While these books possess a lot of good ideas and potential, I don't really think they were portrayed in the correct manner for my taste, nor did they have enough time. It feels like a third book might've been helpful to the telling of the story. This second book started out extremely slowly, and then it seemed like the author just remembered she only had one book left and just decided to cram everything in the last bit. There are so many loose ends that never really seemed to get the payoff moment I was expecting, and there are so many characters and choices that seemed to need a lot more attention than they received.
I did enjoy the first book, it was interesting, if not entirely original in the relationships and romance. My biggest issue with the first book was the instalove that sparked between our two protagonists, Khalid and Shazi. I really just don't like instalove. It's a major turn off from a book because instalove leaves no time for the reader to develop an investment in the relationship because it doesn't take time to build a great relationship. I was able to slightly look past the instalove in the first book, this one? Not so much.
In the first few chapters both Khalid and Shazi seem to be thinking about their one great true love. While reading those lines I just wanted to slam the book shut and pull out my hair. HOW CAN YOU REALLY BE IN LOVE WHEN YOU'VE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR TWO WEEKS? (or less.) Maybe they're attracted to each other and growing to love, but I did not for one second believe that it was a great love. Sure, people in situations can develop feelings quickly, and sometimes in books I'm even able to accept a fast insta-lovey feeling romance (but not often.), but here? No, I felt that Khalid and Shazi could not possibly be as deeply in love as they claimed to be. I actually found myself rolling my eyes most of the time that they mentioned just how deep in love they were.
My favorite character from the first book had to be Jalal. There was a disappointing amount of him in this book. He's probably in about 5% if not less of it. Personally, I believe that was a pretty bad waste of such a great character.
The book basically revolves around Shazi and Khalid. While the author seemed to try to introduce Shazi's sister as another protagonist, it just didn't seem to work that well. I barely cared much for Khalid and Shazi's storyline in this book, much less for Shazi's little sister. Then new characters with mysterious pasts and all were introduced and I found my interest piqued. I wanted to find out more about them, or at least see them show up more. Did that happen? Haha no. That's one of the many wasted opportunities in this book. It just made the book seem like it had more it wanted to tell, but couldn't fit, so it was scrapped.
Basically all the drama in the story was resolved in about a chapter or even a page. Betrayal? Haha that issue is fixed five pages later. Attacked? No need to worry, it'll all be okay in the next paragraph. And then, there's this HUGE issue at the end. Yeah, there wasn't enough time to actually go through the drama of all of it, so that of course, was resolved in the next page. My point is, almost everything in this book felt completely pointless.
Even though almost all, if not all, of the drama of the story felt pointless because of its quick resolve or left open loose end, there was a TON of drama. To the extent that this book felt more like a soap opera than an interesting fantasy read.
Sorry if you actually liked this book, I'm just bashing it left and right. I actually just finished it just to get it over with, not because I was interested in the story at all. 4/10 stars. Unfortunately, The Rose and The Dagger just was not the book for me.
Here's the synopsis:
The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.