Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ages 14 and up
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 TAKE:
I've been craving for a retelling/adaptation, and this one sounded perfect.

In A Thousand Nights, Lo-Melkhiin is a successful ruler, but it comes at a price for his people. He has had many wives, and now it is another village's turn to provide him with one. The main character sacrifices herself so that her sister is not chosen. To everyone's surprise, she survives night after night with Lo-Melkhiin. Why exactly, though, is a mystery that could end up being the salvation of her people.

Well, this was not exactly what I was expecting. I had imagined more storytelling and less spinning of wool, although now that I think about it, storytelling does involve weaving words, so maybe it's not far off. It's funny, actually, that it is only now that I'm writing this review that I realize that the main character was never named. At least, I think she wasn't. She was always referred to as "sister," "lady-bless," plus Lo-Melkhiin's pet names (phrases?).

Okay, back to the plot. I guess that from the summary, I should have already expected that there was a demon somewhere. I wasn't particularly thrilled with that idea, but I thought the idea of smallgods was pretty cool. I was also a little skeptical at first with the appearance of the MC's powers, but after awhile, it felt natural to the story already.

The pacing of the story was slow and steady up to about 3/4ths or so of the book. I honestly thought that this would be a trilogy seeing as how I was almost to the end and it didn't seem like a happy ending would be feasible. That's why I was surprised with the ending and felt like it was rushed, and I was not prepared for it. I think a trilogy would have been too long for this story, though.

As for the characters, I kinda liked the MC. She was pretty feisty and she had a warrior's spirit. As for Lo-Melkhiin, as a villain, well he was pure evil. I did like, though, that the real Lo-Melkhiin cared about the MC without it being insta-love.

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It gives you a very good idea of desert life.
  2. The story will draw you in.
  3. The MC fights her own battles.

THE BAD:

  1. The ending felt rushed to me. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You want to learn more about life in the desert.
  2. You like stories that feature magic.
  3. You like heroines that do not need others to rescue them. 

RATING:
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