Blind Stories in The Storyteller’s Daughter | Spoiler-Free Review

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

5 Star Rating System 4 stars

the Storytellers Daughter

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling [Arabian Nights]
Author: Cameron Dokey
Published: September 1997
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 218 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads


Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

Honestly, this was way better than I had hoped it would be. I don’t remember where I picked up a copy of this book but I discovered it on my shelf the other day and thought ach, let’s give it a go!! I’d completely forgotten what it was about but ended up enjoying it so much! This is such a cute and harmless retelling of 1001 Nights.


The Storyteller’s Daughter

So this is a retelling of 1001 Nights, or, The Arabian Nights. If you’re familiar with that (or as perhaps more of you, with Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn) then you’ll have a good idea of what is within these pages. I, personally, have not read the original classic and am only familiar with this story through Ahdieh’s reimagining of it. So I’m not sure how this differs (I guess . . . this is a lot shorter?) to the classic.

But it’s really fun! The whole book is Shahrazad narrating from her old age the true story of her life and what occurred. Essentially, after a curse is put upon the King in this story, he vows to take a new girl as his wife every night and she is to be killed by sunrise of the next day.

This puts the kingdom is chaos and fear because everyone now fears for their daughter’s lives. In the original, this is set for 1001 nights and can only be broken by the king essentially falling in true love. I don’t think there was ever any mention specifically of the 1001 nights in this retelling but a stipulation is put forward that if the first girl comes willingly to the king then only she will die and every girl who follows will live but be held in isolation.

It’s a mess. But the best bit about this story is the fact that Shahrazad, a blind storyteller, has her mother’s gift of being the best storyteller in the land. And so a lot of this book is actually the stories that she tells and they’re so wonderful and encapturing.


Why I Enjoyed This

I had no expectations of this being a brilliant read going into it. It was a small trade paperback with an uninspiring cover that I’d heard nothing about. It has over 11,000 ratings on Goodreads which is reasonably solid but I was certainly surprised by how I couldn’t put this down.

I think, all up, I read this in a matter of hours. The way this tale is narrated makes it really feel like someone is sitting with you, by a fire, with a cup of mulled wine, telling you a grand story. It’s magical in that way. And I’ve always had a weakness for what I’d call traditional storytelling (quite similar to how Robert Louis Stevenson writes).

But the best thing about this book is that it isn’t long-winded, it has a fantastic tragic romance, enough princes and kings to cause plenty of trouble and stories you’d want to fill a whole book with. Truth be told, this has really made me think I should go get myself a copy of the original classic because clearly, it’s right up my alley.


Summary

As a simple, short and harmless read, I would most definitely be recommending this to you. If you’re looking for a break from your standard YA reads – and need something a little less dark, dramatic and tormented – then I would suggest refreshing your mind and whetting your appetite for stories with this little gem.


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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~

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