“Love is a force unto itself sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable…. and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”
I grew up watching Alif Laila on TV. Watched and heard different stories from Arabian Nights like Sindbad, Alibaba, Aladdin etc. What I didn’t know initially was that all of them originated from 1001 Nights. And I definitely didn’t know that it still fascinated readers after all this time. So, when I heard about this new reimagining of the tale(s) that is so highly rated, I decided to pick it up.
“Give him the love that will enable him to see it for himself. To a lost soul, such a treasure is worth its weight in gold. Worth its weight in dreams.”
This book follows Shahrzad, who volunteered to marry the caliph Khalid to exact revenge for the murder of her best friend Shiva. Shiva’s cousin and Shazi’s first love Tariq decides to kill the caliph himself to get her back and starts gathering forces from like-minded nobles and supporters. Shazi’s father Jalandar turns to dark magic to find the strength to get his daughter back and become powerful. And then the unthinkable happens; Khalid and Shazi fall in love.
“I know Love is fragile. And loving someone like you is near impossible. Like holding something shattered through a raging sandstorm. If you want her to love you, shelter her from that storm. And make certain that storm isn’t you.”
I really thought I had outgrown romance novels. Even though this story has some mystery, fantasy and magical elements, it’s heart is a love story. So, I didn’t expect to really love it. But surprise surprise!!!! I did. I fell in love with both of them – the boy king pretending to be a monster and the girl who can’t stop herself from falling for him. Even though she seems vulnerable in love, Shazi is a very strong young girl – equal parts fierce, stubborn, determined and so full of love. Khalid is a ruthless king but also a boy who just needs love – this paradox is captured very well. Jalal and Despina are wonderfully written supporting characters and their flirty and playful natures bring much humor amidst all the angst. But the best part of this book are the words themselves. The writing is beautiful and captivating throughout – the descriptions of the palace, the lavish clothes and jewelry, the smells of the food, Khalid’s letters full of his unspoken feelings, Shazi’s inner turmoil – all the words are vivid and rich and soulful. I fell in love with the characters because of this exquisite writing. And finally, these same beautiful words broke my heart…..
“For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.”
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️