4.5 out of 5 stars
Beautifully written and wrought with tension, The Rose in the Dagger is a gorgeous finale to a series that knows exactly when to end.
Listen, not every series has to be three books. Some could be more (Harry Potter foreverrrrr). Many others drag out well past their ends – and welcomes – because writers and publishers like money, and can usually fool us for an extra installment or two. (The Selection series, I am looking at you.) The Wrath and the Dawn series does the perfect thing: it ends when it’s over.
The Rose and the Dagger is as sultry and lethal as its excellent predecessor. There is less bloodshed, but the drama does not weaken from it. If anything, this chapter of the story is stronger for the lives it does not take.
The story begins with Shahrazad “rescued” from her husband and king – her love, and the murdered of every one of her predecessors. Good luck explaining that to your father! Luckily, your dad probably hasn’t unlocked an ancient, uncontrollable magic that is killing him like a drug. Too bad for Shahrazad; she has to keep everyone from killing each other until she can break a powerful spell.
With the help of her sister Irsa, a sweet and peppy sidekick, her still grumpy ex-BF Tariq and a – yes, it’s Arabian Nights, you guys – a magic carpet, Shazi fights for her love and her family. With scrappiness usually reserved for male characters, she once again seeks to bring about her will by the sheer force of it. Shahrazad is a force of nature, a truly memorable YA heroine. The settings of The Rose and the Dagger are seeped in heat, almost shimmering around the reader. Details wring color from the pages. The loves feel real, as do the losses, and there is girl power everywhere.
Best of all, The Rose and the Dagger is the end of this story. That sounds blasphemous when I clearly enjoyed reading it, but the story is over here, and so it ends here. Even in ending, this series has remarkable grace.