Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Thousand Nights ~ E.K. Johnston (earc) review [@ek_johnston @DisneyHyperion]

A Thousand Nights
Disney Hyperion
October 6, 2015
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

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.
The beginning of A Thousand Nights, the sort of introduction to our characters and the world, felt a bit long to me. It did not pull me into the story, though I could understand the necessity.

Once we knew that our (unnamed) main character has been taken as Lo-Melkhiin's bride and once she does not immediately die, as she's expected to, I started to like her. While something about the story was not ever my favorite, maybe because I am unfamiliar with the tale, maybe just because it was not, I liked the characters.

Having so many characters go without names, referred to as 'she' or 'my sister,' 'my sister's mother' or 'serving girl' took some getting used to. Especially since we knew Lo-Melkhiin's name. Yet, I really liked our main character. She wad determined and smart, she had a fire about her and wasn't going to give up, even when put into alife where everyone (even she) expected her to die incredibly soon, if not immediately.

The magic, the 'powers' in A Thousand Nights were hard to make sense of. Somehow it felt like I was missing some bit of information, or some something. The story didn't quite click for me.

I liked the glimpses into Lo-Melkhiin's wife's life with her father and her family. We learn about life in the desert, her relationship with her sister and how their family lived. It adds to who she is now, in the qasr and to her survival.

I am not that sure about all of A Thousand Nights but I loved the parts focused on the main character, her determination, her instincts and knowledge and who she was.

digital review copy received, thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

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