother said nothing, though he was barely able to meet the tall stranger’s eyes.
“I—I apologize, sahib,” the girl stammered. “He’s a bit insolent.”
“Please don’t apologize. I rather appreciate insolence, when it’s dispensed by the right person.” This time, the stranger did smile, and his features softened.
“Yes,” her brother interrupted. “My name is Kamyar. What is yours?”
The stranger studied her brother for a moment.
“Khalid.”
“Why do you want a shovel, Khalid?” her brother demanded again.
“I’d like to help you repair your home.”
“Why?”
“Because when we help one another, we are able to accomplish things faster.”
Kamyar nodded slowly, then canted his head to one side. “But this isn’t your home. Why should you care?”
“Because Rey is my home. And Rey is your home. If you could help me when I needed help, would you not wish to do so?”
“Yes,” Kamyar said without hesitation. “I would.”
“Then it’s settled.” The stranger stood. “Will you share your shovel with me, Kamyar?”
For the rest of the afternoon, the trio worked to clear the floor of charred wood and waterlogged debris. The girl never gave the stranger her name and refused to call him anything but sahib, but Kamyar treated him like a long-lost friend with a common enemy. When the stranger gave them water and lavash bread to eat, the girl dipped her head and touched her fingertips to her brow in thanks.
A flush rose in her cheeks when the almost-beautiful stranger returned the gesture, without a word.
Soon, the day began bruising into night, and Kamyar wedged himself into a corner, his chin drooping to his chest, and his eyes slowly falling shut.
The stranger finished arranging the last of the salvageable pieces of wood by the door, and shook the dirt from his rida’ be­fore pulling the hood of his cloak back over his head. “Thank you,” the girl murmured, knowing that was the least she should do.
He glanced over his shoulder at her. Then the stranger reached into his cloak and produced a small pouch cinched shut by a leather cord.
“Please. Take it.”
“No, sahib.” She shook her head. “I cannot take your money. We’ve already taken enough of your generosity.”
“It isn’t much. I’d like for you to take it.” His eyes, which had appeared tired at the outset, now looked beyond exhausted. “Please.”
There was something about his face in that moment, hidden as it was in the play of shadows, in the lingering motes of ash and dust . . .
Something about it that signified a deeper suffering than the girl could ever hope to fathom.
She took the small pouch from his hand.
“Thank you,” he whispered. As though he were the one in need.
“Shiva,” she said. “My name is Shiva.”
Disbelief flared on his features for an instant. Then the sharp planes of his face smoothed.
“Of course it is.” He bowed low, with a hand to his brow.
Despite her confusion, she managed to respond in kind, her fingers brushing her forehead. When she looked up again, he had turned the corner.
And disappeared into the wending darkness of night.
 
THE WATER LIES
 
It was only a ring.
Yet it signified so much to her.
Much to lose. Much to fight for.
Shahrzad lifted her hand into a stream of light. The ring of muted gold flashed twice, as if to remind her of its mate, far across the Sea of Sand.
Khalid.
Her thoughts drifted to the marble palace in Rey. To Khalid. She hoped he was with Jalal or with his uncle, the shahrban.
She hoped he was not alone. Adrift. Wondering . . .
Why am I not with him?
Her lips pressed tight.
Because the last time I was in Rey, thousands of innocent people perished.
And Shahrzad could not return until she’d found a way to protect her people. Her love. A way to end Khalid’s terrible curse.
Outside her tent, a goat began to bleat with merry abandon.
Her temper mounting, Shahrzad flung off her makeshift blan­ket and reached for the dagger beside her bedroll. An empty threat, but she knew she should at least fight for a semblance of control.
As if to mock her, the shrill sounds beyond her tent grew more incessant.
Is that a . . . bell?
The little beast outside had a bell around its neck! And now the clanging and the bleating all but ensured the impossibility of sleep.
Shahrzad sat up, gripping the jeweled hilt of her dagger—
Then, with an exasperated cry, she fell back against the itchy wool of her bedroll.
It’s not as though I’m managing to sleep as it is.
Not when she was so far from home. So far from where her heart longed to be.
She swallowed the sudden lump that formed in her throat. Her thumb brushed against the ring with two crossed swords— the ring Khalid had placed on her right hand a mere fortnight ago.
Enough. Nothing will be accomplished from such nonsense.
Again she sat up, her eyes scanning her new surroundings.
Irsa’s bedroll was neatly stashed to one side of the small tent. Her younger sister had likely been awake for hours, baking bread, making tea, and braiding the contemptible goat’s chin hair.
Shahrzad almost smiled, despite everything.
Her wariness taking shape in the gloom, she tucked the dagger into her waistband, then stretched to her feet. Every muscle in her body ached from days of hard travel and nights of poor sleep.
Three nights of worry. Three nights spent fleeing a city set to flame. An endless fount of questions without answers. Those three long nights of worry for her father, whose battered body had yet to recover from whatever damage it had incurred on the hilltops outside Rey.
Shahrzad took a deep breath.
The air here was strange. Drier. Crisp. Soft bars of light slanted through the tent seams. A thin layer of fine silt clung to every­thing. It made her tiny world appear as though it were fashioned of diamond-dusted darkness.
On one side of the tent was a small table with a porcelain pitcher and a copper basin. Shahrzad’s meager belongings were perched beside it, wrapped in the threadbare carpet given to her by Musa Zaragoza several months ago. She knelt before the table and filled the basin with water for washing.
The water was tepid, but clean. Her reflection looked strangely calm as it stared back at her.
Calm yet distorted.
The face of a girl who had lost everything and nothing in the stretch of a single night.
She slipped both hands into the water. Her skin looked pale and creamy below its surface. Not its usual warm bronze color. She fixed her gaze on the place where the water met the air, on the strange bend that made it seem as though her hands were in a different world beneath the water—
A world that moved more slowly and told stories.
The water lies.
She splashed some water onto her face and dragged her damp fingers through her hair. Then she lifted the lid from the small wooden container nearby and used a pinch of the ground mint, white pepper, and crushed rock salt stored within to cleanse her mouth of sleep.
“You’re awake. After you arrived so late last night, I didn’t think you would rise so early.” Shahrzad turned to see Irsa standing beneath the open tent flap. A triangle of desert light silhouetted her sister’s slender frame.
Irsa smiled, her gamine features coming into focus. “You never used to wake for breakfast before.” She ducked into the tent, se­curing the tent flap closed behind her.
“Who can sleep with that damnable goat shrieking outside?” Shahrzad flicked water at Irsa to divert her inevitable onslaught of questions.
“You mean Farbod?”
“You’ve named the little beast?” Shahrzad grinned as she be­gan plaiting the tangled waves of her hair into a braid.
“He’s quite sweet.” Irsa frowned. “You should give him a chance.”
“Please tell Farbod that—should he persist in his early morn­ing recitals—my favorite meal is stewed goat, served in a sauce of pomegranates and crushed walnuts.”
“Ha!” Irsa took a long stretch of twine from the pocket of her wrinkled sirwal trowsers. “I suppose we shouldn’t forget we’re now in the presence of royalty.” She bound the length of twine around the end of Shahrzad’s braid. “I’ll warn Farbod not to fur­ther offend Khorasan’s illustrious calipha.”
Shahrzad glanced over her shoulder into Irsa’s pale eyes.
“You’ve gotten so tall,” she said quietly. “When did you get so tall?”
Irsa wrapped both arms around her sister’s waist. “I’ve missed you.” Her fingertips grazed the hilt of the dagger, and she pulled back in alarm. “Why are you carrying—”
“Is Baba awake yet?” Shahrzad smiled overbrightly. “Can you take me to see him?”

The night of the storm, Shahrzad had ridden with Tariq and Rahim to a hilltop outside Rey, in search of her father.
She’d been unprepared for what they’d found.
Jahandar al-Khayzuran had been curled in a puddle around an old, leather-bound book.
His bare feet and hands were burned. Red and raw and abraded. His hair was falling out in clumps. The rain had gath­ered them in the mud, smashing the strands against wet stone, like so many discarded things.
Her sister’s dappled horse was long-since dead. Its throat had been slashed. The blood had drained in rivulets from a vicious wound at its neck. Veins of mud and drifting ash had melded with the crimson to form a sinister tracery across the hillside.
Shahrzad would never forget the image of her father’s hud­dled body against the red-and-grey slope.
When she’d tried to pry Jahandar’s fingers away from the book, he’d cried out in a language she’d never heard him speak before. His eyes had rolled back into his head, and his lashes had flut­tered closed, never to open again, not once in the four days since.
And until they did, Shahrzad refused to leave him.
She had to know her father was safe. She had to know what he had done.
No matter what—or whom—she’d left behind in Rey.

“Baba?” Shahrzad said softly, as she knelt beside him in his small tent.
He shuddered in his sleep, his fingers wrapping tighter around the ancient tome clutched in his arms. Even in his delirium, Jahandar had refused to relinquish the book. Not a soul had been permitted to touch it.
Irsa sighed. She stooped next to Shahrzad and handed her a tumbler of water.
Shahrzad held the cup to her father’s cracked lips. She waited until she felt him swallow. He muttered to himself, then turned back on his side, tucking the book farther beneath his blankets.
“What did you put in this?” Shahrzad asked Irsa. “It smells nice.”
“Just some fresh mint and honey. Also a few tea herbs and a bit of milk. You said he hasn’t eaten anything in a few days. I thought it might help.” Irsa shrugged.
“It’s a good idea. I should have thought of it.”
“Don’t scold yourself. It doesn’t suit you. And . . . you’ve done more than enough.” Irsa spoke with a wisdom beyond her fourteen years. “Baba will wake soon. I—know it.” She bit her lip, her tone lacking conviction. “Calm is needed to heal his wounds. And time.”
Shahrzad said nothing as she studied her father’s hands. The burns there had blistered alongside bruised purples and garish reds.
What did he do on the night of the storm?
What have we done?
“You should eat. You barely ate anything when you arrived last night,” Irsa interrupted Shahrzad’s thoughts.
Before she could protest, Irsa removed the tumbler from Shahrzad’s hand, hauling her to her feet and dragging her into the dunes beyond their father’s tent. The scent of roasting meat hung heavy in the desert air, the smoke above them an aimless cloud. Silken grains of sand sifted between Shahrzad’s toes, just near too hot to bear. Harsh rays of sunlight blurred everything they touched.
As they walked, Shahrzad glanced around the Badawi camp through slitted eyes, studying the hustle and bustle of mostly smiling faces; people carrying bushels of grain and bundles of goods from one corner to the next. The children seemed happy enough, though it was impossible to ignore the gleaming assort­ment of weaponry—the swords and axes and arrows—lying in the shadow of curing animal skins. Impossible to ignore them or their unassailable meaning . . .
Preparations for the coming war.
“And I shall take from you these lives, a thousandfold.”
Shahrzad stiffened, then drew back her shoulders, refusing to burden her sister with these troubles. Such troubles were meant for those with unique abilities.
Those like Musa Zaragoza, the magus from the Fire Temple.
Though it took effort, Shahrzad shrugged off the curse’s in­terminable weight. She walked with Irsa through the enclave of tents toward the largest, at center. It was an impressive structure, patchworked though it was: a hodgepodge of sun-worn colors, with a faded pennant at its apex, gamboling about in the breeze. A hooded sentry cloaked in roughspun stood at the tent’s entrance.
“No weapons.” The soldier’s hand clamped down on Shahr­zad’s shoulder with the force of a lifelong aggressor. The sort who enjoyed his role far more than he should.
Despite her wiser inclinations, Shahrzad’s response was im­mediate and automatic. She shoved his hand away, her scowl set.
I am in no mood for boorish men. Or their warmongering.
“Weapons are not permitted in the sheikh’s tent.” The sol­dier reached for her dagger, his eyes glittering with an unspoken threat.
“Touch me again, and I’ll—”
“Shazi!” Irsa moved to placate the soldier. “Please excuse my—”
The soldier pushed Irsa back. Without a moment’s thought, Shahrzad slammed both fists into his chest. He staggered to one side, his nostrils flaring. Behind her, she heard men begin to shout.
“What are you doing, Shahrzad!” Irsa cried, her shock at her sister’s recklessness etched across her face.
Enraged, the soldier took hold of Shahrzad’s forearm. She braced herself for the coming fight, her toes curled and her knuckles clenched.
“Let go of her immediately!” A tall shadow loomed upon the soldier.
Perfect.
Shahrzad winced, a flash of guilt warring with her fury.
“I don’t need your help, Tariq,” she said through gritted teeth.
“I’m not helping you.” He strode closer, aiming a brief but quelling stare in her direction. His unconcealed pain was raw enough to rob her of mettle.
Will he never forgive me?
The soldier turned to Tariq with a deference that would, un­der normal circumstances, irritate Shahrzad immensely. “Apologies, sahib, but she refused to—”
“Release her at once. I didn’t ask for excuses. Follow orders or be met with the consequences, soldier.”
The soldier released her with reluctance. Shahrzad shoved off his grasp. Steeling herself with a breath, she faced those nearby. Rahim stood at Tariq’s shoulder; several young men were at his opposing flank. One was a reed-thin boy sporting the guise of a much older man. His beard was growing in patches over a long, lean face, and his comically stern eyebrows were cut over ice-cold eyes.
Eyes that watched her with abject hatred.
Her fingers shifted toward her dagger.
“Thank you, Tariq,” Irsa said, since Shahrzad had yet to offer a shred of gratitude.
“Of course,” he replied with an awkward nod.
Shahrzad chewed at the inside of her cheek. “I—”
“Don’t trouble yourself, Shazi. We’re beyond such things.” Tariq knocked the cowl of his rida’ back and ducked through the en­trance of the tent, sparing himself more of her company. The boy with the ice-cold eyes glowered at Shahrzad before following suit. Rahim paused beside her, his expression grim, as though he had expected better. Then he stepped closer to Irsa, his head tilted in question. Her sister sent half a smile his way. Sighing softly, Rahim trudged past them into the tent, without a single word.
Irsa elbowed Shahrzad in the ribs. “What’s wrong with you?” she admonished in a whisper. “We’re guests here. You can’t be­have in such a manner.”
Chastened, Shahrzad nodded curtly before striding through the cavernous hollow.
It took her eyes time to adjust to the sudden darkness. A series of brass lamps hung at lazy intervals from the wooden rafters above, their thready light pale after the desert sun. At the far end of the tent was a long, low table, crafted of roughhewn teak­wood. Worn woolen cushions were thrown about in haphazard piles. Screaming children scurried past Shahrzad, blind to all but their single-minded quest for the most esteemed position at the breakfast table.
Seated at the very center of this teeth-rattling tumult was an old man with a keen pair of eyes and an unkempt beard. When he saw Shahrzad, he smiled at her with a surprising amount of warmth. To his left was a woman of similar age with a long braid of muted copper. At his right sat Shiva’s father, Reza bin-Latief. Shahrzad’s stomach tensed, her flash of guilt resurfacing. She’d seen him last night, but in the clamor of their arrival the exchange had been brief, and she was not yet certain she was ready to face Shiva’s father.
So soon after failing to exact revenge for the murder of his daughter.
So soon after falling in love with the very boy who had mur­dered her.
Deciding it was best to avoid unwanted attention, Shahrzad kept her head down and took the cushion beside Irsa, across from Tariq and Rahim.
She avoided the gazes of those around her, especially that of the boy with the ice-fire eyes, who took every opportunity to burn through her with the heat of his discomfiting stare. The de­sire to draw attention to his behavior was always at the forefront of her mind, but Irsa’s earlier admonition continued to ring true: she was a guest here.
And she could not behave in such a reckless manner.
Not with the welfare of her family at stake.
A leg of roasted lamb was placed at the center of the well-worn table. Its serving platter was an immense affair of ham­mered silver, dented on all sides from age and use. Thick slices of barbari bread, coated with butter and rolled in black sesame seeds, were left in baskets nearby, alongside chipped bowls of whole radishes and slabs of salted goat cheese. Squabbling chil­dren reached for the radishes and tore hearty chunks of barbari in half before grabbing at the meat with their bare hands. Their elders crushed stems of fresh mint before pouring dark streams of tea over the fragrant leaves.
When Shahrzad chanced to look up, she found the old man with the keen eyes studying her, another warm smile pooling across his lips. The gap between his two front teeth was pro­nounced, and, at first glance, it made him appear almost foolish.
Though Shahrzad was not the least bit fooled.
“So, my friend . . . this is Shahrzad,” the old man said.
To whom is he speaking?
 “I was right—” The old man cackled. “She is very beautiful.”
Shahrzad’s eyes flitted down both sides of the table. They stopped on Tariq.
His broad shoulders were rigid; his chiseled jaw was tight. He exhaled through his nose and lifted his gaze to hers.
“She is,” Tariq agreed in a resigned voice.
The old man quirked his head at Shahrzad. “You’ve caused a lot of trouble, beautiful one.”
Despite the reassuring hand Irsa placed atop hers, Shahrzad’s ire rose like embers being stoked to flame.
Aware she lacked grace in that moment, Shahrzad chose to say nothing. She rolled her tongue in her mouth. Pinched her lower lip between her teeth.
I am a guest here. I cannot behave as I desire.
No matter how angry and alone I may feel.
The old man smiled again. Ever wider. Ever more gap-toothed.
Infuriating.
“Are you worth it?”
Shahrzad cleared her throat. “Pardon?” she said, keeping tight rein on her emotions.
The boy with the ice-fire eyes watched with the rapt attention of a hawk.
“Are you worth all this trouble, beautiful one?” the old man repeated in maddening singsong.
Irsa wrapped a pleading hand around Shahrzad’s fingers, cold sweat slicking her palm.
Shahrzad could not risk her sister’s safety. Not in a camp filled with unknowns. Unknowns who could just as soon as toss her family into the desert for an errant word. Or slit their throats at a misread glance. No. Shahrzad could not put her father’s dubious health in jeopardy. Not for all the world.
She smiled slowly, taking time to subdue her fury. “I think beauty is rarely worth the trouble.” Shahrzad gripped Irsa’s hand tighter in sisterly solidarity. “But I am worth a great deal more than what you see.” Her tone was airy despite the veiled rebuke.
Without hesitation, the old man threw back his head and laughed. “To be sure!” His face shone with merriment. “Welcome to my home, Shahrzad al-Khayzuran. I am Omar al-Sadiq, and you are my guest. While within these borders, you will always be treated as such. But bear in mind: a calipha in silk or a beggar in the street makes no difference to me. Welcome.” He dipped his head and brushed his fingertips along his brow with a broad flourish.
Shahrzad released a pent-up breath. It escaped her in a rush of air, taking with it the tension from her shoulders and stomach. Her grin stretching farther, Shahrzad bowed in return, touching her right hand to her forehead.
Shiva’s father watched their exchange with a blank expression, his elbows folded against the table’s weathered edge. “Shazi-jan,” he began in a somber tone.
He caught her just as Shahrzad reached for a piece of barbari. “Yes, Uncle Reza?” She lifted her brows in question, her hand hovering above the breadbasket.
Reza’s features turned pensive. “I’m very glad you are here— that you are safe.”
“Thank you. I’m very grateful to everyone for keeping my family safe. And for taking such excellent care of Baba.”
He nodded, then leaned forward, steepling his hands beneath his chin. “Of course. Your family has always been my family. As mine has always been yours.”
“Yes,” Shahrzad said quietly. “It has.”
“So,” Reza said, lines of consternation bracketing his mouth, “it pains me greatly to ask you this—as I thought you might have been remiss when you arrived last night—but I have swallowed your insult for as long as I can endure it.”
Shahrzad’s entire body froze, her fingers still poised above the bread. The tension renewed its grip on her body, guilt coiling around her stomach with snakelike savagery.
“Shahrzad . . .” Reza bin-Latief’s voice had lost any hint of kindness; any warmth in the man she’d considered a second father was gone. “Why are you sitting at this table—breaking bread with me—wearing the ring of the boy who murdered my daughter?”
It was a cutting accusation.
It sliced through the crowd like a scythe through a sea of grain.
Shahrzad’s fingers pressed tight over the standard of the two crossed swords. Tight enough to cause pain.
She blinked once. Twice.
Tariq cleared his throat. The sound echoed through the sud­den stillness. “Uncle—Uncle Reza—”
No. She could not let Tariq save her. Not again.
Never again.
“I’m . . . I’m sorry,” she said, her mouth dry.
But she wasn’t. Not for this. She was sorry for a hundred things. A thousand things.
An entire city of untendered apologies.
But she would never be sorry for this.
“Don’t be sorry, Shahrzad,” Reza continued in the same cold voice. The voice of a stranger. “Decide.”
Mumbling her regrets, Shahrzad pushed to her feet.
She didn’t stop to think. Clinging to the remains of her dig­nity, she stumbled away from the table and into the blazing desert sun. Her sandals caught in the hot sand, hefting it behind her, striking her calves with each step.
A large, calloused hand took hold of her shoulder, halting her.
She glanced up, shielding her eyes from the blinding light.
The soldier. The lifelong aggressor.
“Get out of my way,” she whispered, fighting to leash her wrath. “Now.”
His lips curved upward with a leisurely kind of malice. He refused to move.
Shahrzad grabbed his wrist to shove it aside.
The rough-spun linen of his rida’ rolled up to his elbow, re­vealing a brand seared into his inner forearm.
The mark of the scarab.
The mark of the Fida’i assassins who had stolen into her chamber in Rey and tried to kill her.
With a gasp, Shahrzad ran. Clumsily, mindlessly, her only thought, of escape.
Somewhere in the distance, she heard Irsa’s voice calling for her.
Still, she refused to stop.
She ran into their tiny tent, throwing the door fold shut with a resounding slap.
Her shallow breaths rebounded across the three walls. Shahr­zad raised her right hand into a shaft of light filtering through a tent seam. She watched it catch on the muted gold of her ring.
I don’t belong here. A guest in a prison of sand and sun.
But I need to keep my family safe; I need to find a way to break the curse.
And return home to Khalid.
Alas, she did not know whom she could trust. Until Shahrzad knew who this Sheikh Omar al-Sadiq was and why a Fida’i assas­sin lurked in his camp, she must remain careful. For it was clear she did not have an ally in Reza bin-Latief as she once had had. And Shahrzad refused to put her burdens on Tariq. It was not his place to keep her or her family safe. No. That duty remained with her, and her alone.
Her eyes flashed around before fixing on the pool of water in the copper basin.
Exist beneath the water.
Move slowly. Tell stories.
Lie.
Without a thought for sentimentality, Shahrzad yanked the ring from her finger.
Breathe.
She closed her eyes and listened to the silent cry of her heart.
“Here.” Irsa dropped the tent flap and moved to Shahrzad’s side. She needed no direction. Nor did she offer any kind of re­proach. In a trice, she’d unraveled the length of twine binding Shahrzad’s braid. The sisters locked eyes as Irsa took the ring from Shahrzad’s hand and fashioned a necklace from the twine.
Wordlessly, Irsa secured the necklace behind Shahrzad’s throat and tucked the ring beneath her qamis. “No more secrets.”
“Some secrets are safer behind lock and key.”
Shahrzad nodded to her sister, Khalid’s words a low whisper in her ear. Not in warning. But in reminder.
She would do whatever needed to be done to keep her family safe.
Even lie to her own sister.
“What do you want to know?”

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The Rose and the Dagger 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
I loved the first book in this series but sometimes that means Book 2 is a let down. This was absolutely not the case for The Rose and the Dagger. I loved the second book as much as the first book. The characters were just as engaging and the twists and turns kept me reading right to the end. I also liked the fact that the book actually ends. I crave closure (which was why The Hunger Games made me so happy - when it ended it was over). I was more than satisfied with the ending of The Rose and Dagger. I highly recommend this book and its prequel to all readers. This is a different interpretation of the Arabian Nights and it's one that will resonate with any young adult reader who loves magic and action.
MlleMScarbrough More than 1 year ago
Beautiful and complex ending to a beautiful and complex story! I loved the development of the characters and how all of the pieces were tied together at the end! My only complaint is that there isn't another full-length addition about Shazi and Khelid's story!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down!
18876111 More than 1 year ago
This book was just as heartbreaking and beautifully written as The Wrath & the Dawn. I really loved how Shazi and Khalid's relationship developed. There was magic in this book, and I felt that it was explained very well and made sense. Shazi's sister was introduced in this book and I found the relationship between them to be somewhat complex, like a lot of sibling relationships. I felt that the ending of this book really tied the duology together very nicely. I can't wait to read more of Reneé's books!
FayTannerr More than 1 year ago
4.4 stars! A highly anticipated sequel that won't disappoint fans of The Wrath and the Dawn. Filled with adventure and magic, this book was hard to put down. With so many twist and turns at every corner, readers will be left breathless. An unforgettable journey of courage, strength, romance and friendship that I thoroughly enjoyed. This conclusion to The Wrath and the Dawn is not to be missed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stayed up all night to finish this second book! Loved it!! Love to stored embedded within. Action, family, betrayal, hope romance and love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written and fast paced.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed just as much as the fist
mdemanatee More than 1 year ago
Last year The Wrath & the Dawn blew me away. It took my heart in its hand and squeezed. For the Rose & the Dagger we pick up with a separated Shazi and Khalid. Shazi is back amidst her people, those who wish to bring down her husband. Khalid is trying to hold things together back at the palace, even as his relationships with the few he could call friend are strained. This novel did feel a little distant from the first. The first novel is very well contained in terms of its plotting. This one felt a little more all over the place. There was a lot going on here, and it basically all had to be established within this novel, other than Khalid’s curse, which wasn’t even as big in this one as I was anticipating. I did love that this novel focused on the political plotting as well as Khalid trying to escape his curse. We had a lot going on, and we focused on that rather than drama within our relationships. We never questioned Shazi and Khalid. They respect each other and they trust each other and it was just awesome. After all, there is enough drama around them in watching the other characters in the novel come to terms with their relationship. But even this is handled well. Of course Tariq, Shazi’s childhood sweetheart has trouble acceping this relationship. But this conflict, which I wouldn’t even really qualify as a love triangle, is how it should be done. It is all rooted in real circumstances and emotion. The supernatural element of this novel could be a little hard for me to keep track of at times, but it did keep me engaged. I was also excited to see Shazi’s sister get the opportunity to shine here too. Ahdieh reminds us that strength comes in many different flavors. The characters were just as strong this go-round as the first. They were personalities that put their money where their mouth was. It was great getting to spend more time with them, even if this go-round was a little more scattered than the first.
Tween_2_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
First Impressions I was super excited to read this book. As you can see from my review of The Wrath and the Dawn, the series became a surprise favorite of mine. When I had the chance to get an ARC of The Rose and the Dagger, I jumped on it. And let me tell you, it had ALL THE SWOONS! Characters I love Shazi SO MUCH! In the first book, she's fueled by rage, but now she's fueled by love. But at the same time, she doesn't get all weepy because she's not with Khalid. Shazi takes her and Khalid's fates into her own hands and gets. Crap. Done. No matter what anyone else tells her. She has a lot of people that care about her, but none of them really know what to do with her. My love for Khalid only grew with this book. If Kaiden Rowe hadn't stolen the title of Love of My Life, Khalid might just have a chance at taking it. You can really see how good Shazi's love has been for him. Writing Ahdieh's writing is amazing. It has this lyrical quality that many might find annoying, but just works. That is shown by the legion of fans that the author already has. I'm gonna be amazed if The Rose and the Dagger isn't an immediate bestseller. World-Building You'd think Renée would have done all the world building she needed to do in The Wrath and the Dawn, but you'd be wrong. The world expands a ton in this book. While it was already a vast world, we only saw a small part of it. In The Rose and the Dagger, the characters go to far-flung places and their adventures intensify.
thelonereader More than 1 year ago
The Rose and the Dagger, the second book in The Wrath & the Dawn series, was a great follow-up to the first book that left everything wrapped up nice and tidily in the best way possible. It was perfect all in itself, but I do believe that there was a bit of a lighter feel to the plot in general (though let's be honest, Shahrzad and Khalid were pretty much perfect - it's like their state of being). However, I'll start with the good stuff since there was so much of it. The Wrath and the Dawn left us with Khalid and Shahrzad separated, and The Rose and the Dagger starts off not too much later with them still separated, unfortunately. It sucks seeing them both apart and having to deal with their problems alone, but it's also interesting seeing how different they are when they're alone, and how their short time with each other in the last book changed them forever. I love the characters enough to adore seeing them on their own, but my heart was about to burst out of my chest the first time Shahrzad and Khalid finally saw each other again for the first time. Once the two are together again, readers get a ton of romantic scenes between the two lovebirds. It's been a while since I read the first book so I can't really say if they're more or less romantic than they were in the first book, but boy did I swoon at Khalid. He seemed much more comfortable with Shahrzad and also much more accepting of their love, and it was perfect seeing how much he cared for her, and to what lengths he would go to protect her. At the same time, he remained a true ruler and managed to put his country first despite being the endearing, overprotective lover that he is. While in the first book the focus was on the romance, the second book delved more deeply into the plot, which makes sense considering it's the final book in the series. The book was a whirl of read that I raced through - I read it in under four hours - but there's never a dull moment in the novel, and it lives up to everything that was promised. That being said, like I mentioned before, despite all the shocking moments that could not surprise you more, the entire book felt a bit less intense to me than The Wrath and the Dawn. Of course, this didn't disappoint me too much considering I got everything I wanted - namely, romance, great plot twists, new characters, brilliant betrayals, etc. - but it was something I noticed after finishing the book, and it's probably good information to have. That actually might be the one and only thing I didn't love about the book though. The beginning, middle, and end were perfect, though I admit the end could have been drawn out more since everything happened so quickly, but I also concede that the speedy ending upped the shock factor; it took me a couple of seconds for the text to get to my brain, and then I burst out bawling a few minutes after "the event" (that's what I'm calling it). Overall though, this was a lovely sequel that reads quickly and treats its readers with more swoony romantic scenes between Shahrzad and Khalid, though less than in the last book because, duh, they have more important things to worry about. Like war. I'd also like to take a moment to mention a new character, Artan, who has a flying servant, as well as a simultaneously hilarious, lovable, and grumpy and disrespectful when you first meet him disposition. I really wish he could have had a larger role in this book, but I'm happy with what I got.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh Book Two of The Wrath & The Dawn series Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers Publication Date: April 26, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: Preordered copy Summary (from Goodreads): I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust. In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan. While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love. What I Liked: I already know that I have no idea how to review this book. It was utterly beautiful, just as breathtaking as one would expect. I knew I would love it, and I did. It's getting four stars from me, but my true rating is 4.5 stars. I am so in love with this duology! The story is definitely a favorite of mine. So don't mind too much if this review is short or vague or a bunch of fangirling! At the end of The Wrath & The Dawn, Shahrzad left Khorasan - and Khalid - and went to the desert, where her family had taken refuge. Her father was badly burned by a book of his (if you read book one, you know why). Irsa, Shahrzad's sister, has grown in Shahrzad's absence. And Tariq is distant, no longer the friend Shahrzad remembers. Shazi is determined to find a way to break Khalid's curse, and with the help of an ally, she may have found a way. Back at Khorasan. Khalid has been helping his city rebuild. He mourns the disappearance of his love, but a greater danger is looming. While Shazi is in the desert, learning her dormant powers and hunting for a way to help Khalid, Khalid is determined not to sacrifice any more girls, and to help his city recover. One of the best things that Ahdieh did was reunite Shazi and Khalid *fairly* quickly. It was about 150 pages into the book, so you could look at that as quickly or not quickly. I thought it was pretty quick. A LOT happens in the first 150 pages though, mostly on Shazi's side. Shazi is steadfast in her love for Khalid. Though she is in the desert and surrounded by her family that does not know the depth of her feelings for the "monster boy-king", she never wavers. She protects herself and defends herself and never stops trying to find a way back to Khalid. She isn't trapped in the desert (hello, flying carpet!), but she wants to return with good news for him. We are introduced to some secondary characters that I adore. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
If you read my review of The Wrath and the Dawn, you're probably wondering why I decided to read this one. In all honesty, I did like the other one, it was just Khaldid I didn't like. Now that we know more of the story, it makes more sense and I really loved this story. The Rose and Dagger ended up being a great close to a near wonderful series! This starts off right where Wrath let out. The land where they are is on the brink of war, but now Shahrzad is now torn away from the misunderstood Caliph. Now she's with her family, but her family doesn't know Khalid as she does now. They are still looking to bring death and destruction to his land. I think I loved this installment more because there was so much more action. My heart was thundering at the close of every chapter. Bur this is what made the book for me. In the first one, I wasn't as invested. But this one just has so much more. There was also more of the fairy tale with the "tattered old carpet," the magic, and Jahandar was being all stubborn. I think this one was better to me because it just contained so much more of everything. I also can honestly say I fell for their relationship more in this one. I guess because the way he originally treated her wasn't thrown in my face this time. And because of that, it no longer made me feel as icky as it did. And good thing too, because this one is a lot more swoony than I remember the other one being. (See I told you there was just MORE in this one.) Last but not least, I still loved think it was interesting to learn more about their culture. Every word in my ARC that was italicized I looked up just to see exactly what it was. That helped with my experience as well as my understanding. I encourage everyone to read a diverse book, if nothing else but to learn more about people different from themselves. The Rose and Dagger definitely caught me off guard. It just contained so much more of everything I had been looking for verses the first one. I felt like I was there in the story with Shahrzad, Khalid, and that old, tattered carpet!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
*The Rose and the Dagger is the sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn. This review has major spoilers for The Wrath and the Dawn.* "The trying times were the moments that defined a man." Shahrzad has been separated from her husband as part of a misguided rescue attempt by her first love. Reunited with her family, Shahrzad's heart remains tied to Khalid as he struggles to restore order within Khorasan. The curse that has driven Khalid to take a new bride each day still looms over the kingdom while a darker, possibly more dangerous, magic unleashed by Shahrzad's father threatens to change the power balance throughout the kingdom and beyond. Separated by distance and circumstance, Shahrzad and Khalid will have to work together to end the curse and save their kingdom in The Rose and the Dagger (2016) by Renee Ahdieh. The Rose and the Dagger is the sequel to Ahdieh's debut The Wrath and the Dawn. Fans of The Wrath and the Dawn will find a lot to love in this action-packed followup that picks up shortly after the cliffhanger ending of book one. The chemistry between Shahrzad and Khalid is still a palpable thing. Ahdieh's lush prose and vivid descriptions bring the city of Rey and the world beyond Khorasan's borders to life. This story introduces new characters while also giving more page time to secondary characters who readers will recognize from book one. Parts of The Rose and the Dagger are wonderful. The characters have many thoughtful meditations on love and strength and what it means to be a person of influence versus an influential person. Unfortunately, these shining moments are tempered with uneven pacing, a slow plot that often meanders, and character interactions that verge on clumsy. The Rose and the Dagger is a fitting and serviceable conclusion to Shahrzad's story. One that avid fans of these characters will appreciate most of all. Ahdieh is a talent to watch. Readers should be eager to see what this author has in story for her next project. Possible Pairings: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Fire by Kristin Cashore, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston, Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, Clariel by Garth Nix, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab, Never Never by Brianna Shrum, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner *An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Utterly excellent and beautifully written
brittanysbookrambles More than 1 year ago
4.5/5 Stars Why, oh why does this have to be the end? I will never get tired of Shazi and Khalid, and just like with The Wrath & The Dawn, I wanted to reread this book immediately after I finished it! Renée really knows how to jerk her readers around and scare the hell out of them! I mean, look at my updates while I was reading! I was an emotional mess XD This is not a book that you sit back and relax with. No, no . . . while reading, you'd better have a box of tissues and some painkillers for the impending chest pains. Shazi and Khalid are still adorable, and all of their scenes are going to make you swoon. Oh, and I love Shazi, I idolize her so freaking much; I just want to be her! Regardless of the situation, she always seems in-control and confident. Bottom line is that this book is amazing and if you loved The Wrath and The Dawn, you're going to love The Rose & The Dagger. Read my full review: http://www.bookrambles.com/2016/04/the-rose-and-dagger-wrath-dawn-2-by.html
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
This was absolutely stunning. It is different from Wrath, but I loved it just as much. It's filled with swoons and action and heartbreak and twists and I loved every single page of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YAY IM SO EXCITED!!!