Review: 'A Thousand Nights' by EK Johnston

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Thousand Nights
EK Johnston 

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.
NOTE: I got this book off NetGalley.

The Big Picture: 

I felt extremely conflicted about rating this book. I loved the unnamed main character. Her love of her family and her determination to save her people were amazing qualities that endeared her to me. The descriptions of the world were engaging and exciting. I felt like I was part of the world.
But. The writing style wasn't something I liked. It was evasive. It never said things straight. The language was complicated and hard to understand at times. And the beginning was slow. It was hard to get into the story.

The Dirty Details: 

The writing style wasn't a style I liked. It was a little evasive. The descriptions weren't obvious. The words danced around you. It was very vivid, though. The descriptions you got described beautiful clothing and fascinating smells. What it lacked in being direct, it made up in vividness.
The language was complicated. It was hard to understand at times. The phrase aren't common today. I had to think about the meaning at times.

The main character was brave. I loved her spirit. Her bravery and overwhelming love of her family was impressive. I thought she was an endearing girl. She was brave and magical. Qualities that I enjoy in characters. Her love for her family made me like her even more.
And even though we didn't get names, I felt close to the characters. I felt a connection to the sister who loved her sister enough to make her into a living smallgod. I felt a connection to the hopeful mother of Lo-Melkhiin who believed her good son still existed. I felt a connection to our main character with her love and determination and bravery. The author did well. She made me feel for them.

I loved the world and the culture. It was extremely fascinating. Dishdashahs. The makeup and the hair. I really want to look at the author's Pinterest board!
Even though I know nothing of the culture, I can tell the author did her research. She told the story with lots of references to the culture. I really got a great peek at the culture in that part of the world.

The plot was a little slow, but it picked up the pace as the book went on. The beginning was mostly introducing the world.
The middle had some boring introduction to the main character's life in the qasr. It was mostly a lot of talking and dressing up. Meh. Not interested.
There wasn't any action until the end. That annoyed me. And the action was short-lived. It didn't last long enough.




  1. I keep hearing not so great things about this book but I'm glad you kind of? liked it. I don't plan on reading this because it just seems too similar to The Wrath and the Dawn and I'll be unintentionally comparing them. Most people who read Wrath and then this didn't like it so I think I'd probably be in that same boat. :(

    1. Yeah. I didn't read TWATD when I read this one, but it seems like TWATD is so much better. The storytelling wasn't bad, though. These two are really competing for the readers' attention.

  2. I've been wanting to read this book for a while but now I don't fell so sure... It tells the same story (sort of) with TWATD but I keep hearing some meh things about this book.

    Anyway I nominated you for the blogger recognition award. kindly check it out :)

    1. Yeah. It definitely has similarities.
      Thanks for the nomination!