I was looking over a few of my books the other day when I noticed that some of them shared a recurring theme. Of these 4 books I couldn’t help but compare them and see what I liked and disliked from each. Although these books were similar in summary once I had read them they were nothing alike.
My first two books were:
The Wrath and The Dawn and… A Thousand Nights
Summary for The Wrath and The Dawn:
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
Summary for A Thousand Nights:
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife.
When Lo-Melkhiin – a formidable king – arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice – leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man.
But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king . . . if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.
Admittedly, these two novels are both retellings of the same Arabian tale, however only the initial outline of the plot was the same. While I absolutely adored The Wrath and The Dawn, I didn’t really enjoy A Thousand Nights. I couldn’t immerse myself in the latter book while for the former I couldn’t put the novel down. The main differences I noticed were that of both the murderous kings as well as our protagonists. The story between Shahrzad and Khalid was beautiful and full of sharp wit and whereas the relationship between Lo-Melkhiin and Scheherazade was slow and slightly boring, to the point that I found it hard to want to read on.
The second two novels I found similar based on their blurbs were:
Saint Anything and…. My Life Next Door
Summary for Saint Anything:
Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.
Summary for My Life Next Door:
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
Both of these books feature female protagonists with unaffectionate parents. There were certain similarities I picked up from this book but there were major differences too, that made both stories different.
- Both girls meet families that are loving and warm and that accept them openly
- Within each family there is a love interest
- They both learn to stand up for themselves
- Both stories have a car accident in them
- The families are unique
- The general direction of the plot is different
- The side characters/ friends and their individual stories differ greatly
- The family dynamic of our protagonists as well as their respective parent(s) are different
I preferred My Life Next Door to Saint Anything, however that may have been because it had a slightly more contemporary fell to it. Both novels were well written and I was involved in each plot.
Have you read any similar books? What are they? What were their differences/ similarities?