Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E.K. Johnston
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Review copy from publisher
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.
I have to be honest, I had A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston for months, but wasn’t sure about reading it because I haven’t been in the mood for YA. I also read some reviews and people kind of liked it, but I didn’t read any reviews of people who loved. So I kept postponing and postponing reading it, until one-day couple of days ago when I didn’t know what to read due to my mood. I thought, okay, let’s give this one a go, if I don’t like it by the 30% I will DNF it and that will be it. A Thousand Nights is the first ever book I start thinking I will end up DNF-ing and Oh boy, was I wrong! E.K. Johnston’s writing sucked me in from the very first pages and didn’t let me go until the very end and I loved every minute of it.
Thousand Nights is Johnston’s take on the story of The Arabian Nights: One Thousand and One Nights and let me tell you, she owns and nails her retelling.
I loved everything about Thousand Nights. I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved the story, I loved the -although slow- perfect pace, I loved the writing, I simply loved everything about A Thousand Nights.
Johnston’s writing has a magic quality that not only immersed me in the story, it also made me feel as if I was seeing what was happening with my own eyes. With her evocative words Johnston gave life to a beautiful world and to very strong characters. I loved the power she gave to the women and how she was able to clearly show their strength, their love and what they were willing to sacrifice to protect one another. Another thing I loved about A Thousand Nights was that the only name we know is Lo-Melkhiin's. The rest of the characters are referred as Wife, Sister, Mother, Lady-Bless, Father or similar. In my opinion, leaving the names out only added to the magic of the story.
A Thousand Nights is not a book for everybody, but it was the perfect book for me. I recommend it to YA and fantasy fans who are able to enjoy a slow pace, beautiful, and powerful subtle story.
A Thousand Nights was my first book by E.K. Johnston, but I can guarantee you, it won’t be my last.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
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