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The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2016
Narrator: Ariana Delawari
Length: 10h 38
Publisher: Listening Library⎮2015
4.75 ★ Audiobook⎮ Renée Andieh’s writing was so beautiful that it almost took my breath away several times. Her imagery was so vivid and her characters so dynamic. Shahrzad is the type of the female protagonist that I yearn for. I don’t even know what to say about The Wrath and the Dawn, except that it entranced me from the beginning. It is supposed to be a retelling of Arabian Nights (which I’ve never read) and the setting reminded me so much of Disney’s Aladdin (which is one of the stories in Arabian Nights.
I’m aware that a lot of people take issue with the romance, but for me, that was the best part of the story. In fact, I could have done without the other POV chapters entirely. I felt that the love triangle was weak and unnecessary. Honestly, I didn’t want anything other than Shahrzad and Khalid (and maybe some Jahlal, which would have made a better triangle). I don’t give two flips about Tariq and Raheem. I can already tell you that by the time the sequel comes out in May, probably the only thing I will remember (or care about) is the Shahrzad/Khalid pairing and that is more than enough to make me lunge for it. And although I can sort of see the problematic aspects, they didn’t even register with me while I was enjoying the story.
I think the key is to remember that this story is based off of stories popular during the Islamic Golden Age (roughly 8th century). Obviously there going to be plenty of things that 21st-centurians and Westerners don’t agree with. But for me, that was part of the beauty of it. Being able to become totally immersed in another time and culture’s way of thinking was an exhilarating experience. It’s not supposed to be exactly like other YA stories. I think most of those complaining about the “problematic” romance might possibly be looking at this from the wrong angle.
Oh, and did I mention the writing? It was the most gorgeous writing I’ve seen in months (unlike that of this review-not my best). I’ve seen a couple other reviews in which readers were left speechless by the beauty of Andieh’s storytelling. I guess it is just something you will have to experience for yourself because I can’t quite find the words to describe it justly. Maybe, breathtaking? That’s close enough.
Narration review: Unfortunately, I did not find the voice narration nearly as enjoyable as the story itself. The narration for The Wrath and the Dawn was sub par, in my opinion. Although Ariana Delawari had a pleasant voice and provided excellent articulation and pronunciation, her tonal range was practically nonexistent. It was almost impossible to distinguish between characters throughout the entire audiobook, which made for an extremely frustrating listening experience. This narrator seemed to make no effort to provide any kind of distinction between dialogue and prose, much less between characters. Her voice was flat and unenthused. Considering that the narrator brings nothing more than proper pronunciation to the audiobook experience, combined with the fact that there apparently was a glossary provided in the back of the physical book (or eBook), I cannot help but recommend that format over the audiobook. ♣︎