Shadow Spinner
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Shadow Spinner

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  4,303 ratings  ·  293 reviews
In an adventure equal to any a storyteller might relate, a crippled serving girl faces the intrigues of the harem, the dangers of the streets, and the anger of the Sultan himself to find the needed ending to an incomplete story.
Paperback, Jean Karl Books, 224 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published May 1st 1998)
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Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher is set in Ancient Persia and it is a retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights. The original tale is the story of Shaharazad, the young woman who tells stories each night to the Sultan, ending before the climax is complete in order to remain alive one more day. Over and over she does this, for 1001 nights. The original tale is where we get such beloved stories as Aladdin, Sinbad, and Ali Baba and the Fo...more
I must admit I was skeptical when I picked up this book. How interesting could a story be about someone who tells stories? I tell stories, and trust me, a book about my life would be very boring. (And then Janette sat huddled in front of her laptop for the next five hours . . . See what I mean?)

I'm glad to report that I was really wrong in this assumption. It was an awesome book and I liked it all that much more because the characters talked about stories and their importance. They teach things....more
I grew up reading the story about Shahrazad many times and in various "versions", but this take brought a breath of fresh air to it.
Susan Fletcher is a great story spinner who gave more than life to the characters. The ones from the original story such as Shahrazad and the Sultan, were more than 2 dimensional, they felt real, and so were the additional characters she brought in to weave in the "behind the scenes" parts. You will get to know and care for those secondary characters, even though yo...more
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...more
Shadow Spinner is a fun 'middle grader' book set in Ancient Persia as a new twist on the story of 1001 Arabian Nights. In the original story of 1001 Arabian Nights, Shaharazad is the Sultan's wife who is keeping herself alive by telling the Sultan a story every night and ending each night without finishing the story so that the Sultan's curiosity will be aroused and he will keep her alive another day to finish the story.

In this retelling, we visit the world of Sultans, harems, palaces and slaves...more
There are some true and important messages in this book. This book would make a great read-a-loud, it is exciting and full of adventure, and teaches a few good lessons. I enjoyed that the heroine did not have physical or spiritual perfection but was on a journey.

I really enjoyed the little bits of wisdom at the beginning of each chapter. One quote I particularly liked was, "People will take what they need from the stories they hear." Another quote says, "Sometimes I wonder if the stories you te...more
Although the book is based on Persian culture, I found many familir elements from Moroccan culture. While the plot didn't always flow smoothly, the imagery of the harem and the bazaar captured another world. A good high interest, low reading level book for young teens.
Evelynn {The Literary Pianist}
This behind-the-scenes retelling of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights really brought the old stories to life. The only reason I rated it three stars is because it's not exactly my kind of book, but it was still really good.
Jan 06, 2014 Arghavan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arghavan by: یاسی
فکر کنم دوم یا چهارم دبستان بودم؛ عمل‍ا هر روز این رو می‌خوندم. عـــاشق‌ش بودم رسماً. :ی
چیز خوبی بود خیلی. :} قصّه‌هاش رو خیلی دوست داشتم. خیلی.
Hannah  Walsh
A well-written and fascinating book. Now I'm dying to learn more about the Arabian Nights...

اسمش بود گمشده ي شهرزاد!! اينم مال اون وقتاست ، خيلي ازش لذت بردم.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Excellent retelling of the story of Scheherezade.
I've read this years ago, but recently re-read it for my thesis project. It is such a beautiful read.

(view spoiler)...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Here is yet another book I judged before I even read it. I almost grudgingly put it on hold, and felt the same when I picked it up. From the first page I was very interested. Susan Fletcher is a beautiful storyteller, one would have to be to write a book about storytellers. I truely enjoyed this book.
Set in the middle east, a community lived under the rule of a Sultan. This sultan was betrayed by his wife, and in his anger he swore that he would never let anyone hurt him again. So he took a new...more
I really loved this book because it has a lot of adventure in it. The sultan of the land found out that one of his wives had betrayed him, so he started killing off all of his wives. He would marry a woman one night and then kill her the next. Mothers started maiming their daughters so that they wouldn't be married by the Sultan. Then, this one woman marries the Sultan, but before he kills her, she asks if she can tell her sister one last story. The sultan agrees, but the woman stops the story i...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I just read two YA novels retelling the story of the Arabian Nights. The biggest problem with a modern version of this story, at least for a YA audience, turns out to be rehabilitation of Shahrayar, the Sultan who is betrayed by his wife, kills her, and decides to marry a virgin a day, killing each new wife at sunrise so she can't betray him. (She can't bear him any heirs either, but neither of the books goes into that.) Anyway, it's hard to provide...more
Awards and Recognitions: ALA Notable Books for Children – 1999

Using Richard F. Burton’s translation of "The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night" as inspiration, this is the story of Shaharazad as she nears the end of her 1001 nights. Marjan, on a trip with her Auntie Chava to sell jewelry to the Sultan’s harem, is taken to meet her hero, Shaharazad, when Shahrazad’s younger sister overhears her telling a story to some children. Desperate for new stories, Shahrazad brings Marjan to live in th...more
Shahrazad is the princess who tells the sultan the thousand tales of the Arabian nights. She stops the tale at just the right place so that the king doesn't kill her in the morning because he wants the rest of the stories. She is at 939 nights and has born the king 3 sons and still she fears for her life each night. She is running out of stories to tell and doesn't know what to do when she meets Marjan. Marjan is a teller of stories as well and has held Shahrazad as her hero all her life. She wo...more
GarnerGoingsOn Library
The classic tale of feminine cleverness - the story of Scheherazade and a thousand and one nights - is retold from an insider perspective and begins with Shahrazad struggling to think of a new story after almost a thousand nights of telling tales, and tired from childbirth to her third son. Marjan, in a chance encounter with Shahrazad's sister finds herself embroiled in intrigue and adventure as she strives to help Shahrazad with new material. We found ourselves lost in the maze of the harem, st...more
A unique retelling of the Arabian Nights story. Marjan is a young woman and a crippled orphan living with her aunt and uncle. She adores stories the way children love candy. She has the highest respect for Shahrazad, who is married to the Sultan and has stopped his spree of marrying and killing a wife each day by keeping him mesmerized with her storytelling.

One day, Marjan visits the palace so her aunt can sell some of their jewelry to the women living in the harem. While her aunt is dealing wi...more
The 5th-graders who were strong readers in our Mother-Daughter book group enjoyed this book. It was too difficult for my child so I read it and then summarized it and read selected passages to her. The imagery is beautiful if some of the historical aspects seem suspect. Fletcher sets this adaptation of Scheherazade's 1001 Nights in an undefined place and time that she says is based on Persian culture. I had problems with this heroic tale for girls because the basis is the mythical Sultan who kil...more
LFPL Teen Services
Apr 15, 2008 LFPL Teen Services rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
A unique retelling of the Arabian Nights story. Marjan is a young woman and a crippled orphan living with her aunt and uncle. She adores stories the way children love candy. She has the highest respect for Shahrazad, who is married to the Sultan and has stopped his spree of marrying and killing a wife each day by keeping him mesmerized with her storytelling.

One day, Marjan visits the palace so her aunt can sell some of their jewelry to the women living in the harem. While her aunt is dealing wi...more
I stayed up last night to finish this book (and to play Easter Bunny for Lady K). I read this one rather quickly even for a bedside book which always go fast due to more reading time available. Marjan is a crippled orphan who comes to the notice of Shahrazad, the teller of stories to the Sultan to maintain living another day and to save the lives of other women in the Sultan's realm. Shahrazad is running low on stories and lives in fear, until the day Marjan comes to the harem with her aunt to s...more
Shadow spinner is about a girl named Marjan who is crippled.When she goes to the Sultans court to sell some goods she tells the sultans wife, Shahrazad, a story that she never heard before. You see the sultan began killing his wives every nght after his first wife betrayed him, and only Shahrazadis able to stop him by telling him a story each night and stopping it in a exciting part at dawn. After Marjan tells Shahrazad the story she is bought to the sultans house to tell the rest of the story b...more
Shadow Spinner...
How could I resist a title such as that? This book was very good. It was fairly simple, and written to a younger audience, but I found myself thoroughly pleased. The writing was enjoyable and the storyline intriguing. Best of all for me though were the stories. This book is about stories. Not only does it include a few other ones, it weaves the story and everything behind it. It was like reading a long tale. I say tale because it's the type of book that I could hear being told o...more
I always did wonder how Shahrazad kept up night after night for over three years without accidentally spinning a story she had already told. I can barely remember what I did yesterday, much less whether I've told people a story already or not.

One thing I can't quite decide about is the issue of Marjan's crippling and how it was used in the book. Was it used just to give Marjan her own chance for personal growth? Or was it used well, portraying a character who doesn't let her physical defects def...more
Shadow Spinner is a shockingly good book, set in ancient Persia. The way Susan Fletcher writes the details makes you feel like you actually experience Persia and the Sultans Harem. The characters are very intricate and you seem to learn more about each character every chapter, finally building up to the end where you know the characters and their stories through and through, some better than others.
This is the type of book you don't want to put down until you've finished it, and even then you wi...more
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What's The Name o...: YA--Girl is inducted into a harem [s] 6 170 Aug 26, 2012 07:54AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Fletcher is the author of a popular trilogy that includes the books Dragon's Milk, Flight of the Dragon Kyn, and Sign of the Dove, as well as of several other novels for young readers.

With a medieval setting inspired by pictures of the Welsh countryside from where Flet...more
More about Susan Fletcher...
Dragon's Milk (Dragon Chronicles, #1) Flight of the Dragon Kyn (Dragon Chronicles, #2) Sign of the Dove (The Dragon Chronicles, Book 3) Alphabet of Dreams Ancient, Strange, and Lovely (Dragon Chronicles, #4)

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“Marjan. I have told him tales of good women and bad women, strong women and weak women, shy women and bold women, clever women and stupid women, honest women and women who betray. I'm hoping that, by living inside their skins while he hears their stories, he'll understand over time that women are not all this way or that way. I'm hoping he'll look at women as he does at men--that you must judge each of us on her own merits, and not condemn us or exalt us only because we belong to a particular sex.” 3 likes
“If you let words go buzzing out of your mouth like bees, she always told me, they will come back and sting you.” 1 likes
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