Author: E.K. Johnston
Pub. Date: Oct 6 2015
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.
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*Review copy received from publisher in exchange for honest review. This doesn’t affect my review or opinion*
I’ve already read one amazing retelling of 1001 Nights so far this year, so I had very high expectations for this book. I love the cover, for sure! The wordy part in between the covers, though, wasn’t so exciting. It was very slow-paced, and the story was lacking.
In March, I read The Wrath And The Dawn and absolutely adored it. I was worried that A Thousand Nights would be repetitive, but it took a very different approach to the classic story 1001 Nights. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this version nearly as much. While the writing is exquisite and I’m sure many people will enjoy this traditional approach to storytelling, it wasn’t for me.
When the protagonist is taken to Lo-Melkhiin’s court, she spends days locked away and has very little contact with the servants and other people. This means that she spends a lot of time alone, thinking and reflecting on her life. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, but it did mean that there wasn’t a lot of action. Not very much happens in the actual story, and the main plot events are really spaced out. The action started to increase near the end of the book, but by then it was far too late for me.
The writing was lyrical and absolutely beautiful. The author’s writing style is definitely unique. There were so many passages and quotes I wanted to highlight because they were so memorable, but there were also downsides to the writing style. The description was incredibly detailed, but the writing style also slowed down the plot a lot.
There was a lot of background information. Much of the story is told through flashbacks to her previous life, and I found that I wanted to skip over a lot of the long stories about the protagonist’s history. I love a well-developed storyworld and history as much anyone else, but I found myself wanting something more from A Thousand Nights. Less backstory, more information about what was actually going on in the protagonist’s life, please.
The original 1001 Nights is a story that very much revolves around romance, and this retelling contains a lot of it as well. I was really excited for this element but unfortunately, like many of the others, it ultimately let me down. I liked the protagonist enough, but I didn’t care for Lo-Melkhiin. His character was incredibly mysterious and a lot of information about him was withheld, so I didn’t really have a reason to care about him as a character. Since he was one of the two main characters, this was a big problem, and it also meant that I didn’t enjoy the romance as much as I could have.
A Thousand Nights had so much potential, but it was a let-down for me. The plot was lacking and the amount of backstory was overwhelming. I just was not invested in the plot and ultimately, that was the biggest problem. 2/5 stars.