The Storyteller’s Daughter by Cameron Dokey is about Shahrazad, the legendary storyteller of a thousand tales that astounded a king and stayed his hand from murdering her. Although most of us are familiar with the stories, Aladdin, Ali Baba, Simbad, no one knows the story of the king and the woman who enchanted him with her wit and voice. Until now…
Here is the story of a King who was betrayed by the woman he loved and turned his heart to stone so he would never love again. In his anger, he declared that he would take a bride every night and kill her at dawn. What he did not anticipate was that a woman would present herself who would make him question himself and his convictions.
Shahrazad is a beautiful young woman who turned away from a world who did not accept her, but who possesses a rare gift that saves many lives. If she can save the king, she might also be able to find love herself.
Dokey’s story is written as if it were being told by a storyteller, that storyteller being a much older Shahrazad. This was a fun nuance in the book that I enjoyed. It is a very short read and that has value, but at the same time, I found it hard to believe that the couple would fall for each other so quickly. The Arabian Nights are 1001 tales and the book was barely 200 pages long! A bit more story would have been preferable given the depth and richness of the tales the storyteller relates. Given the length and the complexity of the original story, I think Dokey did a decent job with this novel even though it was short.
You will fly through this book, so be prepared with another. If you enjoy Dokey’s short novels and alternative takes on fairytales, try Beauty Sleep, a retelling of “The Sleeping Beauty”. Gail Carson Levine is also a wonderful author who writes fairy tale adaptions and fantasy books.