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.