Despite the fact that it took me a week to finish this book, (a brilliant combination of school stress and attempting to stave off a slump) I did enjoy it once I was able to pick it up and really get into it.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh.

The story picks up basically right where book one left off. I don't want to say too much about the synopsis because this is a sequel and much of what I could talk about here would spoil book one. But in a more vague sense, the story continues from where we last left Shazi and Khalid. Some things happen, some people show up, some lie and some die (!!). Infuriatingly, I'm going to leave it at that, but the rest of the review will likely have spoilers for book one.

The first half of the book was a little bit slower for me. I kinda felt like Shazi and Khalid's relationship finally got going at the end of the first book, and then right away we don't really get to see them together again. Because of this, I had a hard time picturing their relationship and remembering the connection they had in the first book. Towards the second half, things did pick up and I was happy to see their relationship shine.

Generally, I think duologies are really interesting because, unlike trilogies, there isn't really that opportunity for a second-book syndrome, because the second book is the last book. I appreciated the fact that Ahdieh was able to seamlessly condense the story into two books, as opposed to dragging it out. The addition of the epilogue at the end of this book also wrapped up any loose ends that came about with the 'real' ending of the book.

As with book one, however, there is just something I can't quite put my finger on that is holding me back from loving it as much as I think I should and could. Part of me wants to blame it on the third person POV, the usual culprit for my feelings like this, but I think that it actually works quite well for the story since it jumps from character to character.

Ultimately, I do think I was able to get into this book better than the first book, but I think part of that was because I was aware of Ahdieh's writing style and was more familiar with the characters. I didn't have to spend time figuring out who was who and who was bad/good, etc. That was (for the most part) all taken care of in book one - so I think this book is better in that regard. At the same time, I feel like I was expecting more.

Overall, I enjoyed this duology but I didn't love it.