One of TIME magazine's 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
A #1 New York Times bestseller and a sumptuous, epic tale inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.
'A riveting Game of Thrones meets Arabian Nights love story' US Weekly
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a terrible surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she may be falling in love with a murderer.
Shazi discovers that the villainous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. It's up to her to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
"So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?"
"Shazi? Honestly, I pity the wolves."
What does one make of a man forced to murder dozens of women in order to save a city from a curse who then stops killing, dooming the city anyway, because he's fallen in love? It's a tricky ethical conundrum to build a love story on, and Ahdieh's debut, a reimagining of the tale of Scheherazade, dances around it. Shahrzad, 16, decides that she is the one who will stop the murderous caliph, Khalid, by destroying him to avenge the death of her best friend. Shazi marries Khalid and entices him with a cliffhanger story, persuading him to allow her to live one more day to finish the tale as she races to devise his assassination. Day after day together adds nuance their relationship beyond what either could have imagined; as they hesitate in their separate resolves, other plots are set in motion. Lushly imagined and powerfully characterized, it's a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance. With a premise this loaded, though, Ahdieh sets herself a big challenge in the second, concluding volume. Ages 12 up.