Reviews of Arabesques 2 (1989)
Review by spiphany (2004-06-20)
The stories themselves aren't bad (although some appealed to me more than others, as is usual for multi-author anthologies), but the framing material was contrived and distracting. The idea undoubtably was to use the form of The Arabian Nights, where the story of Shaharazad forms a framework for the other stories, but it would have been more effective here if the book had been conceived all of a piece - if the stories hadn't been so different in style and voice and had formed a coherent whole instead of a miscellaneous collection. Also, most of the stories in this volume are fantasies - in an Arabian setting, with magic and djinns, but fantasy stories nonetheless - rather than fairy tales, which further prevented the book from being effective in the form in which it is presented.
The stories are fine - I just have issues with the book as a whole because it pretends to be something it is not, which somewhat spoiled my enjoyment of it.