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Saturday, October 3, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights

Author: E. K. Johnston
Genre: YA Fantasy
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Expected Publication: October 6th 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository
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.


My thoughts

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Disney Hyperion and Netgalley.*

Knowing practically zero about Persian folklore, I went into A Thousand Nights with no expectations whatsoever. The good thing about it is that I was able to enjoy this book as it is, and not as a retelling. I have nothing to compare it to since I haven’t read the original story of Scheherazade (from which ATN is based, apparently).

A Thousand Nights, with its lyrical prose and beautiful writing, is an enjoyable read. The pacing is quite slow though, but it matches the story and sets an atmosphere. There’s also less dialogue than I would have liked, but I guess it’s also part of the writing style. I find it unique that only one character has a name – Lo-Melkhiin – and everyone, even the main heroine and narrator, is nameless. I haven’t encountered that before and while it can be confusing and risky (and a little mouthful to say “my father’s father” or “my mother’s sister”), I’d like to commend the author for taking that risk. It gave the book its uniqueness and mystery.

In terms of romance, it was practically nonexistent, although there’s this connection between our nameless heroine and Lo-Melkhiin. I wouldn’t say it was attraction, but more of a curiosity on both sides. I also liked the magic involved, what with the demons and smallgods. It was very interesting.

The family dynamics – more specifically, the sisterly bond between the heroine and her sister – was a delight to read, too. I liked how close they are and how the heroine loves her sister so selflessly that she was willing to do what she did. That was very Katniss of her. But what made it better is that her sister reciprocated that love and that gave the heroine her weapon against Lo-Melkhiin. It was quite complicated but I really liked this story.

The ending was something I wasn’t expecting. I mean, I knew there’d be something like a battle, but not like that. It was remarkable. The heroine really delivered and she was awesome and go, girl power! 

A Thousand Nights wasn’t without issues, but I liked it immensely. I enjoyed the story, the writing and the characters. Requesting this from Netgalley was a gamble, but I’m glad I did. This was a lucky find.

Favorite lines

“The flood will come, fast and without warning, because the ground is not accustomed to it. And therefore it is not worth fearing.”

“Wisdom is the currency of young men. They seek it, thinking it is something they will find.”
author image

Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

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