Sunday, March 20, 2016

Brief Thoughts: A Thousand Nights

A Thousand Nights

by E.K. Johnston
*Retelling based on the frame story of One Thousand and One Nights

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

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.

Beautifully written retelling of One Thousand and One Nights using the frame story of Scheherazade only. This particular retelling seems to be popular at present... or rather, the Arabian-based tales and retellings seem to be the trend right now (with recent releases including The Wrath and the Dawn, A Whole New World, and The Forbidden Wish). It makes me want to pick up and read the original One Thousand and One Nights just out of principle alone.

Anyway, A Thousand Nights is an enjoyable read, although I'm going to admit that there were a lot of moments I had trouble focusing. The book itself was hard to get into in the first place and started out slow, but the latter half was actually quite entertaining.

Also, does anyone else notice that no one else has a name in this entire book except for, like, maybe three people? It took me until writing this very brief review to realize that. The main character doesn't have a name, her beloved sister doesn't have a name, and neither are names ever mentioned with her family or some of the serving women in Lo-Melkhiin's qasr. An interesting way to present a story, I suppose.

Anyway, lots of thought-inspiring anecdotes and ideals present, and some interesting twists. The magic in the story was a little confusing, but I DID love the characters (even though almost all of them didn't have names). A Thousand Nights is quite enjoyable.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge

This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in March 2016.

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