Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Discussion: A Thousand Nights vs. The Wrath and the Dawn

Every Sunday I find a new bookish topic to discuss. Have an idea for a discussion post?  Just leave a comment below or email me at

This seems to be the year for Arabian Nights retellings.  A Whole New World,  The Wrath and the Dawn, and A Thousand Nights (not to mention The Forbidden Wish coming out next year).

I didn't read A Whole New World. The premise never grabbed me.  But I did read both A Thousand Nights and The Wrath and the Dawn, and in fact finished them within a week from each other.  So I'm here today to discuss the differences and similarities between them.  So before I get started, SPOILERS AHEAD!

So let's talk about the things each of these books have.

A defined plot
The Wrath and the Dawn definitely has a defined (also I amusingly keep writing definied) plot.  Shahrzad has a clear view of what her motives are at the beginning of the book.  And the plot progresses from that starting point - her volunteering to marry Khalid.

A Thousand Nights has less so of a plot.  Yes, things certainly happen.  But it all starts from the main character's decision to protect her sister.  From then, most of what happens feels like just random events that fit in together very nicely.  They're just things that happen.  It's a much more understated plot here.  If you're looking for a book with strong plot, go for The Wrath and the Dawn.

Complex Characters
Both books accomplish this in different ways.  Though I think A Thousand Nights does a better job of it.  I'll start with The Wrath and the Dawn.

Here, we have Shahrzad.  She only wants vengeance/justice/whatever on the monster that killed her best friend.  But she grows slowly to learn that people aren't always as they appear.  And then we have Khalid, the supposed monstrous madman going about killing girls every morning.  It's not until near the very end of the book that we find out the true reason for all the killings.  But it becomes more and more apparent throughout the book that he is not such a monster.  And he loathes himself for murdering innocent girls.  In the end, he makes a choice.  And his character has certainly grown a lot to come to this point.  Of course that choice leaves us on a huge cliffhanger (darn you Renée!).

As for A Thousand Nights.  Boy this one is tough.  I give the point to this one mainly because like none of the characters have names.  Except the villain, Lo-Melhkiin.  And yet, the main character notices so many things and gives so many flashbacks, has dreams, etc. that we know a lot about basically everyone.  Lo-Melhkiin isn't quite the monster either.  And yet he is at the same time.  Having gone out into the desert one day and become possessed by a demon, he's trapped inside himself, the demon killing people because he can.  Unable to kill the main character for magical reasons (found in the book. I don't want to spoil it too much, gosh!).  The main character here is motivated mainly by fear.  And yet she's supremely strong.  Both books have complex characters, but the point goes to A Thousand Nights. (I'm not counting tho)

And because this post is getting long, I will just add one more aspect.

Romance/Love Story
The Wrath and the Dawn has one.  It also has a bit of a love triangle (with a character that basically annoyed me throughout the entire book).  A Thousand Nights has neither.  If you want to read about romance, read The Wrath and the Dawn.

Honestly, I enjoyed both books.  I was captivated completely by A Thousand Nights so quickly.  I couldn't put it down.  The Wrath and the Dawn was a little tougher for me (even though I love a good love story).  It started out pretty slow and eventually picked up pace.  But once I truly got into it, I finished it in one night.  If you can only read one, use this as your guide.  But I liked both!

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