Shadow Spinner

Overview

Every night, Shahrazad begins a story. And every morning, the Sultan lets her live another day — providing the story is interesting enough to capture his attention. After almost one thousand nights, Shahrazad is running out of tales. And that is how Marjan's story begins....
It falls to Marjan to help Shahrazad find new stories — ones the Sultan has never heard before. To do that, the girl is forced to undertake a dangerous and forbidden mission: sneak from the harem and travel ...

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Shadow Spinner

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Overview

Every night, Shahrazad begins a story. And every morning, the Sultan lets her live another day — providing the story is interesting enough to capture his attention. After almost one thousand nights, Shahrazad is running out of tales. And that is how Marjan's story begins....
It falls to Marjan to help Shahrazad find new stories — ones the Sultan has never heard before. To do that, the girl is forced to undertake a dangerous and forbidden mission: sneak from the harem and travel the city, pulling tales from strangers and bringing them back to Shahrazad. But as she searches the city, a wonderful thing happens. From a quiet spinner of tales, Marjan suddenly becomes the center of a more surprising story than she ever could have imagined.

Introduces Arabian Night tales and gives the stories a new twist.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Joyce Yen
The magical tale of Shahrazad comes to life again; however, this time the legendary queen who told stories to the Sultan each night in order to save her life seeks help from another. Marjan, a thirteen-year-old crippled girl who loves to tell stories, accompanies her aunt into the Sultan's harem one day and her life is changed dramatically. Shahrazad's sister, Dunyazad, overhears Marjan telling a story to the children and takes her to Shahrazad. Marjan's story is one Shahrazad has not told the Sultan, and he loves it. The Sultan recognizes the story from his childhood and asks for the second half-but unfortunately, Marjan only knows the first half. Her adventures take off as she, Shahrazad, and Dunyazad track down the keeper of the story, a blind storyteller whom Marjan encountered at the bazaar.

This is more than just another account of Shahrazad's legend; Marjan learns her own life story and strengths. She is a wounded child, physically and spiritually, and her experiences in the harem and with Shahrazad and her search for the missing tale help Marjan heal. Each chapter begins with "Lessons for Life and Storytelling," which are echoed in that chapter. Marjan grows stronger as she learns each new life lesson. As the story progresses, the reader becomes more invested in the fate of Marjan and, consequently, the fate of Shahrazad and all young women and girls in the sultanate. Well written and engaging, young readers will enjoy this tale and perhaps may even take some of the "Lessons for Life and Storytelling" for themselves.

VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Young Marjan's adopted Auntie Chava despairs of her ever finding a suitable husband, because of her maimed foot and fascination with stories and storytelling, which often distracts her from her everyday duties. But soon after the beginning of this rich and appealing young adult novel, Marjan must use her wide knowledge of stories to come to the aid of the Sultan's latest wife, Shahrazad, who is about to run out of stories and therefore lose her life. The color and romance of a harem in old Persia is very convincingly recreated in this page-turning tale of danger, intrigue, betrayal and love, and Marjan is a very appealing and believable protagonist. Each chapter begins with an intriguing "Lesson for Life and Storytelling," and an author's note explains how the novel is based on the classic "Thousand and One Nights."
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9Marjan, a young storyteller in ancient Persia, inadvertently takes a new story to Shahrazad. The Queen has been entertaining her husband for nearly 1000 nights and she's growing desperate. The Sultan loves the tale, which he vaguely remembers from his childhood, but requests the ending. Shahrazad makes the girl a part of the harem in order to get it, but learns that she has told all that she knows. Marjan leaves the harem, a dangerous move indeed, and tracks down an old man at the bazaar who was the source. She makes some surprising connections between the outside world and the harem and, in a final face to face with the Sultan, reveals much about herself, the power of story, and the grace of redemption. There are no weak spots in the telling of this tale. Even the minor characters make real impressions. The voices are clear and the dialogue works beautifully. As strong as these points are, it is the structure that really makes this book sing. Everything is carefully laid out for readers in a measured fashion that keeps the pages turning. The "Lessons for Life and Storytelling" that open each chapter boldly state the truths any storyteller knows and are echoed in the narrative. Marjan's crippled foot perfectly mirrors the Sultan's crippled trust. In both of their cases, it is a story that breaks through the flinty walls around their hearts. After much tension and adventure, there are believable, happy endings all around. An elegantly written novel that will delight and entertain even as it teaches, just as any good tale does.Patricia A. Dollisch, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
NY Times Book Review
Here's an engrossing retelling of a familiar but exotic tale set inside a harem. Shahrazad, the Sultan's present wife, tells him a different story every night. The narrator is Marjan, her clubfooted servant and a fine storyteller herself.
Horn Book Magazine
Surely, the most famous storyteller of all time is Scheherazade (or, as Susan Fletcher renders the spelling, Sharazad), whose tales became the foundation for the popularly titled Arabian Nights. But just how did she acquire this vast repertoire? Fletcher offers a plausible explanation in a suspenseful first-person novel in which Marjan, an orphan crippled by a cruel mischance, becomes involved in palace politics as a handmaiden to the fabled princess and as a discoverer of new stories, thus becoming one source for some of the thousand and one tales used by Sharazad to save her life. The style, in its re-creation of life in a Persian harem and city, is descriptive but not lush, advantageously restrained. Although the dialogue sometimes suggests modern sensibilities in observations on the fate of women or in phrases such as "we'll sort this through," the author makes no claims for complete verisimilitude, indicating in an appended note the extent of her reliance on Burton's edition of the tales. Fletcher puts her own spin on the source material, telling a tale in which the pace is consistent, the characters interesting, and the plot impelling. The conclusion is particularly notable for its avoidance of implausible senti-mentality: it is a hopeful rather than a conventional "happy ending." Equally notable are the boxed "Lessons for Life and Storytelling" that precede each chapter. Not only do they serve as links between plot elements, they are also shrewd observations on the potential of language and literature to effect change. As Marjan comments in one of these, "Words are how the powerless can have power."
Kirkus Reviews
A young girl, Marjan, rescues the fabled Shahrazad from the Sultan's wrath in this exciting and thought-provoking novel from Fletcher (Flight of the Dragon Kyn, 1993, etc.). With her crippled foot, Marjan never expects to be dragged off to the palace, but that is what happens after a chance meeting with Shahrazadþthe storyteller who wins her life each night with cliffhanging stories for the sultan, and who obtains a story from Marjan. Heartbroken at leaving her Aunt Chava and her Uncle Eli, Marjan confronts cruelty within the palace's lush interior, where wives and concubines can be executed at the sultan's whim, and where the Khatun, the sultan's mother, spies on everyone. Dispatched by Shahrazad to find more stories, Marjan sneaks out into the marketplace, where she eventually finds an old storyteller who tells her the end of a story of which the sultan has become fond. Beaten and imprisoned by the Khatun, Marjan escapes the palace, only to return and tell the sultan an allegory that enables him to realize his love for Shahrazad, and to spare her life. Despite the licenses Fletcher takes with the story of Shahrazad, the novel may entice readers into the pages of Richard Burton's far richer work; they will appreciate the power of storytellingþthat it may expand the soul of even the most hardened listener. (Fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689830518
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Series: Jean Karl Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 215,174
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Fletcher is the acclaimed author of the Dragon Chronicles, composed of Dragon’s Milk, Flight of the Dragon Kyn, Sign of the Dove, and Ancient, Strange, and Lovely as well as the award-winning Alphabet of Dreams, Shadow Spinner, Walk Across the Sea, and Falcon in the Glass. Ms. Fletcher lives in Wilsonville, Oregon. Visit her at SusanFletcher.com.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2006

    Amazing book!

    Marjan, a maimed servant and storyteller, never thought that she would be any use to anyone, but even so, someone was in desperate need of a storyteller¿s help in order to stay alive. Much to Marjan¿s surprise, she is summoned to Shahrazad, the queen of Persia, who was in need of her storytelling. For over two years, the brave queen had told a story to the Sultan each night, and, if it was amusing enough, she was allowed to live the next day. Now, after almost 1,000 nights of storytelling had passed, Shahrazad was running out of tales to tell. She set Marjan the task of finding new tales never heard by the Sultan, and bringing them back to her. Marjan, who thought that she would be of no importance to anyone, unexpectedly finds herself in an adventurous, frightening, and amazing tale of her own. The Shadow Spinner is wonderfully written and is captivating in the eyes of those who love stories of risk and adventure. Susan Fletcher¿s carefully chosen words have a life of their own as they weave pictures into the minds of her many readers. It is also a great book to read together as a family.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Good book for tweens and young teens.

    Out of curiousity I picked up this book wanting to read something different. This was a good choice. The plot is engaging and interesting. The characters lively and fun to root for. While a harem is the setting of the story there is no materials a parent would find objectionable. This book was a fun if short read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

    Rememberable

    I must say, I have read literally thousands of stories. And I have read this one around the time it was first published I am coming to find out. And Let me tell you I still remember the story in detail. It is really a well told story. The imagery is breath-taking and the heroine will have you on the edge of your seat. A must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    Breath Taking

    I loved every page of this book. I would mainly recommend Shadow Spinner for more sophisticatrd people who would actually enjoy an average book that's NOT the rich-girl, cookie cutter crap. Now to tell about the book. It's about a girl named Marjan who loves to tell stories and admires Shahrazad, her hero. She wishes for something that gets her caught up in betrayal,scandals, and a bunch of other stuff. And she realizes that luxury isn't always the best way to live

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2008

    incredible

    shadow spinner is the most interesting book EVER! it just makes you want to read it more and more .You dont even need a quit place to read cause its so good. All you need is a copfertable place and a pillow at night to enjoy the most exstravegant book EEEEEEEEVVVRR !(loud)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2007

    Bianca a book lover

    The book Shadow Spinner was so intresting. I love to read so much. Especially if its from another culture. Its about how Marjan neeeds to find more stories for Shahrazad before time runs out. She even sneaks out of the harem. Thats dangerous, but when she did that it showed true friendship.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    Awesome Book

    This book is a very good book, I like how in each chapter it has a lesson. Read this book, you won't regret reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2006

    MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BOOK

    This is my favorite book in the world. i think i've read it over 30 times, seriously. It's great if you are into the middle eastern or indian culture. beautifully written and a great story. i never got bored with this book. i guarantee it will be one of your favorites

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006

    Wonderous

    This book describes the grandier and magesty of a lost world. A magnificent retelling of the romantic and intriging legand. An amazing book for anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    LOVED IT

    this was such a good book! my teacher read us one chapter everyday, and i couldn't wait for the next day so that i could hear more of the story. it is full of action and suspense. it is a great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2004

    Join the Adventure!

    Every night Queen Shaharazad begins a new story. Every morning the king lets her live another day so that he can hear the end of the story. This has been going on for a long time. So long, in fact, that Shaharazad is beginning to run out of stories. Then she meets Marjan, a simple country girl who tells stories for pleasure. Shaharazad bids Marjan come and live with her and tell her stories. But it is not as simple as it sounds. For one night Shaharazad begins to tell a story for which she does not know the end. She assumes that Marjan knows the ending, but she does not. Now it is up to Marjan to set things right again. She must find the end of the story, or Shaharazad will die. Can she find it before it is too late? I really enjoyed this realistic fiction book. It was so suspensful that I could not put it down. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The characters were believable and easy to connect to. If you are looking for a unique, suspense-filled book, 'Shadow Spinner' is the one for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2004

    a great book for all ages!

    after reading this book you see the world through different eyes and open the pages to a world of fascinating books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2003

    good book

    i loved this book it was very good. i've heard about 5 versions of the story about Shahrazad and this was one of my favorites.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    Review (what else?)

    This was a really good book. Intrigueing(sp?) and suspensdful. a wonderful story of how Marjan go the story for Shaharazad.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2003

    great historical book

    This book was so intriguing!!! I love historical fiction and the story of shahrazad. the music by Rimsky-Korsakov is great too. If anyone loves historical fiction like me, READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2003

    great intriguing book

    I absolutly adored this book. All my friends who read it think it is great too. It is interesting and puts a new and wonderful spin on the classic tale of 1 thousand and 1 arabian nights. the story keeps you guessing at every turn. i love how everyone is connected at the very end. The character marjan is realistic and reflects the hopes and dreams of childhood. She is very easy to realate to. I couldn't put this thrilling tale down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2003

    Very good book

    Marry someone, make her your queen, kill her the next day. Do it over and over. Thats what the sultan did. Until he met sharazad (watever her name is). Everyday she tells a story, if she tells a good one, she'll live an extra day. The queen was running out of stories so she got Marjin to look for stories for her. I think this book was really great. I read it 7 times!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2002

    Shadow Spinner

    I am always eager for a new fantasy book, magic, gypsy tales, and stories taking place in other worlds. When my school librarian offered this to me, I was hesitant. I hadn't yet gotten into fairystories. But I read this book and the suspense kept me inrigued. I really liked the characters, and it was well written. I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it to everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    I loved this book

    It had all these twist and turns that kept pulling me back to read more. I could hardly put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2002

    Excellent!

    This book was given to me as a present from one of my friends. I loved it so much. There is a story inside another story which makes the book so interesting. Everything that happens is like a clue, even though I would not call this book a mystery book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews

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