SYNOPSIS: For seventy-one nights Khalid has taken a young woman to be his bride only to have her killed the next morning, but on the day of his seventy-second wedding he discovers that his bride-to-be volunteered to be his next victim.
PREVIOUS: The Wrath & the Dawn
I loved getting to see Khalid’s first impression of Shazi! What I love about this series is that it presents Khalid as a monster, but you slowly learn that he is very human who feels things deeply while at the same time the fact that he has killed so many young women is never excused, especially by Khalid. I really liked that Khalid basically knew from the very beginning what Shazi was planning to do and didn’t really do anything to stop her. It was interesting to see that his guilt over what he is forced to do is present from the very beginning, even as he is marrying each girl. I like that it isn’t some kind of afterthought reaction for him, but something that he forces himself to live with. I also liked that we got to see him make the decision to have Despina spy on Shazi and the decision to break his usual pattern of going about this disgusting business. Khalid is a character who only gets small snippets of POV in the first book, so I’m glad that Ahdieh is giving us some more insight into how he thinks about the world around him and about himself. I like that we discover that he knows a little more than what we thought he did and I also like how he knew how important Shazi would be to him from the first time he saw her. This story really adds to the layers of Khalid that we see in The Wrath & the Dawn as well as revealing some other things about himself that weren’t so clear. I especially love that we get to see how much he cares about his cousin, Jalal. In The Wrath & the Dawn most of their interaction involves Jalal annoying Khalid or forcing him to come to terms with some idea and it was nice to know that Khalid really loves his cousin and understands that Jalal wants to help. The whole dynamic between himself, his cousin, and his uncle is interesting because Khalid is a king and his only remaining family are part of his royal guard, but they can still talk to each other fairly openly. This story really puts a whole new spin on Khalid’s interiority that makes me want to reread The Wrath & the Dawn!