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 really, really wanted to like E.K. Johnston’s A THOUSAND NIGHTS. The story seemed right up my alley, I love books with strong female leads more than anything. And yes, this book did have a strong female lead, which I really did appreciate. But I just could not get into this one.
My biggest letdown was that I felt absolutely no connection to any of the characters except the villain. Normally I love a villain I can connect with, it can make a story so much deeper and more relatable. I need other characters that I can connect with as well though, to help balance the scales. That didn’t happen for me in A Thousand Nights. I felt like the writing style was rather dry and it really showed in the character development. The emotions seemed monotonous throughout the entire book, even in circumstances that called for high anxiety or fear. The book felt like a person that you’ve tried to get to know and they just won’t let you in.
I hate to only bash on a book so I always try to find something good to say. And with A Thousand Nights, I really did like the overall story. It is a great concept, and I wanted to see how it all would play out in the end. Johnston did a good job of building her world. I felt that the magic system was very underdeveloped, but I suppose that left a lot of room for the reader’s imagination to take over, and I can see where that would appeal to some.
I think that A THOUSAND NIGHTS is an easy, quick read for those who aren’t looking for something emotional. For me, emotions are what make a book stand out, and this one just didn’t cut it. I see potential in Johnston’s writing though and will probably check out her future works.