I received this book for free from Disney, Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 6th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Retelling, Young Adult
Format: ARC, digital ARC
Source: Disney, Disney Hyperion
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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. 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 rises and sets, 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.
Far away, 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.
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. 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 the rule of a monster.
They were burning up, and they didn’t even know they were afire.
An elegantly written novel with a lovely story, A Thousand Nights is a book perfect for all readers looking for an engrossing read.
If I’m being completely honest here, I’m not familiar with the original tale and had to look it up on the internet.
So now I know it, and that totally counts. Anyway, A Thousand Nights gives us a unique spin on the original story, mainly summarized by the word magic.
Good men fall to monsters every day. Clever men are tricked by their own pride or pretty words.
As a huge fan of fantasy, I was completely enamored with all the fantasy elements in this book. But let me give you a fair warning: nothing is explained thoroughly. Typically that’ll sort of piss me off, but with this one, that sense of blindness on the reader’s end works really well with the story. It gives the story an air of mystery.
Another aspect that was totally cryptic was the characters. Heck, we don’t even know the main character’s name! Or basically any of the characters’ names, besides Lo-Melkhiin. But again, it worked. This time around, it made the story more innocent and whimsical feeling.
There is life, and there is living–and that is what she learned.
Not only was our heroine cryptic. She was also incredibly brave and selfless. She didn’t let her seemingly hopeless situation stop her from living, and from trying to find a way out. She uses her wits to push through all the days.
The snake did not always strike. Sometimes it waited.
There’s also a lot to be learned from this book, and things that really should happen in our current world. Some are stated explicitly, while some are implied. Such as:
1.) A community should be a community! In A Thousand Nights, all the women are family. They’re all very supportive of each other and use each other as sources of strength. The men all act as a unified body–they fight together, and protect each other.
2.) Looks can be deceiving. Like with Lo-Melkhiin, you have to dig really deep to really know a person.
The setting and the writing were both gorgeous as well, and gave the book such a vivid atmosphere. I loved imagining the desert, the qasr, the gardens… Everything was just so exquisite and elegant.
The only reason the book wasn’t a perfect read was its pace. Yes, this book is EXTREMELY slow. Literally nothing of significance happens int he first, say, four fifths of the book. It was just imagery and character development up until the epic ending. So if you’re not a big fan of books without much of an actual story, this book might be boring for you.
I’m not really sure why this book isn’t getting a lot of love. I, for one, recommend it to anyone who likes atmospheric, character-driven reads.