The Storyteller’s Daughter: A Retelling of “Arabian Nights”

First Lines: A story is alive, as you and I are.  It is rounded by muscle and sinew.  Rushed with blood.  Layered with skin, both rough and smooth.

This was a book I bought at a sale over the summer.  I like fairytale retellings, but I’m usually pretty leery when it comes to these “Once Upon A Time” books.  They’re hit and miss.  Some are excellent, others not so much.  But I needed something quick I could get through.

Once upon a time, there was a king with a heavy heart, who no longer trusted those around him.  His wife had betrayed him and, with her dying breath, cursed him to never love or trust again.  So he makes a resolution: every night, he will wed a young girl.  And with the coming dawn, she will be executed.  Nothing will change his course, until Shahrazad, the storyteller’s daughter, decides to step in his path.  With words along, Shahrazad hopes to change the king’s heart.  Bonds form between them, but will they be strong enough to survive the danger ahead of them?

I have some vague familiarity with the story of “Arabian Nights.”  I read excerpts in a college class 3-4 years ago.  So I was interested to see how this compared.

Maybe because I was less familiar with the source material, I really ended up liking this.  (Some of Dokey’s other books I haven’t liked because I felt she deviated too much from the original fairytale.)  From what I can remember of the original tale, she stayed pretty close to the plot.  It’s just an abbreviated version of the same story.

I liked the main characters and how their sides were interwoven.  The narration jumps around a bit, but mostly it focuses on Shahrazad.  Still, as a storyteller, she likes to give different sides of the story to stay interesting.

I thought some of Shahrazad’s stories were really interesting, if long.  There’s a fine balance between the story (with Shahrazad and the king) and the stories she tells.  They do kind of take away from the plot, but they usually have good morals or aspects to them that still relate back to Shahrazad or the king. So that was neat, to try to see how they fit together.

This was a super fast read, and pretty interesting.  A nice change of pace from what I had been reading. And related to classic literature, which is fun.

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