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 bought this book on a whim. I saw a copy of this at Barnes & Noble and I am sorry, but it was a complete cover buy. The cover is GORGEOUS ❤ Even with the dust jacket off, it is completely stunning! I can’t stop staring at it.
I do admit that I kind of did not want to read this book because I had already read The Wrath and the Dawn, and since A Thousand Nights is another retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, I didn’t want to end up comparing the two. Even though I am comparing the retelling itself, I have to say that these two novels are both equally beautiful.
Johnston weaves a tale reminiscent to Arabian Nights itself. Her writing style flows nicely and easy to get into while painting a vivid picture. I didn’t enjoy it at first because I thought it was a little much, but as I got the flow of things I found myself in awe.
What I loved about A Thousand Nights is how Johnston left the characters so mysterious and told the story as a story. You get a sense that you are being told a story rather than reading a book – I loved that! The only characters’ names we know is the ruler, Lo Melkhiin, and it does take some getting used to. I ended up getting so tired of hearing our MC refer to relatives as “my sister’s mother” or “my father’s father’s father.” Good lord, just say your great-grandfather!
The one thing that I absolutely loved and this is what changed this book from an “it was okay” to “I loved it” was the ruler. Johnston made sure that the reason why so many girls were dying and Lo Melkhiin had married 300 girls was different from what has already been depicted in other retellings and it was awesome! I wanted to know more about the magic in this tale and was so captivated.
“Have you not learned, star of my skies? We are the same, you and I. That is why I cannot kill you, and why you do not die.”
Overall, this book is worthy of a read. I know it gets some mixed reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I am glad I decided to give it a chance.
Have you read this book? Would you read this? Let me know!
Until next time,