Book Review - 1001 Days by Renee Frey
Renee Frey’s 1001 Days, much like The Thousand and One Nights, starts out with a frame story. But it starts on the 1001st day, where Sutaita (Scheherazade) knows that she is out of stories and will die that very day. There are then flashbacks to when Sutaita was first picked to become the Empress to the murderous Emperor. We learn that Scheherazade is the daughter of the Emperor’s trusted advisor, and no more eligible women are available, having all been put to death the morning after their wedding. Sutaita yearns to tell her sister one last story and has her great epiphany on how to save herself: by telling stories so long and so fantastical the Emperor will want to hear the end the next evening. And so, with her sister’s help, they set out to trick the Emperor into not killing Sutaita the very next morning. The chapters then begin to jump POV’s with some from Sutaita’s view and others from Shahrayar’s. Through this, we learn that the Emperor, who starts off annoyed at his new wife’s antics, slowly begins to realize that he loves her and cannot bring himself to kill her.
Pros: The tales themselves are not retold in detail. This is the frame story being retold so that we see the actions of the Emperor and Scheherazade instead. This makes for a delightful read, as we learn about the people ‘behind’ the stories, so to speak. Fast, easy read. I did not want to put this book down!
Cons: The Emperor’s name is still Shahrayar just as in the original text. While Sutaita mentions that she’s well-versed in many kinds of tales, we don’t get to see the tales she chooses to tell in any sort of detail.
Overall, this is a very well-written book, and it was hard to put down until the last page was turned. You will not regret giving this a read, especially if you are a fan of the original Arabian Nights tales!