Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Publication date: October 6, 2015
Summary (via Goodreads): Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next. And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. But back in their village her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air in it’s place. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun sets and rises, and she is not dead. Night after night Lo-Melkhiin comes to her, and listens to the stories she tells and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong. The words she speaks to him every night are given strange life of their own. She makes things appear. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to rule of a monster.
This book was pretty good overall, but it did have some slow parts. I ended up giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Thank you Netgalley for approving my request in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed learning about another culture and seeing a spin off the old One Thousand and One Nights tale that I honestly don’t have much background on. I think the author did a good job with the story overall. I just wish it had been a little faster paced to keep my interest. Another thing I didn’t really like was that a lot of the characters didn’t get names. They were just referred to as ‘my sister’, ‘my father’, ‘my brothers’, etc. I found them a little harder to connect to because of that.
I think the author did a great job with the setting. I really felt like I was in the desert with the characters, watching the story unfold. She also did a great job with the characters, even if I didn’t like the fact that pretty much no one had names except a few males. I thought the relationships that the females in the book formed were great. I loved seeing strong female characters come together to overcome obstacles in their lives. I especially loved the relationship between the main character and her sister, even though they’re separated physically throughout most of the book.
As I only know the basics of the original tale, I wasn’t entirely sure if the supernatural/fantasy twist was something the author made up. If so, that was an interesting spin. I honestly think the book could have been a little shorter. It would have helped the book’s pacing and kept readers more engaged. Maybe a little more action could have helped as well.
I didn’t mark down any favorite lines as I was reading, but there was one towards the very end that I enjoyed: “The words change language, and meaning is lost and gained in every vowel’s shift. They change the monster into a man, and they change her into something that can be used to teach a lesson: if you are clever and if you are good, the monster will not have you.”
Final note: It was an interesting book & I loved learning about another culture. I just felt it was too slow for me to really love it. You should definitely check it out if you love learning about another culture & like a supernatural/fantasy twist.