In a faraway kingdom, a king has been betrayed. Deeply hurt and bitterly angry, he vows never to be deceived again. Unfortunately, the king’s plan to protect himself will endanger all of the realm’s young women, unless one of them will volunteer to marry the king-- and surrender her life.
To everyone’s relief and horror, one young woman steps forward. The daughter of a legendary storyteller, Shahrazad believes it is her destiny to accept this risk and sacrifice herself.
On the night of her wedding to the king, Shahrazad begins to weave a tale. Fascinated, the king lets her live night after night. Just when Shahrazad dares to believe that she has found a way to keep her life-- and an unexpected love-- a treacherous plot will desrupt her plan. Now she can only hope that love is strong enough to save her.
Title: The Storyteller’s Daughter: A Retelling of “The Arabian Nights”
Author: Cameron Dokey
Series: Once Upon a Time, Book 1
Start & Finished: 4/21/09-4/22/09
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 218 (paperback)
Genre: YA- Fantasy/ Fairy Tale
"The original collection has no one author and no one source. The stories are Indian, Persian, and Arabi, and are told in many forms many centuries before they were written down” but One Thousand and One Nights (otherwise known as The Arabian Nights) is still one of the best known collections of stories and folk tales in the world. From this collection came Aladdin, Ali Baba, and of course Scheherazade the teller of these tales. Author Cameron Dokey has adapted this old classic for The Storyteller’s Daughter that is the first in Simon Pulse’s Once Upon a Time series of which Ms. Dokey is the most frequent contributor.
As the tales told by Scheherazade are essentially a series of stories within stories, this author selected only two stories to be told in The Storyteller’s Daughter completely (and one that supposed to represent the one from the actual One Thousand and One Nights that never ends told to Shahriyar): one to Shahrazad as a child by her mother and one that she tells her husband away from the palace. Like a true fairy tale though, these stories do have bearing in the actual tale later on.
“This tale, which you thought so long asleep as to be incapable of offering anything new, has given an unexpected stretch, reached out and caught you in its arms. Even as your mind thought to refuse, your heart reached back, already surrendering to the story’s ancient spell.” Having never actually read One Thousand and One Nights myself I couldn’t say how close of an adaptation that this story was but it did make me want to try to find a good translated copy of the original stories. I am curious if the whole “deciphering of the tale woven into the cloth” thing was something the author created or if it was a part of the actual story though.
“A story is alive, as you or I are.” It “changes with every telling, yet always remain the same. I am a storyteller, like my mother before me and hers before her. These things I know.”
Once Upon a Time Series
1. The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey (2002)
2. Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey (2002)
3. Snow by Tracy Lynn (2003)
4. Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie (2003)
5. Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie (2004)
6. Sunlight and Shadow by Cameron Dokey (2004)
7. Spirited by Nancy Holder (2004)
8. The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn (2005)
9. Golden by Cameron Dokey (2006)
10. Water Song by Suzanne Weyn (2006)
11. Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey (2007)
12. The Rose Bride Nancy Holder (2007)
13. The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn (2008)
14. Belle by Cameron Dokey (2008)
15. The Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey (2009)
16. The Diamond Secret by Suzanne Weyn (2009)
17. Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey (2009)
18. Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguie (2010)
19. The World Above by Cameron Dokey (2010)
First Paragraph: Once, in days so long past even the graybeards among you remember them only in stories, there lived a king who had two sons. Their names were Shahrayar and Shazaman.
- Cameron Dokey doesn't have her own web page but Fantastic Fiction has a list of her complete bibliography.
- The Once Upon a Time series has its own Wikipedia page with links to pages about the stories that they are retelling.
- Just about everything you could ever want to know about the original story One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights).
Illustration by Walter Paget
Ebony Wood Chest: Maju’s storyteller chest
Golden Fish: A princess wishes to be a fish in one of the stories