ARC Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

October 22, 2015 Review 48 ★★★½

ARC Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Pages: 243
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

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


“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 »

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.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.5

48 Responses to “ARC Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston”

    • Alise

      They are both based on the original One Thousand and One Nights but other than that, they have a totally different feel! Thanks :)

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Well I’m really happy that you saw this one as very different from The Wrath and the Dawn Alise, because I tend to worry when two similar books come out close to one another – you can’t help but compare to two. Your thoughts here have set my mind at ease though and now I feel like reading this one right this second! I’m not even sure if I bothered to add it to my tbr shelf but I’m off to check that out right this second :D Thank you ♥
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Owl and the City of Angels – Guest Post + Giveaway

    • Alise

      Yeah, although they are both based on One Thousand and One Nights they don’t have much else in common. It’s a shame they just happened to release around each other. Sure! :D

  2. Jessica @ Strung Out On Books

    This book sounds very complicated, but well written. I haven’t read anything like this before either, and it doesn’t really appeal to me as much as other books, but I’m definitely curious about it from your review and the blurb. Sounds difficult to write a book with no names other than that of one character, so I’m in awe about that aspect… but I also would think it would make things confusing but I suppose if it’s done well it wouldn’t be… anyway, lovely review! :)
    Jessica @ Strung Out On Books recently posted…Review: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

    • Alise

      It is definitely unique, and won’t be for everyone. If you are interested I say give it a shot :) I thought the no name thing would be a huge problem as well but it worked out great. Thanks :D

    • Alise

      It works SO well. I didn’t even notice after awhile. Slow pacing can ruin a book for me so you do have to have patience with this one.

  3. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    I’ve been hearing some relatively mediocre reviews about this one, so you’re not alone Alise! It sounds like, even if the pacing was relatively slow, that this was still a really well-written story. Glad to hear you liked it, even if you didn’t end up necessarily loving it. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…The Rose Society

    • Alise

      YES. I kind of wish we had seen more of the real Lo-Melkhiin sort of peek through and began to have feelings for the MC but alas.

  4. Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes

    I loved this book and I didn’t have any problems with the slow pace, missing romance, or lack of names. I agree it’s beautifully written; the writing was definitely a highlight of the book. And I actually liked that there was no romance. Not every book needs to have it, and it was refreshing reading a story about a girl who is just living her life. A Thousand Nights is also waaay different from The Wrath and the Dawn, that’s for sure. And I’m probably one of the very few who likes A Thousand Nights MORE than The Wrath and the Dawn…
    Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes recently posted…The Real Neat Blog Award!

    • Alise

      I agree. The slow pacing does work as long as you don’t have a mind to just rush through the story. The no romance worked out well, I don’t see why people thought there WAS romance.

  5. Lucy

    I wasn’t sure if I would like this one or not. I’ve read the wrath and the dawn and LOVED it. I was told this was the complete opposite of that with zero romance. I may check it out but not sure at this point.

    Hey hey!! Just wanted to let you know that I’ve switched the name of my blog from Things Lucy Reads to The Reading Emporium!! I would love if you could re-follow on bloglovin. Here is the link:
    Thank you so much <3
    Lucy recently posted…Halloween is almost here!

    • Alise

      I loved Wrath for the romance so I completely understand. This one is definitely different and I’m glad.

      Followed :)

    • Alise

      Pacing is my biggest pet peeve as well, I have so little patience. This one really worked for me though. I know some people had issues so I think it all just depends. Thank you!

  6. LY

    Hi Alise, Since I’m unable to leave a comment on the blog roster page, I wanted to do so here and let you know it’s a lovely concept — bloggers commenting back. Now about A Thousand Nights…I tend to prefer rich character development and fast paced storytelling, but this one’s writing sounds so beautiful. I will definitely explore this book. Thank you for your review.
    LY recently posted…Reap the Shadows (Steel and Stone 4)

    • Alise

      Thank you so much! Yeah, I closed the comments on that page because it was all spam after awhile. Sure, thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Romi

    I had no idea this book was THIS BOOK, because I got an ARC and it didn’t have the cover. So I’ve been seeing reviews with this cover art all over the place and never realised it was the same book. I’m really happy you liked this, Alise! And I definitely like the finished cover, although I don’t know how much I necessarily feel it fits the book? I actually really struggled with this and DNFd early on, unfortunately. It was defintely beautiful with that style and tone, but it was overwhelming and I just couldn’t find a place where I could be carried by the story and actually enjoy those descriptions, like you say might be an issue for some.
    It makes sense, reading the spoiler, how that element works out, though! I’d have been uncomfortable if early on their relationship was really romanticised.
    Great review! xx
    Romi recently posted…As Black as Ebony by Salla Simukka.

    • Alise

      Haha, I’ve done that before! The finished cover matches the book really well I think xD Most of the stuff happens later on in the book so maybe it would make more sense later? It is slow for a good portion of the beginning so I can’t blame you. Exactly! Thanks :)

  8. Aila @ One Way Or An Author

    This was an awesome review, and it highlighted all that I thought about the book! I totally agree about the potential for romance but only AT THE END. Also the writing – definitely mesmerizing, but tooooo slow for me and really got me bored sometimes. Finally, I REALLY couldn’t compare it to TWATD. I hate doing that to books, and they are so, so different stories stemming from the one tale.
    Aila @ One Way Or An Author recently posted…Hogwarts School of Bookcraft and Bloggery: Transfiguration Class

  9. Kelly

    I think I’m pretty much a lone wolf when it comes to this one Alise, I just couldn’t get into it at all. That’s odd for me because I generally love beautifully lyrical writing too. I think it was the pacing that really turned me off originally, it felt unnecessarily slow, like using an entire paragraph dedicated to the description of sand. I only made it until around a quarter of the way through, so I’m hoping that eventually I might want to come back to it, especially seeing that you enjoyed it Alise. Lovely review and hoping to start The Wrath and The Dawn soon too. Thanks for sharing poppet <3 <3
    Kelly recently posted…Jack Mason… Wonderful Steampunk Middle Grade

    • Alise

      Oh no worries, you really aren’t, the reviews on this are split. Some like it, some really dislike it. Everything you say is true, the pacing really was slow and didn’t speed up until the very end. I hope you like Wrath better! Sure :D

  10. Olivia

    I am glad to hear that you were able to quite like this one. I was doubting whether or not I should read it because I was incredibly worried about no characters being named except for one, and I am pretty sure I am going to get lost somewhere. But it seems like somehow it works for this novel? Oh, and I just love the sound of it being traditional, slow moving storytelling. I think I could like that.
    Olivia recently posted…All the Bright Places (Review & Giveaway!)

    • Alise

      I was initially worried about the naming thing as well but it worked out so well and eventually I didn’t even notice. It really does feel like a story that gets passed down around a fire or something.

  11. Peach @ Rebelle Reads

    I sort-of regret not picking this up when it was on NetGalley, especially since so many people have been writing such lovely, rave reviews. And only one person is named and it still works? Whoa! Excellent review, Alise! :)

  12. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    I absolutely agree with you about this NOT being a romance. At all. It is VERY different from Wrath as you get into the story. In the beginning though, since it is from the same general idea, it seemed similar of course, but the similarities definitely ended quickly. I did prefer Wrath, but I didn’t exactly hate this one. There were things I liked, the pacing just left me feeling a bit… off, I guess. It was so, so slow and then… BAM all the things all at once! It was kind of jarring. But I liked that this was a different take on it for sure. Great review!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…The Conclusion of Ivy

    • Alise

      Glad you agree! I also preferred Wrath a little bit more over this one but that’s because I loved the romance there so much. Yeah, I do wish the pacing had been a little more upbeat in this one. Thanks :D

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