Previously I have read "Beauty Sleep" by Cameron Dokey, and I liked the story. So, I was excited to read another fairy tale retelling by Dokey. Unfortunately I found this retelling of "Arabian Nights" hard to get through and pretty boring.
Shahrazad is the daughter of a great storyteller. When the King is betrayed by his wife, his heart turns to stone and he vows to marry a young woman each new moon and kill her the next morning. That is unless a young woman comes forward voluntarily knowing she will die the next day. Shahrarad decides it is her destiny to step forward and every morning her life is sparred as she tells a story that has no end.
I had a lot of trouble getting through this book, even though it is relatively short. The language is stilted and somewhat difficult to read. Shahrazad is an uninspiring heroine that, despite talking about how women are always wiser, ends up showing herself to be a weaker character. None of the surrounding characters are any more inspiring. They are all un-emotional and two dimensional.
The stories that Shahrazad tells all have a very transparent moral to them and I didn't find them to be very interesting, engaging, or surprising. I has hoped that either the story itself or the story Shahrazad tells would engage me, but I struggled to get through them despite the fact that the book is very short. The writing seemed, as I said, a bit stilted and immature. I had trouble telling that this book was written by the same author that had written "Beauty Sleep". There is no description of the world, and little description of what the characters are feeling.
All in all this book was a disappointment to me. I am still planning on reading a couple other of Dokey's fairy tale retellings since I did enjoy "Beauty Sleep." Overall if you are looking for an interesting retelling of "Arabian Nights" to read, I would look elsewhere.
When Shaharazad becomes enslaved, she must remain cool and calm to come up with a clever plan that will make the coldhearted king see her in a different light in order to change her future.
A neat post script to the Thousand Nights and One Night!
From back cover: How do all great stories begin? With "Once Upon A Time..."
Once upon a time, there lived a king whose heart was heavy. He had been betrayed by the woman he loved. Though the queen's schemes were discoverd before she could deprive her husband of his life, her dying curse killed something deep within him: his ability to love and trust.
And so he makes a terrible resolution: He will take a bride for one night only. In the morning she will face a horrible fate. Then he will choose another. Nothing can change his course, until one brave woman steps forwward. Shahrazad, the Storyteller's Daughter.
Steeped in the ancient art of her mother's people, Shahrazad embarks upon a perilous course. With words alone, she will seek to restore the king's heart. As she tells her tales a bond forms between them that neither can deny. But will it be strong enough to hold them together when unexpected danger erupts?
Part of the Once Upon A Time... Series. Very good, typical Cameron Dokey style. Highly reccomended.
A fabulous retelling of Sharazad and the 1000 nights.
Beautiful retelling of the story of Shahrazad, the story behind "The Arabian Nights".