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Shadow Spinner (A Jean Karl Book) Paperback – November 1, 1999
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From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Shadow Spinner starts 989 days after Shahrazad stopped the Sultan's murder of wife after wife by volunteering to marry him, then telling him stories so gripping, with cliffhangers so huge, that each one buys her another day of life. At this point, Shahrazad has given the sultan three sons and is growing desperate - she's running out of tales to tell, for one thing. Enter Marjan, who comes to the harem with her Aunt Chava, to sell things to the women. Marjan worships Shahrazad, and has collected tales all her life; she knows one that Shahrazad doesn't know, and gets caught up in the intrigue of the sultan's harem as well as Shahrazad's own story.
Marjan is a likeable character, and her experiences are great adventure. Still, the true center of the tale is Shahrazad, and the unexpected stength of the book is its villains. Unlike most YA and children's fantasy, the villains of this book are not all bad; Marjan in time comes to understand the reasons behind the actions of the sultan, his mother, and even her own mother, who hurt her badly years before.
This is a fun story on the surface, with a lot of food for thought swimming just underneath. It's a good read especially for young girls, and it should also appeal to adult fans of fantasy or children's lit. A winner.
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.
I first got this book after meeting Fletcher. I was not quite sure whether to rate this book two stars or three. But, actually, I'd now rate it three and a half. The story was quite interesting at the beginning, and started to get a little slower. The quality of the writing is a positive five stars, but the story strayed a little from Marjan finding the stories. Though it was quite slow, the story did have a great topic and was well written.
I must say the ending was very compelling and mysterious. You felt as if you were there with Marjan. The ending was definitely the best part of the book, which is partially why I rated it higher.
I recommend this book for anyone who's looking for a good tale.
-Gina Bertaina, age eleven
Anyway--this is a great book, especially for reading aloud. It doesn't have quite the pizzazz or made-for-the-movies aura that Harry Potter has, but in my opinion, that's a good thing. And it finally got my daughter out of re-reading Harry for the umpteenth time and trying some new books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book. If you are looking for a good book, look no further. It is exiting when Marjan moves to the harem and sneaks out secretly to find more stories for Shahrazad. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bookworm
Outstanding spin on the story of Scheherazade. Great atmosphere and character development.Published 12 months ago by GreatScott
This book will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what becomes of Sharazad's slaves and helpers or if there is going to be another assassination.Published 13 months ago by Andy
Suspenseful--author's tips for storytelling at the beginning of each chapter are life-relevant as well as foreshadowing in the story. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Monica Stoesz
This has got to make top five best books i have ever read. This. Book was inspiring and lesson learning i absolutely loved itPublished 17 months ago by ala De Chrisy
Really well-written, great pacing, kept me in suspense the whole time.Published 19 months ago by Jessica Dickey