SYNOPSIS: A prequel to The Wrath and the Dawn that tells the story of how Despina and Jalal met and fell in love.
Despina and Jalal were my favorite characters from The Wrath and the Dawn so I’m happy that there is a short story where we get to see how their relationship started! It was mainly told from Despina’s POV so we didn’t really get to see what Jalal thought of her at first. I wish we did because we got to see Despina’s thought process at trying to keep him at bay and I wanted to see his thought process in making her stay. I like that they both seemed to challenge each other in the beginning. Despina made Jalal work for her affection and Jalal made Despina work to keep her guard up. There interactions were fun and witty. I liked that their banter felt natural and even though Despina was acting above her station (like she always does) it was clear that Jalal enjoyed her impudence. I also liked that the story gave us a small glimpse at Khalid’s first wife. Not much is ever truly revealed about her so it was nice to get a small glimpse at who she was before everything that happens later. I liked that Despina and the first queen were on their way to some sort of friendship and I liked that it reminded me of when she first met Shazi. It’s an interesting parallel especially since Khalid falls in love with Shazi and almost corrects all the mistakes he made with his first wife with her. The only thing that I didn’t like was that after it is clear that Despina and Jalal have fallen in love there is a time jump to just before Shazi is about to marry Khalid. I wish that we could’ve seen more of Despina and Jalal before Shazi. Overall the story was fun and sweet and I can’t wait to finally read The Rose and the Dagger.