Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
The city of Rey was nearly demolished in the storm. Khalid is suffering near exhaustion from having not fulfilled the terms of the curse. Shahrzad is living in Tariq’s army camp as a prisoner. Tariq has lost a lot of control over the forces he has gathered and his uncle, Reza, has begun to take full control of these forces. Jahandar is in a wounded trance and both Shahrzad and her sister Irsa try to nurse him back to health. Shahrzad travels to find Musa Zaragoza at the Fire Temple to find aid for Khalid. Zaragoza introduces her to Artan, a boy whose family has been attached to magic since the time of legends. Artan takes Khalid and Shahrzad to his aunt for help with the curse. She instructs them to take Jahandar’s book and destroy it, which they do. Jahandar is incensed that Khalid has turned both of his daughters against him, and at the behest of Reza he turns Shahrzad over to the Sultan of Parthia, a man that has long since wanted to overthrow Khalid’s reign. Khalid camps with his army at the gates of Parthia’s palace and meets with the sultan. The meeting ends in bloodshed. Shahrzad, with the help of her friends (including the Parthian princess) in the palace, escapes and returns to Khalid. The sultan meets with Khalid again and Khalid forces him to give up his throne. Jahandar asks after his book and Khalid tells him that he destroyed it. Jahandar stabs Khalid. When he sees Shahrzad weeping for Khalid, Jahandar uses the last of his magic to take his own life in place of Khalid’s.
Again, Ahdieh’s writing has a musical quality to it. Her characters are extremely realistic because of their backgrounds and motivations. The story itself is intriguing, but there are definitely a lot of loose ends that are not resolved by the end. This is a little upsetting considering that, given the epilogue, this seems to be the last of this series. Khalid and Shahrzad’s story wraps up nicely, but many of the other characters, whose side stories added rich layers to the story as a whole, are left without endings. Additionally, many questions go unanswered about the curse and the reason the book needed to be destroyed. Khalid’s scene with the book was anticlimactic and the magic of the story was weakly described at best. Overall, a watered down sequel to a promising first novel that leaves readers wondering a lot of things without hope for answers.
*Contains mild sexual content, moderate language, and mild violence.