THE NINETY-NINTH BRIDE
AUTHOR: CATHERINE F. KING
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA, FANTASY, SHORT STORY, RETELLING
I read this for the #12DaysofDiversity Retellings readathon. Features: Protagonist of Colour (Arabic FMC), Non-Western Stories and Myths.
Dunya is just fifteen years of age when her father, the Grand Vizier, gives her over to the mad Sultan for his bride. Ninety-eight Sultanas before Dunya have been executed, slaughtered at the break of dawn following their first night with their new husband. But on her own wedding night, the ninety-ninth bride finds help from the mysterious and beautiful Zahra, who proposes to tell the Sultan a story…
I didn’t dislike this story, but it was lacking something. Dunya was quite a dull character, who things just seemed to happen to rather. She was a bit to naive and forgiving for my tastes — there was no conflict between her and her father even after he gives her up for certain death.
There were two things I did really like though. First, that the Sultan was completely irredeemable and that he got what was coming to him. Second, the stories that Zahra told the Sultan and Dunya were good and added to the 1001 Nights feel.