This book was a complete cover buy, and I’m sad to say it was a complete disappointment, too. 😦 Reviews for this book is mixed, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. Alas, I was better off not reading this at all… I loved Johnston’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear which is a contemporary so wow, yes, a fantasy novel? Ahhhhh, so wrong.
Title: A Thousand Nights (A Thousand Nights #1)
Author: E.K. Johnston
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release date: October 6, 2015
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 328 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “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 wish I could write an elaborate review for this book, but the truth is, I can’t. It was so incredibly disappointing. Yes, I knew it was a 1001 Nights retelling. I never read the original story, and I only briefly studied it in college, but I know the general concept. I went into this book thinking I would enjoy it. I didn’t like The Wrath and the Dawn, and that’s the only book I’ve seen A Thousand Nights compared to, so I suppose I should have known then…? Oh well.
Why does no one have names in this book? I feel like right off the bat, we can instantly connect and better picture a character if we have a name, especially in this diverse setting! There could be a special meaning behind a name or a story that goes with it, but here, nothing! In fact, the only person who was named was the “villain”, Lo-Melkhiin. Everyone else was referred to as so-and-so’s mother, or so-and-so’s father’s father’s father, and it became so confusing and slightly irritating. I can give brownie points to the main character, though, for taking her sister’s place when Lo-Melkhiin comes to their village in search of a new wife. Bravery! Everything else after that…meh.
The magic itself, and the “power” the main character had confused me. Where did it come from? Why does she have it? Does it have anything to do with the MC becoming a “smallgod”? Who knows? I sure don’t! (Okay, well, I imagine it does have something to do with that but it felt blasé.) Was there supposed to be romance between the MC and Lo-Melkhiin? It’s hard to establish that and make it believable considering Lo-Melkhiin wasn’t even himself! More disappointment!
Now that I finished reading the book, I’ve determined I don’t like the MC’s voice. I don’t want to say the writing style because I very much enjoyed Johnston’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear but everything, from the dialogue to the description, felt stilted and lackluster.