A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston was my choice to fit the Fantasy category in the Summer With Creepy marathon and I’m so happy with it, because before this one, I was reading a book that I dnf-ed but now I’m back 😂
Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E. K. Johnston
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Number of Pages: 324
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 Opinion (spoiler-free):
It might seem stupid, but I just googled about Sherazade, because although I knew about the girl who told stories to her husband in order not to get killed, I never knew the full story behind it. And A Thousand Nights is inspired in Sherazade’s own story, so I felt that I should get a better idea.
I really liked this book. E. K. Johnston is an excellent storyteller; her writing style isn’t very complex but somehow I got intrigued at the end of every chapter and that made me finish this book in one day. She told everything she needed in a single book, without writing too much or too little – actually, I had forgotten how a good standalone felt like 😂
On the other side, unfortunately, our female main character isn’t that good of a storyteller, which disappointed me, because, again, we’re talking about a girl who tells stories to her husband so that he doesn’t kill her. But all she tells him is little bits of her life at her father’s tents, her family, her sister … I expected more. And while Shezarade married because she had a plan to end the king’s rules, our main character (we never get to know her name … or any other character’s name besides the king’s) married because she knew the king would choose her sister, and she loved her too much to let that happen. That was a very positive aspect about this book: family love! All she could think about was her sister and her mother and her sister’s mother, and she wanted to keep them safe. The main character also says her sister is the pretty one, because that’s what everyone thinks, and she never got an opportunity to look at her own face – but that doesn’t trouble her, as she loves her sister very much, and doesn’t care about not being the pretty one. And she’s very smart – she created the plan, made it happen and survived. Her determination to see the sun every morning kept her alive, along with somehing else …. Quickly, everyone in the her new house began to love her.
And the male main charater, the king, is a very strong presence in the book too, but not for good reasons, as you can imagine by the synopsis. I can’t say much about him without giving any spoilers, so let’s just say I haven’t had a good look at his own self.
This book is narrated by two characters: our female main character and other character that I won’t mention, because 1) that would be a huge spoiler and 2) it was a good surprise and I wish you all to read it like that. And as our female main character isn’t a very good storyteller, I couldn’t believe that she survived only because of her stories, so I expected more and I had more (a more that I really liked!!); this story explained everything, had a point and an end. Talking about the end, it was very less detailed than what I wished it to be, but it was still a good end! 🙂
Plus, this book has beautiful editions! I have the UK hardcover one, and when you take off the jacket, the book is pink with gold details, the pages also have gold details and they even thought about the design inside. 😍
Have you read A Thousand Nights? If yes, what are your thoughts about it?
If you haven’t and got interested, you can buy it through: