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Shadow Spinner (1998)

by Susan Fletcher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,4502312,784 (3.97)15
When Marjan, a thirteen-year-old crippled girl, joins the Sultan's harem in ancient Persia, she gathers for Shahrazad the stories which will save the queen's life.
  1. 01
    The Storyteller's Daughter: A Retelling of "The Arabian Nights" by Cameron Dokey (Anonymous user, HollyMS)
    HollyMS: Both works are about Scheherazade.
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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
The story of Shahrazad has always puzzled me. This King kills his wives day after day and his people just let it happen? They didn't revolt? Monarchies have been tumbled for much less! Yet this slip of a girl manages to stand up to this King and save her people.

She has never gotten her proper due in my opinion.

Fletcher's book however is a decent step in that direction. Though about Marjan, we see what it must be like for Shahrazad. Night after night for years, constantly frightened and stressed that at any moment the wrong word, the word turn of phrase will get her family killed.

Marjan is just as brave and clever as Shahrazad, which is both a blessing and curse for women in those days. A muslim hired out to a Jewish man and his wife, her life isn't easy, but they care for her like a daughter and she is happy at least. Its not that Marjan does reckless things--impetuous perhaps, but not reckless. She emphasizes with Shahrazad and reveres her like a hero, willing to do anything (including putting her life at risk) to save hers.

The outside 'force' in the story, that of the Sultan's greedy, waspish, over indulgent mother Khatun, is necessary. Her actions are just this side of evil, but they are covered with 'I need to protect my sons!'.

Just as in life, in Shadow Spinner things do not end 'perfectly'. A measure of happiness for most, but no real 'justice' is given to Khatun's actions and Marjan is forced to flee the city, never seeing her Aunt and Uncle, or friends at the palace again. I could almost wish for a sequel, to make sure that Marjan's life hereafter isn't a let down after this adventure, but sometimes a story needs an ending. ( )
  lexilewords | Dec 28, 2023 |
very good - Ruthie
  hcs_admin | Nov 21, 2022 |
Not as good as I remember. But still better than most of the stuff out there. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
This is a middle grade fictional novel about some of what went on behind the scenes in the story of Shahrazad and the 1001 nights. It's a quick read, but has some interesting twists and good characters. And it follows it's own advice, weaving lessons into the story that it tells.
  GretchenLynn | Jan 7, 2020 |
Good story. Shahrazad is in it. Heroine is Shi’ite (uses stone for prayer) and lives with a Jewish couple for a while.
  fadeledu | Dec 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Fletcherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brauner, AnneÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlino, AngelaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramer, DaveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramer, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, SteveCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jean Karl, who has taught me so much about story
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My auntie Chava used to say to me, "What will become of you, Marjan?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When Marjan, a thirteen-year-old crippled girl, joins the Sultan's harem in ancient Persia, she gathers for Shahrazad the stories which will save the queen's life.

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