Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston (Spoiler Free)

a thousand nights

Title: A Thousand Nights

Author: E.K. Johnston

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

My Rating: 4 out 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

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.

Holy cow. Once this book got going, things got crazy REALLY fast.

One of the strongest parts of this book was the writing and the storytelling style. Admittedly, the beginning of this book is slow, and things don’t really start picking up until about halfway through. However, the *gorgeous* writing keeps you turning through pages. I’d honestly describe the writing as luxurious, because it’s just that good. The whole reading experience is so smooth, and everything seems to flow from page to page. You don’t even think about the fact that almost all of the characters (including our main character) remain nameless throughout the book. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it until I read another review that pointed it out.

The magic in this book is crazy. It’s so subtle at first, but when the story takes off, things get insane very quickly. I love the direction that this book took. There is a very, very strong fantasy element in this book, and I think that it was done very well. Don’t worry if you’re usually intimidated by fantasy, as I’m totally that person, and I found the fantasy elements very easy to get into. If I had to make a comparison, I would say that A Thousand Nights focused on the magic and mysticism, while The Wrath and The Dawn (another awesome Thousand Nights retelling) was more about the romance and passion between the main characters.

Even though the beginning started off a bit slow, A Thousand Nights ended up being a beautiful, fantastical read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

PS: The UK cover of this book is GORGEOUS.

a thousand nights uk

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