Catherine Faris King’s debut novel, The Ninety-Ninth Bride, is a beautiful retelling of the tale of Scheherazade, and the thousand and one nights of stories that kept a bride alive. But The Ninety-Ninth Bride is not directly about Scheherazade, the famed woman who tamed a king. Instead, King tells the story of Dunya, a young girl in a family that cares little for her, whose open heart and wide eyes make for a unique perspective on the events of those thousand and one nights.
Dunya is but 15 when she offers to help her father, and is given to the Sultan as his next bride in a string of murdered women. The Sultan has executed the last ninety-eight women he has married, driven mad by the betrayal of his first Sultana, and Dunya fears for the worst. But on her wedding night, Dunya is surprised to discover that there is another bride in the chamber—Zahra, who saves Dunya by telling the Sultan a tale each and every night, postponing the Sultan’s rage. But there is something bigger at work, infecting the land and causing troubles for humans and magical folk alike, and Dunya is determined to fix it, no matter the cost. [Read more…]