Release Date: October 6th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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
“She that he chose of us would be a hero.
She would give the others life.”
The writing style in A THOUSAND NIGHTS is completely original and unlike anything else I’ve read. No one is named in this novel except for Lo-Melkhiin and it works. Johnston is an excellent storyteller and her writing reads very elegantly and is a little magical in and of its own right. This story feels more like a tale you would hear being passed around a fire; it is very imaginative yet traditionally told.
However, this style of writing and storytelling will not be for everyone. Because the writing is so descriptive, it could come off as tedious and slow down the pacing. I caught myself a few times when I began to get impatient and reminded myself that this is a story that was not meant to be rushed through, but one to immerse yourself in.
“If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth.”
I haven’t read the original One Thousand and One Nights but I know the concept behind it was that the main character lives due to the stories she tells and intrigues the king with. I wish we had been privy to more of the stories that were being told, as not many details were really given to this aspect of the story in A THOUSAND NIGHTS.
This one has been compared to THE WRATH AND THE DAWN and having read and enjoyed both for completely different reasons, I have to say that these stories could not be more different. So if you are hesitating on this one due to that I would definitely push you into giving this one a try anyway.
It almost seems as if I’m alone in this, but I didn’t see any romance here at all. Lo-Melkhiin is a cruel man and although the main character sees flashes of good in him and does not fear him, her feelings are far from love. View Spoiler »I believe after the ending when Lo-Melkhiin is actually Lo-Melkhiin they could grow to love each other, but nothing really hinted that she was in love with him. Lo-Melkhiin the demon wanted her power, and she stayed with him after he was cured because she felt the qasr was her home now and she loved the people there. Prior to the ending, she stayed because she was afraid that he would just go out and marry and kill another girl. She even says she let him live for the benefit of all the people, so they would never have to deal with the chaos of not having a king. « Hide Spoiler
If you’re looking for beautiful writing and a unique story that you can stroll rather than race through, A THOUSAND NIGHTS is worth checking out.
Quotes are from an ARC and should be checked against a finished copy.