Welcome back to Miss Pickel’s Picks! It’s been a really long time since I’ve written. I came back to school last month determined to turn over a leaf and keep my blog updated, but somehow we’ve been back at school for six weeks and I’m just now writing my first post. I read a lot of really good books this summer, like Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers series, which somehow managed to be funny, dramatic, thrilling and chilling all at the same time. I’m so excited because Noah is reading the first book right now – I hope he likes it as much as I did! The other book I loved was The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds; I just read a book co-written by Reynolds and I promise I’ll blog about that next!
I just finished a wonderful book based on the Arabian story collection One Thousand and One Nights; I loved it so much that I had to write about it. The novel is called The Wrath and the Dawn; the author is Renee Ahdieh and I think she’s so amazing that I will read everything she ever writes! The book opens when 16-year-old Shahrzad’s best friend has been killed by the new king. For months the 18-year-old Caliph has married a new woman every night and had her killed the next morning. When Shahrzad hears the news about her best friend she is determined to put a stop to the king once and for all, so she volunteers to be the Caliph’s next bride. Her family is terrified and her childhood sweetheart follows her. However, Shahrzad has a plan and she will not be stopped. When the Caliph comes to her room that night Shahrzad begins a story about Agib, the “thief of Baghdad.” The Caliph is mesmerized by the story and as the sun begins to rise Shahrzad leaves off on a cliffhanger. Of course, the king can’t have her killed now; he has to find out how the story ends! The next night Shahrzad wraps up the story about Agib, but starts another tale and the king must again spare her life. This pattern follows night after night as Shahrzad and the Caliph begin to talk about their lives and she learns that there is much more to the young king than meets the eye.
I adore this book for so many reasons. First of all, the language is so lyrical that I found myself reading passages out loud. I also love the way Ahdieh writes her characters; I was drawn to the supporting characters even more than the main ones, especially Despina, Shahrzad’s servant and confidante. I think my favorite thing about the book, though, is how the author takes an ancient story and updates it. I’ve always been interested in mythology, fairy tales and folklore with a twist and The Wrath and the Dawn has become one of my favorites in that genre!