Monday, October 5, 2015

A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

Standalone
336 p.
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: Oct. 6, 15
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
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 do enjoy retellings and having A Thousand and One Nights Scheherazade's tale was one I could not pass up. I couldn't wait to get into the book. I also could tell from the beginning that this would be different since the protagonist self-sacrifices herself so others (not just her sister) would be spared this death. Since she goes to her fate willingly, Lo-Melkhiin does not kill her and tries to unravel the mystery before him.

The book is a bit slow at first but this is necessary to the telling of this tale. We need background and a good buildup of the settings where the book takes place. We also have a mystery that slowly unravels which brings you through the slow parts. When some of the mystery is better known (not solved) then the pace of the book picks up. It is really the woman's book (I'm assuming Scheherazade since her name was never given) and her journey not just in the magic realm, but of self discovery. About finding the power within her that has nothing to do with magic and everything to do with bravery and compassion.

I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed this retelling. I didn't love the ending. It was almost too sweet but yet it still felt complete. I also didn't hate the ending so it didn't change my mind about the book. I recommend it to those that enjoy retellings and magic.

20 comments:

  1. Too bad the ending was a bit too much but glad this was really good overall. I'm not familiar with the original tale so I think I would really like this.

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    1. It wasn't too bad so it didn't bother me that much. :)

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  2. I have this one, and I haven't had a chance to pick it up. I will remember to be patient. I hope the ending doesn't let me down too much.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! I don't think you'll have probs with the ending.

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  3. I am glad you enjoyed this one because I know the slow pace of the book has turned a lot of people off.

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    1. Slow doesn't bother me as long as it is going somewhere. Usually pays off.

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  4. I've been curious about this one. I like that there's some mystery, for sure!

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  5. retells are tricky, I don't have much luck with it. It's good that this one worked, Arabian Nights is a favorite and very epic so it's great that the author pulled it off.

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  6. I thought this was a different book when I first saw it on here, but this one sounds much better.

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  7. It sounds really interesting! I love the cover, too!

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  8. too bad for the ending but I love the idea of the retelling there! I'm curious!

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  9. Hmmm sounds curious. I'm always up for a retelling :D

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  10. I haven't read the original so I have nothing to compare it too but it sounds good to me.

    I don't mind the ending too much - better overly sweet than open ended lol

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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  11. Between you and Jenny..I do think I need to read this one, slow pacing or not. Wonderful review Melissa!

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  12. Glad it picked up for you! I've been seeing this one around. Does sound good. :)

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  13. Despite the slow beginning, this sounds like a good read. A shame you didn't love the ending. The world seems well developed.

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  14. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews for this one but I'm curious to read and check it out myself. I'm so glad you enjoyed it because I think I would too, especially because I really love this fairy tale. Gorgeous review, Melissa! :)

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