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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 pa 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 awakened 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.


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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 pa 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 awakened 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.

30 review for A Thousand Nights

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” ― Virginia Woolf 3 1/2 stars. A Thousand Nights is almost certainly going to be compared to the other YA 1,001 Nights retelling published this year - The Wrath and the Dawn - which is not a good thing. Because, even though their premises and foundations are identical, these two books could not be more different and they really do deserve to be viewed as completely separate creatures. The Wrath and the Dawn is a lusty, romantic drama that makes our heart “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” ― Virginia Woolf 3 1/2 stars. A Thousand Nights is almost certainly going to be compared to the other YA 1,001 Nights retelling published this year - The Wrath and the Dawn - which is not a good thing. Because, even though their premises and foundations are identical, these two books could not be more different and they really do deserve to be viewed as completely separate creatures. The Wrath and the Dawn is a lusty, romantic drama that makes our hearts beat faster. It's pure enjoyment. It doesn't have a message. A Thousand Nights is exactly the opposite of that. I'm not going to sell A Thousand Nights as something it isn't. It's a slow-paced, dense, thoughtful and literary work that I'm not sure deserves to be in the YA section. Not because teens aren't smart or cannot appreciate this book and its themes, but because there is a certain level of easy readability expected from YA and those of all ages who pick this up might be put off by the pace and complexity. Compared to The Wrath and the Dawn, the writing and atmosphere are far more well-suited to a 1,001 Nights retelling set in the pre-Islamic Middle East. "Demons" (likely djinn or ifrit, though neither term is explicitly used) roam this dusty desert landscape and one has possessed a king, forcing him to take and kill wife after wife. But I didn't open with that Woolf quote just to practice my feministing. The original 1,001 Nights story is a sexist piece of beautiful lyricism. There are wonderful things about it, and yet it treats women like worthless bits of garbage to be discarded at the king's will. The "reward" for the woman who is clever enough to keep herself alive by telling the king a story every night is that she gets to marry the murderer. So Johnston takes that and subverts it. She has tried something very brave here and I was surprised to discover how well it worked: Everyone in this book remains nameless apart from Lo-Melkhiin. The effect is that this becomes a story about the overlooked, the unnamed, the anonymous. And it is these that have the true power in the end - from the unnamed narrator, to her unnamed mother and sister, to the unnamed women in the qasr. It's a very different kind of retelling that deserves to be read. It is slow-paced, but have patience with it. I don't think you'll regret it. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest

  2. 4 out of 5

    Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village looking for a wife. She that he chose of us would be a hero. She would give the others life. Lo-Melkhiin would not return to the same village until he had married a girl from every camp, from every town, and from each district inside city walls—for that was the law, struck in desperation though it was. She that he chose would give hope of a future, of love, to those of us who stayed behind. She would still be dead. This book is Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village looking for a wife. She that he chose of us would be a hero. She would give the others life. Lo-Melkhiin would not return to the same village until he had married a girl from every camp, from every town, and from each district inside city walls—for that was the law, struck in desperation though it was. She that he chose would give hope of a future, of love, to those of us who stayed behind. She would still be dead. This book is magical. It entranced me. I wished it would never end, and it's rare that I've been so enchanted by a book. It is, dare I say, a subtly feministic masterpiece. This book is a reimagining of One Thousand and One Nights, and far superior to that other book. I say reimagining, and not retelling, because it is not quite a retelling. There are similarities. A ruler who marries a woman only to kill her soon after. A young woman who sacrifices herself in order to save a beloved from that fate. Survival is of the essence... But that's where the similarities end, for this book weaves a tale with much more complexity and beauty. It was truly, truly magical. The setting is a desert kingdom, and it is unbelievably beautiful in how this world is woven so subtly. Some books build their setting with a lesson or a few paragraphs of history. This book is far, far more ingenious, and I truly applaud the author for creating such a wondrous, believable world and in integrating it so seamlessly into this fantastical tale. The king in this tale chooses a wife from every village, and kills her soon after. Our nameless heroine chooses to beautify herself so that the king should choose her, and in doing so, save her beloved sister's life. Part of the reason I love this book so much is that the love that the main character has for her sister is so fierce, and so real. “My sister finds the fire in others,” I said. “Her husband may be the quietest man at the market until he sees her. Then he will burn with a flame to match her own.” “My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted,” I said. “My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.” There is pure love between the two sisters. There is no envy, there is no subtle hatred. There is a bond between them that remains unbroken through distance. There is no jealousy, and the main character's love is the only motivation. “I am not you,” I said to her. I was not bitter. She had never made me feel the lesser, and she had only scorn for those who did. “That is true,” she said. “And men will lack the imagination to see us as separate beings. For that I am sorry.” “I am not,” I told her, and I was not, “for I love you more than I love the rain.” Naturally, our main character is determined to live longer than just one night. Indeed, others have lived longer than one night, but eventually they all die. She is determined to stretch out her life as long as she can, and though fearful, she does not lack courage. “I do fear him,” I said, which was close to the truth. “I fear him as I fear the desert sun and poisonous snakes. They are all part of the life I live. But the sun gives light, and snakes will feed a caravan if they are caught and cooked.” And though outwardly submissive, she knows the true power a woman can wield. “I am yours to command, husband,” I said to him, and met his eyes. When my mother spoke to our father, she often said that. He liked it, the way she put herself in his hands. Until just now, I had not realized that since my mother was the one who allowed it, she had more power than even he might have realized. Lo-Melkhiin thought I was less than him; but his was not the only tally. I love the fact that there's no whitewashing in this book. Granted, I'm not middle-eastern, and I can't comment on the accuracy, but again, this world feels real. The characters are appropriately dark-skinned, and there is no attempt at green or blue eyes for the sake of Mary-Sue-ness. The main character comes from a nomadic desert tribe, and she looks the part. We had skin of burnt bronze, a deeper brown than sand, and duskier where it was exposed to the wind and sky. Our hair was long enough to sit upon, and dark: the color around the stars, when night was at its fullest. This is a re-imagining--not a retelling, that you should discover for yourself. Already, the story is changing. When men tell it in the souks and in the desert, they shape it to fit their understanding. It passes from caravan to caravan, to places where they have never heard of the one called Lo-Melkhiin. The words change language, and meaning is lost and gained in every vowel’s shift. They change the monster into a man, and they change her into something that can be used to teach a lesson: if you are clever and if you are good, the monster will not have you. You should not believe everything you hear.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cristina Monica

    Watch your world burn, light of my heart. Tomorrow we will find another one and burn that too. 3.5 stars. I almost steered clear of this marvel, fearing that it would turn out to be far too similar to another very special book: The Wrath and the Dawn. But I decided to look around to see what others had to say about it. And guess what. My fear instantly dissolved when I learned that this is not a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights but a reimaging of it, rather. And reader, it’s wonderful. Watch your world burn, light of my heart. Tomorrow we will find another one and burn that too. 3.5 stars. I almost steered clear of this marvel, fearing that it would turn out to be far too similar to another very special book: The Wrath and the Dawn. But I decided to look around to see what others had to say about it. And guess what. My fear instantly dissolved when I learned that this is not a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights but a reimaging of it, rather. And reader, it’s wonderful. ‘‘Come to bed,’’ he said to me again. I turned my heart to stone, and climbed into bed with the viper. E.K. Johnston is an outstanding storyteller. She mesmerized me with her words, her poetry, her heart. She wove a story worthy of a Disney musical movie. While it’s true that A Thousand Nights is slow and with little action, it has a ‘‘fairy tale’’ vibe to it that makes it such a delight to plunge into. The repetition is truly the only element that keeps me from giving it a higher rating but, otherwise, nothing about it enraged me. I felt as if I were the main character herself—the one captured by the monster. She bares no name and is so brave… Her love for her sister is incredible. Not only does she save her from Lo-Melkhiin’s clutches, but it’s for her sister that she fights and fights and fights, in hope to one day see her again. She was not of my kind, yet there was some power to her that was not human, not quite. She did not die, and I wondered if I might at last have found a queen for whom I could set the desert on fire. The ending is especially colourful and not at all what I expected when I first started the book. Sigh. Beautiful. If only the release date to Spindle could come sooner. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted. My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you. It's been over two years now since I first read this book, and I still credit it as one of my original favorite YA books, and yes, I still think anyone who shares a book taste with me should read it. So A Thousand Nights is a more feminist, more themat My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted. My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you. It's been over two years now since I first read this book, and I still credit it as one of my original favorite YA books, and yes, I still think anyone who shares a book taste with me should read it. So A Thousand Nights is a more feminist, more thematic retelling of the A Thousand and One Arabian Nights stories. And, well, we all know how this retelling goes, don't we? Add a bit more romance, a bit less storytelling, and a bit more fantasy, and boom! We have an easy-to-market YA book. But not so fast. A decent amount of reviews on this page seem to have described this book as The Wrath and the Dawn's less attractive little sister, but I genuinely think these books are completely different to the point they shouldn’t even be compared. The Wrath and the Dawn is romantic fantasy [and in my opinion, pretty good romantic fantasy]. A Thousand Nights is more of a slow-burning, tension-filled, literary-fiction-esque tale of the power of women in a history that tries desperately to erase them. There's something to be said for books that do something new, rather than just remaking something old. This is a book that, somehow, does both. There's something so magical about the setting and story of this book. The entire book feels like the best fairy tale ever written, all with prose that I could just drop off my finger. And yes, it is a slow book, but it works - with such an utterly captivating atmosphere, I was completely addicted. I'd feel comfortable giving this to a ten-year-old, or to my mother. Okay, and now the real gush point - the unnamed heroine of this novel is one of my all-time favorite main characters. I love how strong-willed she is, how dedicated, and I love that she's clever without reading overpowered. Her dedication to her family never feels forced; so many books use “she loves her family !!” as a major motivation but fail at actually conveying a love for family, but no, the main character of this book feels so real and rounded. I don’t even know how to convey how much I love her and connect to her and would die for her instantaneously. No one paid any mind to the line of dark-haired, dark-skinned girls who came to the qasr, and met their end there. They were nameless and faceless under their veils. The heroine of this story remains unnamed, and as such, this story becomes one of the unnamed, the anonymous, the forgotten. In history, we tend to erase the legacy of women throughout history. A Thousand Nights chooses to play with it by never naming any of the women, but still giving them the legacy they deserve. And while many Thousand Nights retellings play with the romantic dynamic before all else, this book focuses on the women within the story - the heroine's relationship with her sister is the absolute touchstone of the book, and the love she feels for her falls through the pages. It's a cleverly subversive retelling, in the manner of Madeline Miller's Circe or Melissa Bashardoust's Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Listen, guys, this is one of my favorite books, and it has this beautiful cover, and it has so much heart, and the lead is such an icon, and you should all be reading it. Please come scream at me in the comments when you finish. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emma Giordano

    Update 2/20/17 - Lowering my rating from 3 stars to 2 for I feel 3 stars was too generous. Full review to come on my Youtube channel tomorrow! Unfortunately, I wasn't the biggest fan of this book. I ultimately felt that this book had a severe lack of plot and no character development whatsoever. A lot of my time spent reading was wondering when SOMETHING was actually going to happen and jumpstart the novel, but that didn't come until exactly 100 pages were left in the book. I was kind of disappo Update 2/20/17 - Lowering my rating from 3 stars to 2 for I feel 3 stars was too generous. Full review to come on my Youtube channel tomorrow! Unfortunately, I wasn't the biggest fan of this book. I ultimately felt that this book had a severe lack of plot and no character development whatsoever. A lot of my time spent reading was wondering when SOMETHING was actually going to happen and jumpstart the novel, but that didn't come until exactly 100 pages were left in the book. I was kind of disappointing with the book, but you can see the rest of my feelings tomorrow on https://www.youtube.com/user/emmmabooks. I received a free copy of this book from Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》

    “Watch your world burn, light of my heart. Tomorrow we will find another one and burn that too.” I just want to put this out there: most of my reviews are negative because i don't know how to review books i like. There are some positive reviews but it takes me way too long to work on them. There is so much i want to say!! I HAVEN'T EVEN REVIEWED THE RAVEN CYCLE SERIES! My favorite books are the ones that tend to leave me speechless. Alright, here we go. Remember this book? Less attract “Watch your world burn, light of my heart. Tomorrow we will find another one and burn that too.” I just want to put this out there: most of my reviews are negative because i don't know how to review books i like. There are some positive reviews but it takes me way too long to work on them. There is so much i want to say!! I HAVEN'T EVEN REVIEWED THE RAVEN CYCLE SERIES! My favorite books are the ones that tend to leave me speechless. Alright, here we go. Remember this book? Less attractive sister of The Wrath & the Dawn (according to most people)? I read a few reviews to get some idea why everyone seems to dislike it. Well, what i can tell so far, based on the reviews i read, people aren't pleased with similarities between both books. You do realize both are retellings of One Thousand and One Nights, right? I might be the only one who thinks A Thousand Nights was 10 times better than The Wrath & the Dawn. Why, you ask? Because unlike the other one, it delivered what it promised. I was so pleased with that! Plot rundown Lo-Melkhiin is looking for a wife, he has already killed hundreds girls before he came to HER village. She knew he would choose her sister since she is the prettiest girl in the entire village. She vows she would never let him take her. She sacrifices herself in her sister's place, now she believes she will be dead soon. When she finds herself still alive a day after day, she starts to explore Lo-Melkhiin's court. She discovers many secrets, one of them being Lo-Melkhiin wasn't always this cruel. Once he was kind and loved by his people. Something somewhere went very very wrong with him. He actually has good reasons for being the asshole that he is. I can not tell you how happy i am that the author didn't try to romanticize this shit. That was my biggest problem in TWatD. THANK YOU SO MUCH, E.K. JOHNSTON! The main characters had a plan, and she stuck to it! She isn't running around swooning over his hot body *cough Shazi cough*, and acting like a useless brat. If you are expecting some creepy romance between the captive and it's victim, this book might not be for you. There is nothing sugar-coated here. Everything ugly is out in the open: my kind of book. Writing style It's written so beautifully, i have no words! The writing was the first thing that drew me in. It could be a total hit or miss. For me, fortunately, it was a hit! No woman in this book has a name (our narrator included). HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?! I thought it gave her more power. She's never seen her reflection in the mirror. She is nameless, and faceless! I'm always up for anything unusual like this! LOVE!! I was so sure this was a stand alone. Now it looks like i was mistaken. I honestly don't think this or TWaTD need a sequel. I was satisfied with this ending. With TWatD on the other hand, i was just glad it was over.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    4.5 stars. Review first posted on www.FantasyLiterature.com: When the dust rises over the desert, the villagers know that Lo-Melkhiin is coming with his guards to choose another wife. He always takes one wife from each village, or each district within a city. And she always dies. E.K. Johnston’s A Thousand Nights is a young adult fantasy retelling of the Scheherazade framing story for One Thousand and One Nights, the famous collection of Persian, Arabic and Middle Eastern folk tales. Lo-Melkhiin i 4.5 stars. Review first posted on www.FantasyLiterature.com: When the dust rises over the desert, the villagers know that Lo-Melkhiin is coming with his guards to choose another wife. He always takes one wife from each village, or each district within a city. And she always dies. E.K. Johnston’s A Thousand Nights is a young adult fantasy retelling of the Scheherazade framing story for One Thousand and One Nights, the famous collection of Persian, Arabic and Middle Eastern folk tales. Lo-Melkhiin is the ruler over a large area in the ancient Middle Eastern world. Those who know him know that he has changed from the caring person he used to be, though he is still a capable ruler. What they do not know is that when he rode out alone too far into the desert one day, his body was possessed by a ruthless creature. Let's call him a demon. (This isn't a spoiler; it's disclosed in the first pages.) He then proceeds to suck the power and life from the girls he marries, to give himself additional power. Most girls last only one night. The original Lo-Melkhiin’s soul is still there, trapped in a corner of his own mind, watching helplessly as his body is used to bring death to innocent women and mar the minds and hearts of craftsmen and others around him. A seventeen year old girl, who remains more or less nameless throughout the novel — other than appellations like “sister” and, later, “lady-bless” — sees Lo-Melkhiiin’s group heading to her village and knows that he is certain to choose her lovely half-sister as his next wife. In an act of supreme love, she dresses up in a beautiful purple wedding dress, or dishdashah, to capture his attention and save her sister. It works. Before she is whisked away by Lo-Melkhiin and his men, she asks her sister to make her a “smallgod” when she is gone, one of the spirits of dead family members who protect and help the living. But her sister tells her that she and the other village women will make her a smallgod immediately, beginning the moment she is taken away. This unorthodox jump-starting of the normal process of ancestor worship unexpectedly bestows mysterious magical powers on the sister who marries Lo-Melkhiin. When he grabs her hands in the ritual that would normally kill his wives, she is able to see life and power being sucked from her into him... and something unexpectedly returning in the process:I thought I could see it, threads of gold and blue, desert sand and desert sky, bleeding from my body into his, but I had been a long time in the sun that day, and did not trust my eyes. He held on for one breath, then five, then ten. A strand of copper fire wound from his fingers to mine, so faint I wondered why I would imagine it at all.This copper fire will prove important to the heroine, as will the stories of her life in the village and of her family that she tells to Lo-Melkhiin.The world had never seen another like Lo-Melkhiin, and it had no stories to combat him. Not whole stories, but maybe there was something smaller. A thread in the story of a warrior who laid siege to a walled city. A fragment in the story of a father who had two daughters, and was forced to choose which of them to send into the desert at night... There were stories, and there were stories. No single tale that I could draw from would save my sister from a short and cruel marriage, but I had pieces aplenty. I held them in my hands like so many grains of sand, and they slipped away from me, running through my fingers, even as I tried to gather more. But I knew sand. I had been born to it and learned to walk on it... I knew that I had only to hold it for long enough, to find the right fire, and the sand would harden into glass — into something I could use.Her tales are not of fantastical genii, but of her family and their desert life. She tells her stories not to convince Lo-Melkhiin to leave her alive for one more day, but in defiance, to show him that he does not have all power over her, and to remind herself of what is important in her life. And these stories have an unexpected power: they can predict the future — or even change the future. The question becomes, what will she do with her powers? She finds she needs to consider not only her only life and desires, or even her family’s, but also the country’s needs. The evocative language used by Johnston immerses you in this ancient Persian culture. The girl’s stories are simple but carry a deeper meaning. Among other things, they show the power of women, even when they live in a society where men are in charge. I suspect this is at least part of the meaning behind Johnston’s leaving the women nameless. They may seem powerless, but a more careful examination of their lives and roles reveals a more subtle power, often hidden below the surface. A Thousand Nights is reminiscent of The Night Circus in its deliberate pacing, in the elusive use of magic, and in the lovely, poignant prose used by Johnston, though the setting is vastly different. Some readers might find the pacing in it too slow, but I enjoyed this novel and even reread most of it a second time as I was writing this review. A Thousand Nights’ explanation of the basis for the ruler’s serial murder of his wives — that he has been possessed by a cruel demon — actually makes more sense than the original Scheherazade story, at least from our modern point of view. How could Scheherazade come to respect and love a king who has murdered countless women before her, and is only biding his time before adding her to his tally? So this is not a romantic tale, but it is a story of an extremely powerful love: primarily the love between these sisters, and love of family, but also a love and concern that extends to others who may be touched by your actions. Free advance copy received from NetGalley and the publisher for review. Thanks!

  8. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    So, you should know that I’m partial to books set in the desert or retellings of “Arabian Nights” so naturally, I expected to LOVE this book :) Well Do I gotta story for you (s) Sit tight fam, we got a wild ride ahead. A v coherent list of my thoughts during this book . . . - This chick doesn’t have a bloody name - Or if she does, she’s NEVER referred by it - In fact, NO ONE has a name - Except the freaky but hot and brooding king guy - The writing is so weird, you’re never sure if its talking about pa So, you should know that I’m partial to books set in the desert or retellings of “Arabian Nights” so naturally, I expected to LOVE this book :) Well Do I gotta story for you (s) Sit tight fam, we got a wild ride ahead. A v coherent list of my thoughts during this book . . . - This chick doesn’t have a bloody name - Or if she does, she’s NEVER referred by it - In fact, NO ONE has a name - Except the freaky but hot and brooding king guy - The writing is so weird, you’re never sure if its talking about past, present, or whatever the heck bc the time frames are not distinct or even slightly apparent - There’s literally no purpose to the entire story like whats going on, I’m never sure - The Arabian culture in expressed in a strange way - It’s not necessarily //wrong// or //false// its just weird and like a lot of things were translated weirdly - For example, titles would be like “lady-bless” or “daughter-of-my-heart” or daughter-of-mine” and im like bruh I know you’re trying to set the scene for historic or whatever but you could literally just say ‘my daughter’ - Also a lot of the culture isn’t explained so it just sounds strange - There’s a point where this unnamed girl, the narrator, tells a story of her father’s father’s father - And I kid you not, she literally refers to him as that for the entire length of her monologue - Honey, he’s called your great grandfather - Also in that story, her “father’s father’s father” talks to an effing camel - And the effing camel talks back - In fluent, eloquent language - Yeah, I know - It’s supposed to be a retelling of A Thousand Nights - Which if you didn’t know is basically the story of this girl who marries a king who is known for killing his wives (yikes) and this girl devises a plan so every night she tells the king a story but stops in the middle of it - So that he’ll let her live the next day bc he’s so engrossed in the story and wants to hear the ending - And that continues on for a 1001 nights and then the king guy has a change of heart and yada yada they fall in love etc. etc. - So that’s the original story - But in this bloody retelling - THERE IS NO NIGHTLY STORY - THERE’S NO ENGAGING TALES - THERE’S NO NOTHING - Its so weird, the only few sentences that they exchange each night are about her bloody sister - It doesn’t make sense what the heck - I want a refund - AND LIKE HER NAMELESS (big surprise there) SISTER IS CONSTANTLY TALKED ABOUT YET SHE LITERALLY IS PRESENT FOR 0.034 SECONDS - I thought this would be like The Wrath and the Dawn - But its actually like, just bad :) - The only pros I have for this book was that the font was large and the chapters were short - And the only entertaining thing was the scarce chapters that were told from the anonymous speaker - But even those got old after some time Needless to say, this is exactly how I felt when I finished . . . “There is life, and there is living.” 1 star!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ i dont know if this specific to my copy or like the author got this done but my copy smells good. and no, not like 'book smell,' this thing is like actually perfumed . . . i know i'm as weirded out as you are right now

  9. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    i almost didnt read this - i was very worried it would be too similar to ‘the wrath and the dawn’ (which i love with all my heart). and although the premises are quite alike, there were enough differences that it was easy not to compare the two. my only problem with this book was that not a lot happens. i think that had there been more substance to it, the characters and relationships could have been developed more, and i would have been more enthralled with the story. but the writing was lovely i almost didnt read this - i was very worried it would be too similar to ‘the wrath and the dawn’ (which i love with all my heart). and although the premises are quite alike, there were enough differences that it was easy not to compare the two. my only problem with this book was that not a lot happens. i think that had there been more substance to it, the characters and relationships could have been developed more, and i would have been more enthralled with the story. but the writing was lovely - there was a very light and charming quality to the way the story was told. very decent book, overall! 3.5 stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always

    *Decided to round up, but my actual rating's still 3.5! They were burning up, and they didn't even know they were afire. An elegantly written novel with a lovely story, A Thousand Nights is a book perfect for all readers looking for an engrossing read. If I'm being completely honest here, I'm not familiar with the original tale and had to look it up on the internet. So now I know it, and that totally counts. Anyway, A Thousand Nights gives us a unique spin on the original story, mainly summarized b *Decided to round up, but my actual rating's still 3.5! They were burning up, and they didn't even know they were afire. An elegantly written novel with a lovely story, A Thousand Nights is a book perfect for all readers looking for an engrossing read. If I'm being completely honest here, I'm not familiar with the original tale and had to look it up on the internet. So now I know it, and that totally counts. Anyway, A Thousand Nights gives us a unique spin on the original story, mainly summarized by the word magic. Good men fall to monsters every day. Clever men are tricked by their own pride or pretty words. As a huge fan of fantasy, I was completely enamored with all the fantasy elements in this book. But let me give you a fair warning: nothing is explained thoroughly. Typically that'll sort of piss me off, but with this one, that sense of blindness on the reader's end works really well with the story. It gives the story an air of mystery. Another aspect that was totally cryptic was the characters. Heck, we don't even know the main character's name! Or basically any of the characters' names, besides Lo-Melkhiin. But again, it worked. This time around, it made the story more innocent and whimsical feeling. There is life, and there is living--and that is what she learned. Not only was our heroine cryptic. She was also incredibly brave and selfless. She didn't let her seemingly hopeless situation stop her from living, and from trying to find a way out. She uses her wits to push through all the days. The snake did not always strike. Sometimes it waited. There's also a lot to be learned from this book, and things that really should happen in our current world. Some are stated explicitly, while some are implied. Such as: 1.) A community should be a community! In A Thousand Nights, all the women are family. They're all very supportive of each other and use each other as sources of strength. The men all act as a unified body--they fight together, and protect each other. 2.) Looks can be deceiving. Like with Lo-Melkhiin, you have to dig really deep to really know a person. The setting and the writing were both gorgeous as well, and gave the book such a vivid atmosphere. I loved imagining the desert, the qasr, the gardens... Everything was just so exquisite and elegant. The only reason the book wasn't a perfect read was its pace. Yes, this book is EXTREMELY slow. Literally nothing of significance happens int he first, say, four fifths of the book. It was just imagery and character development up until the epic ending. So if you're not a big fan of books without much of an actual story, this book might be boring for you. I'm not really sure why this book isn't getting a lot of love. I, for one, recommend it to anyone who likes atmospheric, character-driven reads. Deadly Darlings | The Social Potato | The Book Geek | Twitter | Instagram

  11. 4 out of 5

    Simona B

    3.5 "There was great beauty in this qasr, but there was also great ugliness and fear. I would not be like those men who turned their eyes from one to see the other. I would remember what those things cost." •First thing you need to know: this is not your typical ya. All the genre tropes you are accustomed to -Mary Sue-ish protagonist, instalove, love triangle, you name it- are happily, blissfully, totally absent, and this is why I don't get the readers' eagerness to compare it to The Wrath and the 3.5 "There was great beauty in this qasr, but there was also great ugliness and fear. I would not be like those men who turned their eyes from one to see the other. I would remember what those things cost." •First thing you need to know: this is not your typical ya. All the genre tropes you are accustomed to -Mary Sue-ish protagonist, instalove, love triangle, you name it- are happily, blissfully, totally absent, and this is why I don't get the readers' eagerness to compare it to The Wrath and the Dawn (though far be it from me to tell what you should or shouldn't do, obviously) which really, in my opinion, is no match. It was so refreshing it actually saddened me that such a simple thing as the lack of clichés should fill me with this much glee and elation. It made me wonder how it could come to pass that we are now used to the low standard that modern young-adult books, generally speaking, offer. But that's another story. •The second (though not in order of importance) great, gigantic, glorious perk of A Thousand Nights is its setting. Reading this book, you breathe the desert. I don't know enough to be able to judge whether or not the world depicted in this book is culturally accurate, but to me, it surely felt so. The life in the village and the life of the palace women are told in a way that felt to me incredibly realistic and true. •Speaking about women, they definitely have a major role as a (and here I'm going to use one of my least favourite words) category, as a group whose members share a common identity and a common background and who, thanks to this, are able to see the world as through a shared pair of eyes. It was very beautiful to witness, both as a cultural element and as a plot device. •So while I liked a lot the storytelling part, I found the book to be evidently weaker on the story in itself. It's not that it lacks action -you know I'd choose a slow and well-crafted book over an action-packed one any day; honestly, more and more often I'm finding that long action sequences bore me very quickly. It's that sometimes the book gives the impression to have been written in a moment of extreme boredom that had to be overcome somehow. It follows that at times the story doesn't seem to have a real purpose, an end point, and if you are hugely invested in the characters (as in, you could read about them watching paint dry and still not be bored) that's fine, while if you are invested, but modestly, then not so much. •To sum the problem up, It felt to me as if all the life the author had been able to infuse in the setting had been sucked out of the plot. And it was the weirdest thing, because I found myself in the position of adoring what I was reading on the one hand, while feeling so deeply estranged on the other. •Also, I'm a bit torn in regards to the magic system. I loved the struggle between the demon and the smallgod (which is in part identified also as the struggle between men and women, making a true character out of the female dimension) but I'd also say the vagueness concerning the extent of- OH MY GOD WE DON'T KNOW HER NAME. How could I not notice? I swear on my heart I realized just now. Oh my god I'm so shocked. I need a moment. Ok, well, anyway. The extent of her powers. Yes, that's what I was saying. So, this vagueness undoubtedly is fascinating and in line with the general character of the novel, but sadly I tend to be a little irked by the "that's how it this deal with it" thing. Anyway, the story flows perfectly nonetheless and this is not a major flaw -I would rather call it a personal preference. ➽ I'm sure that there are at least a dozen other things I should say, but my brain can't seem to recollect them all. It is a telltale sign, I think, of how peculiar this story is, and of how it belongs to that very specific type of books that never run out of things to say. And this is beautiful. "There is life, and there is living—and that is what she learned." So, my first book of 2017 was a little shiny exotic jewel, and I hope this means my year started in the spirit of diversity and lack of annoying clichés. And many many thanks to my brainsis for this tremendously beautiful (seriously, this book is the prettiest) gift!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chantal (Every Word A Doorway)

    Always, it seemed, men would overlook unpleasant things for the sake of those that went well. The statues’ eyes for the melodious sounds of the fountain. The deaths of their daughters for the bounty of their trade. There was great beauty in this qasr, but there was also great ugliness and fear. I would not be like those men who turned their eyes from one to see the other. I would remember what those things cost. Amidst the dozens of YA fairy tale retellings, A Thousand Nights stands o Always, it seemed, men would overlook unpleasant things for the sake of those that went well. The statues’ eyes for the melodious sounds of the fountain. The deaths of their daughters for the bounty of their trade. There was great beauty in this qasr, but there was also great ugliness and fear. I would not be like those men who turned their eyes from one to see the other. I would remember what those things cost. Amidst the dozens of YA fairy tale retellings, A Thousand Nights stands out. It will immediately be compared to The Wrath and the Dawn , even if the two could not be more different from one another. If you go into this one expecting it to be like TWatD, you will be disappointed. The two books attempt completely different things, though in my opinion both succeed in what they are trying to achieve. A Thousand Nights has gotten a mixed reception and it only takes a few pages to realize why. The writing style does not have the same easy readability and accessibility that people expect from YA books. It’s quite dense and the whole book is very literary; a fast-paced adventure is not what you will find in these pages. There were times where I struggled with this: I would have to reread paragraphs because my mind drifted elsewhere or had to go back a few pages because I had missed one of the subtle hints. So this book wasn’t always enjoyable, and yet I really liked it. Most authors who write fairy tale or mythological retellings stay very much on the surface of the original tale (that I’ve read). They retell the plot. I’m not saying that’s bad, I enjoy those retellings, but E.K. Johnston takes it a step further. Not only does she reimagine the storyline, but she rethinks symbolism and themes and cleverly subverts them. The original frame story of One Thousand and One Nights, is that of Scheherazade who offers herself to be the next bride of the king, a king who kills all of his wives after one night. But Scheherazade is clever and begins to tell the king a tale without ending it. The king, curious to hear the story’s conclusion, is thus forced to postpone his wife’s execution. This goes on for 1,001 nights, after which the king has fallen in love with his wife and no longer wishes to kill her. E.K. Johnston took this idea but created something unique with it. The main character’s power does indeed stem from storytelling, but not in the sense of the original story. Instead, her stories are magic, literally. I loved that concept. The author is similarly clever when it comes to naming her characters. Nobody in this book has a name except for the king, Lo-Melkhiin. This could have been confusing or jarring but ended up working so well. Lo-Melkhiin’s name will be the one remembered, the one written down in the history books. He is the king. A man. Yet, his story will change according to the person who tells it, depending on the era and political circumstances. Other names, the names of the women, will be forgotten, lost in the movement of time, but their stories will not. Nameless has always meant anonymous, overlooked, unimportant. But in this story, the nameless hold the true power. Thus E.K. Johnston has managed to take a story that is sexist at its core, and make it into a strong feminist work. How wonderful. Already, the story is changing. When men tell it in the souks and in the desert, they shape it to fit their understanding. It passes from caravan to caravan, to places where they have never heard of the one called Lo-Melkhiin. The words change language, and meaning is lost and gained in every vowel’s shift. They change the monster into a man, and they change her into something that can be used to teach a lesson: if you are clever and if you are good, the monster will not have you. You should not believe everything you hear. But A Thousand Nights doesn’t only shine with its themes and message. The atmosphere is what really makes this book. It’s so vivid that you can feel the hot desert air on your skin, the wind in your hair, can smell the spices and hear the rush of the fountain. E.K. Johnston is a forensic archaeologist and has spent six summers in the Jordan desert (working on the Wadi ath-Thamad project) and you can tell. She writes the Middle Eastern culture authentically (at least as far as I can tell with my limited knowledge). It reads so much like a fairy tale. Like it has been written hundreds of years ago and been passed down through the generations. Like a story told around campfires. The writing was poetic and evocative. And then there is the main character and narrator. She was so brave, selfless and determined. She never gave up hope and stayed true to herself and her people. She was smart and knew when to hold her tongue, when to strike and when to lay in waiting. She had a plan and saw it though. I rooted for her all the way. “I am yours to command, husband,” I said to him, and met his eyes. When my mother spoke to our father, she often said that. He liked it, the way she put herself in his hands. Until just now, I had not realized that since my mother was the one who allowed it, she had more power than even he might have realized. Lo-Melkhiin thought I was less than him; but his was not the only tally. It was also beautiful to see the relationships between the women in this story. They are a community, a family and support each other no matter what. They are each other’s sources of strength. One of the driving sources of the book is the relationship between the MC and her sister. There is no jealousy, no pettiness only love and respect between them. They would die for one another. It was so refreshing. Overall, A Thousand Nights is a slow-paced book that lacks action but is beautifully told, complex and thought-provoking. Though I may not have enjoyed every minute of the reading experience, it left me with a lot of emotions and thoughts. Recommended! Overall, A Thousand Nights is a slow-paced book that lacks action but is beautifully told, complex and thought-provoking. Though I may not have enjoyed every minute of the reading experience, it left me with a lot of emotions and thoughts. Recommended!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Navessa

    WOAH.

  14. 4 out of 5

    ֆɦɛʟʟʏ ȶɦɛ քǟȶʀօռ ֆǟɨռȶ օʄ ƈʊʀʍʊɖɢɛօռʟʏ ƈʀօռɛֆ

    Edit December 13, 2016: It's $1.99 on Kindle! Oh I liked this one! Totally worth it in my view!! :) This is a book I originally requested from Netgalley, but was rejected. :( Well, I finally got a copy and read the entire thing in one day. Apparently, it's based off One Thousand and One Nights, but I have never read that and knew very little of what it was supposed to be about. So this was pretty much all new to me. I knew that a djinn or genie or ifrit would play a role and that it was about a k Edit December 13, 2016: It's $1.99 on Kindle! Oh I liked this one! Totally worth it in my view!! :) This is a book I originally requested from Netgalley, but was rejected. :( Well, I finally got a copy and read the entire thing in one day. Apparently, it's based off One Thousand and One Nights, but I have never read that and knew very little of what it was supposed to be about. So this was pretty much all new to me. I knew that a djinn or genie or ifrit would play a role and that it was about a king who went through wives like toilet paper. There were definitely fantasy elements and supernatural creatures, but it was so much more! . The story was told almost as if someone was recalling a fairytale or passing down the story in an intimate setting. No one had any names except for the king. That was unusual and apparently some had issues with that, but it totally worked for me. To be honest, I didn't even really notice it. It wasn't about identities, it was about family, the love between sisters, concepts like bravery and loyalty. This was Young Adult, but it didn't read like your typical YA book. There was no angst or stereotypes. The main female character was strong and admirable. It was a great magical story, in my view. I had no idea what to expect and loved it. If you're looking for a more in-depth review with a synopsis and quotes, read my friend Tadiana's review! Original post: I LOVED IT!

  15. 4 out of 5

    ☆☽Erica☾☆

    "My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted," I said. "My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today-why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you." WHAM. FUCK YOU PATRIARCHY. Seriously, this was really awesome. A Thousand Nights is a feminist retelling of the Arabian Nights. I've read a bunch of these recently (Uprooted, Cruel Beauty, The Wrath and the Dawn) and all managed to contribute somet "My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted," I said. "My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today-why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you." WHAM. FUCK YOU PATRIARCHY. Seriously, this was really awesome. A Thousand Nights is a feminist retelling of the Arabian Nights. I've read a bunch of these recently (Uprooted, Cruel Beauty, The Wrath and the Dawn) and all managed to contribute something new to the conversation. What made this particular one special was the fact that the entire thing was an allegory for women's rights. Literally. It was spectacular. Every woman in this story has no name. Even the main character who is also the narrator. No one asks for her name and she never says it. Even her mother and sister and all the women who work in tandem with her are nameless. This is a really powerful choice on the author's part. Women have been silenced throughout history, leaving their names and stories unwritten and unread. Society is constructed to silence women and their experiences. This retelling glitters with the power of the story of our nameless, disregarded heroic narrator who sacrifices herself for the life of her sister and womankind. E.K. Johnston has crafted a smart and symbolic story here. Every breath of the characters signifies some important connection between their patriarchal society and our own. It will make you think and hopefully the fabric our narrator weaves throughout the story will become apparent in your own life after reading it. Back to my lair...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    What was everyone's issue with this one? Yes, it is similar to The Wrath and the Dawn, in that they are both retellings of One Thousand and One Nights. But... this book was completely different. And I liked it! ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Publication Date: October 6, 2015 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a What was everyone's issue with this one? Yes, it is similar to The Wrath and the Dawn, in that they are both retellings of One Thousand and One Nights. But... this book was completely different. And I liked it! ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Publication Date: October 6, 2015 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: What was everyone's issue with this book? Before diving into it, I had seen people on Twitter and Goodreads complaining that it was just a pale comparison of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, that it was too similar but not nearly as good. Is that so? I didn't find it so at all. A Thousand Nights and The Wrath and the Dawn are both retellings of One Thousand and One Nights, and they are both published in the same year, but they are vastly different. This review isn't meant to be a comparison of the two! It's just that so many other reviewers have been complaining of the similarities, and I want to hopefully dispel that notion! Lo-Melkhiin has taken a new wife, one that took the place of her sister. Her sister is more beautiful and everyone watches her, but no one watches the second sister. So she does everything she can to stand out, so that her sister will not be taken. And she is. Lo-Melkhiin comes to her that wedding night, and does nothing more than take her hands. She lives one night, and another night, and another. Soon she is queen, but she knows that something is not right with Lo-Melkhiin. He is not the same man who went out in the desert years ago, and returned with cruelty in his heart. She must stop him, and with a power she is slowly discovering, she will fight for her life, before he takes it from her. We have a nameless heroine! In fact, the only person who has a name in this book is Lo-Melkhiin. There is "Lo-Melkhiin's mother", "wife", "my sister", "my father", etc. I thought this was interesting, and I didn't realize that not even the heroine was unnamed, until the very end of the book. Rarely do you come across books that feature a nameless protagonist! Our heroine is never afraid of Lo-Melkhiin, because she knows that he could kill her at any time. She goes about her day trying to stay busy with spinning wool, the only thing she is allowed to do. She starts to notice visions, snippets of the future, especially when she is spinning. Her sister, back in the desert, has been praying to her "smallgod", and our protagonist has power. She is strong and unafraid, steadfast and courageous. She is also clever and selfless, and tries to help the others in the palace. Lo-Melkhiin is another matter. He is not who he appears to be, just like Khalid in The Wrath and the Dawn. Except he is very different. Lo-Melkhiin is having girls killed after marrying them, but his reasons are very different, and not entirely noble. You have to read this one to understand - I feel so bad for Lo-Melkhiin! Yet he is doing every cruel thing we know he is doing. One of the biggest differences between this book and The Wrath and the Dawn is that this book features no romance. This book is not full of swoons. However, a bit of a romance has potential, with our protagonist. This is a standalone and should remain so, but the ending leads me to believe in a romance. It is sweet! This book has a darker tone than The Wrath and the Dawn, in my opinion. I rather like this. The protagonist is less known to us, and it's not just because she has no name. She seems very universal. Her love for her sister and family is constant, never changing. Everything she does is for her sister. And Lo-Melkhiin uses this against her. The protagonist does not fear Lo-Melkhiin, but she should. There are some tense moments between him and her, and they scared ME. So the story is darker, less hopeful, less swoony. None of these things bothered me. I didn't expect a swoony tale from this one, not from the beginning. There are two perspectives; third person, which is our female protagonist, and first person, which is our male protagonist (who is also technically the villain). So you know exactly what is going on in his head. He is definitely as she describes him - a lion, and a viper. There is much more magic at work in this story, and the story is more dependent on it. I loved this! Our female protagonist has magic, as well as Lo-Melkhiin, and even the sister plays a role in the magic. The magic is so important for the protagonist, especially in terms of the visions. The setting is so well-crafted! The protagonist is from the desert, and the palace is so different. Her new life is more luxurious and pampered, yet she longs for the desert. The author describes so many stories from the protagonist's life, and while some of them were a bit boring, all of them were rich in detail and meaning. Overall, I actually really liked this book. It ended really well, and the ending was probably one of my favorite parts of this book. But I enjoyed this book for what it was, and it was NOT a swoony romance. It shouldn't be compared to The Wrath and the Dawn, because it is so different. What I Did Not Like: I kind of wanted to see an epilogue! It would have made my opinion on one specific thing so much nicer. I loved the ending, but I really like epilogues, to see how the characters are doing. There is kind of an epilogue, but it wasn't the one I was looking for. I will say, some parts of this book read a little slow. The beginning, when the protagonist is first taken into the palace, for one. However, now that I've actually read the entire book, I can see WHY it is a bit slow at that point, and I can appreciate it. But while you're reading, you might be like, come on, keep going... Would I Recommend It: Really, I didn't have too many complaints. Forgot about The Wrath and the Dawn for ten seconds, stop expecting swoon, and you will like this book. It's totally unfair that this one is falling to the wayside because everyone thinks it's a shadow of The Wrath and the Dawn! Any fantasy fan can enjoy this one. I know it's not for everyone, and people will still be mad because they want it to be like The Wrath and the Dawn in certain (swoony) ways, but I don't think that's fair at all! Rating: 3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I'm not saying this is my favorite One Thousand and One Nights retelling, but I AM saying that it is an interesting. Totally different spin on the original, and very intriguing! I'm glad I gave this book a chance.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nastassja

    Unbelievable sights Indescribable feeling Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling Through an endless diamond sky A whole new world Don't you dare close your eyes A hundred thousand things to see Hold your breath - it gets better I'm like a shooting star I've come so far I can't go back to where I used to be - Tim Rice (lyrics from Aladdin) Do you familiar with a feeling when you open a fine bottle of wine and pour in your glass, and, at first, your wine touches with the air and you feel the bouquet of flavors, a Unbelievable sights Indescribable feeling Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling Through an endless diamond sky A whole new world Don't you dare close your eyes A hundred thousand things to see Hold your breath - it gets better I'm like a shooting star I've come so far I can't go back to where I used to be - Tim Rice (lyrics from Aladdin) Do you familiar with a feeling when you open a fine bottle of wine and pour in your glass, and, at first, your wine touches with the air and you feel the bouquet of flavors, and you let your senses taste the story behind these smells - uncover its ingredients - and only then you let yourself take a sip of that wine and let it stream through your blood, enchanting you and singing its secrets to you. After a few more glasses you are fully under its spell (well, if you are not feeling its magic yet, have another glass, please, to be sure). Alright, maybe the comparison with wine was not the best, but my feelings toward this book were similar to feeling intoxicated with a good wine (otherwise there's no point to be drunk if the wine is not good, right?). A thousand nights is a good wine you can't stop enjoying until you drunk on its richness and magic and beauty and, most of all, its uniqueness. This book is one in a million. It's a gem. It was one of those rare cases when I was hooked from the first words. This is a true fairy tale: like, every other book I called fairy tale before is not it, compared to this one. Magic, wisdom, true east, demons, princes, desert, castles, love, friendship and a healthy dose of feminism - this is the bouquet of A thousand nights. It began slowly. One moving spark in a sky full of fixed lights, spiraling blue and gold, and then doused by the blackness of the sky. Not all of us saw it, it burned so quickly, but soon there were plenty of lights to marvel at. The story is about a common desert girl, who only wanted to save her beloved sister from a terrible fate of becoming a wife of a man who killed hundreds of his wives before. The girl made her sacrifice in the name of love for her sister, but in doing so, she saved thousands of lives. “My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted,” I said. “My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.” Sisterly love is so pure and strong in this book. I never had a sister, but I wish I had the one like our Nameless heroine. This book is not your typical YA; you will not find here swoon worthy princes and kick ass heroines. Nope. Our Nameless heroine is a fighter, but she fights with a special magic - magic made by love and wisdom. “I do fear him,” I said, which was close to the truth. “I fear him as I fear the desert sun and poisonous snakes. They are all part of the life I live. But the sun gives light, and snakes will feed a caravan if they are caught and cooked.” It's is not a story of how one girl defied an evil force and saved everyone, no, this is a story of how all women united in one had saved the world. Yes, this book is a hymn to feminism in many ways, but it is not about how women fought for their rights in a world made by men. It is a story about women's unity and wisdom; how to be just a woman in a world made by men, but also how not to overcome but make it a better and a kinder place. “I am yours to command, husband,” I said to him, and met his eyes. When my mother spoke to our father, she often said that. He liked it, the way she put herself in his hands. Until just now, I had not realized that since my mother was the one who allowed it, she had more power than even he might have realized. Lo-Melkhiin thought I was less than him; but his was not the only tally. Then the other women would start to talk to one another. Through them, my mothers learned more of the habits of the men our father traded with than he had ever dreamed of. “With your eyes on your work,” my mother had said to me, thinking to prepare me for a trader’s life, “it is easy to forget who is present to hear your mouth. You and your sister must remember that, when you are wed. Do good work, and those you work with will tell you things beyond what you can imagine.” A thousand nights is slow paced, but the story has twists and turns, and there's terrifying moments and joyful moments. There's not much action, but it did not make me less fidgety, worrying over our Nameless heroine's fate. There's no romance. There's love, but no actual romantic line. It never bothered me, really; the language and the whole story were so beautiful and captivating that the whole concept of love was enough to satisfy me. And let me mention that E.K. Johnston is a forensic archaeologist by training and a grammarian by nature. I am not an expert on east but I felt an authenticity of eastern culture in every word and description the author gave me. We had skin of burnt bronze, a deeper brown than sand, and duskier where it was exposed to the wind and sky. Our hair was long enough to sit upon, and dark: the color around the stars, when night was at its fullest. There's a reason only one character has a name in this book. It's Lo-Melkhiin - our main hero and villain. He is the king. He is a symbol for his people. His name will be written into history, other names will be forgotten, but their stories will be not. Lo-Melkhiin's name will not be forgotten, but his story will change: what he was, what were his reasons behind the murders will change. Our Nameless heroine's name is forgotten but her story stays true: she saved the king and the kingdom. Nameless but powerful. Always, it seemed, men would overlook unpleasant things for the sake of those that went well. The statues’ eyes for the melodious sounds of the fountain. The deaths of their daughters for the bounty of their trade. There was great beauty in this qasr, but there was also great ugliness and fear. I would not be like those men who turned their eyes from one to see the other. I would remember what those things cost. The monster tested her, pulling at her soul and rending her spirit. She clung to life, and in the clinging she might have become a monster too, except she chose the path her story would take. She chose white stone walls and a golden crown. She chose to debate words of law, and to never grind her own grain. She chose to fight men every day, and then fight their sons, who thought they knew better than their fathers.<...> If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    3.5 stars I kind of missed the fairy tale component (no endless stories told every night here). However, it is very atmospheric, and the language is lovely. One thing though that bothered me. The main character's dress/robe called "dishdasha" plays a large role in the story, but when I tried looking up pictures of dishdashas, every search came back with some white prayer robes for men, and dishdasha is defined as a male dress everywhere...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kat Kennedy

    I have SO MANY thoughts about this book. Can't wait to share them all.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky)

    I have written a review for this twice and it keep showing up as tbr aarrrggghhhhh! It's bloody good. That's all I'm writing this time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nina (Every Word A Doorway)

    “My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted,” I said. “My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.” A Thousand Nights is a tale of love. Not the blossoming love between a woman and her captor, but a love so deep like it can only run between sisters. This is a testimony to sisterhood, to the strength of women, and to the magic of belief. Though “My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted,” I said. “My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.” A Thousand Nights is a tale of love. Not the blossoming love between a woman and her captor, but a love so deep like it can only run between sisters. This is a testimony to sisterhood, to the strength of women, and to the magic of belief. Though perhaps peculiar and not without its faults, this book is beautiful and enchanting, authentic in its world-building, and narrated with the voice of a strong heroine. This is not your typical YA. It does not bear your typical slow burn romance, or your typical kick-ass heroine, or your typical fast-paced fantasy plot. A Thousand Nights has a noticeably different feel from the very first page. Save for Lo-Melkhiin, the mentioning of names is completely absent in this book. Though we do get quite an action-packed finale, the pacing of the book is slow, and its writing beautiful, poetic even. Some might expect a dazzling and almost impossible romance, much like in The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, but this is not the case. I strongly suspect that this gem of a book has received many low ratings and disappointed reviews because it is simply different, unable to meet the expectations one has for a typical YA fantasy. If you wish for a fast-paced Arabian-inspired adventure, I'll have to point you in the opposite direction. The core of this book is the tale of a young Bedouin girl who sacrifices her life for her half-sister and takes her place as the bride of a ruler who has killed his 300 previous brides, and who then survives night after night because of her illustrious stories. And if you think that we have the average special snowflake who saves a loved one in an act of selflessness, then you are mistaken. A Thousand Nights is about the strength of many, united in one. It is about the strength of love, the magic in belief, the virtue of storytelling, and the power of women. “Watch your world burn, light of my heart. Tomorrow we will find another one and burn that too.” With her exquisite writing and vivid imagination, Johnston paints a breathtaking picture of a desert kingdom ruled by a cruel ruler, populated by city folk and nomads. Her experience of life in the Middle East is palpable, as she brings this Arabian-inspired setting to life like few others have. Even though I've visited a few Middle Eastern countries and I've sat in seminars on the MENA region (which includes Yemen where Johnston resided), I do not consider myself an expert. However, with the knowledge I do have, I must note that Johnston's cultural accuracy and authenticity is a tough act to follow for authors writing Arabian-inspired fantasy novels. From the Arabic terminology to the traditional customs, the element of culture is well represented in A Thousand Nights. I stand to correct myself, for this novel classifies as a genre between fantasy and historical fiction, though I believe the fantasy elements are predominant here. I adored Johnston's concepts of magic and energy, of demons and small-gods. I swear, if you enjoy creative writing but you lack inspiration, dive into this book and you will walk the earth forever enchanted by its stunning imagination. In a nutshell, A Thousand Nights is a beautifully written and imaginative Arabian-inspired novel, and if you can trade a fast pacing for actual substance, you will adore this book as much as I did. Every Word A Doorway | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katrin D

    Full review at: my blog ''I was done with murdering little girls. This one would be my queen.'' I understand why this book isn't as popular as The Wrath and the Dawn. Comparison is inevitable since they both revolve around the same subject and came out at approximately the same time. And where the TWATD became a huge hit, A Thousand Nights was left more or less in it's shadow. Which, to be quite honest, is why it took me so long to read it. I didn't have high hopes for this one. And I was so w Full review at: my blog ''I was done with murdering little girls. This one would be my queen.'' I understand why this book isn't as popular as The Wrath and the Dawn. Comparison is inevitable since they both revolve around the same subject and came out at approximately the same time. And where the TWATD became a huge hit, A Thousand Nights was left more or less in it's shadow. Which, to be quite honest, is why it took me so long to read it. I didn't have high hopes for this one. And I was so wrong. If I have to judge objectively, A Thousand Nights is by far the better book. However, it is not for everyone. It will not cater to common tastes. If someone is looking for an epic love story, heartbreak, flamboyant battle scenes…they will not find them here. Everything in this story is so much more subtle that it can be mistaken for boring. In my opinion, this is where the value and charm of this book lie. The story is so captivating and real that it makes you think. I was not rushing to turn page after page to discover what was going to happen because I was enjoying the page I was reading at the moment. It is a little hard to explain. A Thousand Nights spins stories inside the story but not the way we would expect from Arabian Nights. Not at all. There is not a single "story" as we might expect, and yet every chapter tells a different story that was born by the imagination and wishful thinking of our nameless protagonist. As an Arab girl myself I can really appreciate the level of research and experience the writer has about bedouin culture. The level of description about even the smallest detail, explaining what a life in the desert is like, was incredible. After I read the book I read the author's bio and I saw that 1. She an archaeologist and 2. She has spent a long time in Jordan. So, I can only respect her for doing her job well since this has obviously helped her to gain all the knowledge about this culture, which allowed her to write this incredible book. ''I would be the sun, now, and I would test the limits of what this strange power could do. I would call upon the prayers my sister offered at my shrine, and I would change what I saw fit to change.'' Another aspect I completely adored is the effortlessly feministic vibe of this book. The nameless heroine is so independent without flaunting it and fierce without making a huge deal out of it. She is fierce, loyal, resourceful and, unlike most YA heroines out there, NOT stupidly good-natured. ''His face showed pain, though his eyes were closed. I thought that if he were awake, he would be screaming with it. I was almost sad that he slept.'' On one hand, I am really saddened by the low rating, while on the other, I get it. I get why there were so many people, who were not left as satisfied as I was with this book. I do understand it. Maybe had I read it an a different time or when I was in a different mood, I would have not appreciated it as much. “Father of my heart,” said Lo-Melkhiin, with the warm voice he used when he spoke to his mother, “love makes poets of us all.” When a book is not action-packed and yet even the smallest twist or turn or event made me squirm in anticipation, that's a sign of the writer's mastery. And one of the greatest qualities of this book is the unbelievable talent for writing the author has. Every single page contained little gems of expressions and made reading such a pleasure. I have so many quotes taken out that I could easily fill 10 pages only with those. The writing was effortlessly beautiful in the sense that it was not forced. I am still completely in awe and I can say I am going to read everything the E. K. Johnston writes (in this genre). Endnote: Here's a quote from my favourite scene in book: “It won’t be a knife, my love,” he said to me. His voice was low. “I can promise you that.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Long Review To Come Closer To Release. Needs another 1001 nights to develop character depth. Very atypical of me to be doing a mid currently reading review, but I've got to be a bit vocal here. You see, this whole retelling wave that we're all riding on is not my favourite. Why? Because shit like reading back to back stories playing homage to the very same classics in the same year can be fucking confusing. And whether you like it or not, it causes comparisons. I have just come off a The Wr Long Review To Come Closer To Release. Needs another 1001 nights to develop character depth. Very atypical of me to be doing a mid currently reading review, but I've got to be a bit vocal here. You see, this whole retelling wave that we're all riding on is not my favourite. Why? Because shit like reading back to back stories playing homage to the very same classics in the same year can be fucking confusing. And whether you like it or not, it causes comparisons. I have just come off a The Wrath and the Dawn high, the 2015 YA offering playing upon the whole 1001 Nights thing. Don't read them back to back is all I'm saying. As of current, here's what I'll say about this one: 1. No names. It could be that I'm daft as hell or I've gotten little to know sleep but damn, I must be pretty fucking stupid if I've failed to catch the protagonist's name despite being over the 50% mark. She has no identity. 2. In fact, none of these characters have an identity. Her great-grandaddy's name is merely "father's father's father". And that's a fucking mouthful to be used like 5/6 times in a chapter. 3. Lo-Melkhiin has a name, sure, but does he have an appearance? Is he like a hottie??? (I assume he is because lololol this is YA and god forbid we have average looking royalty) Does he have an age??? (he has "ten summers" on the protagonist BUTTTTT we don't know her age). For a person dumb as hell when it comes to maths, numbers are something that bother the heck out of me in books. Now I can assume two things here. That she is 18 and he is 28, if we're doing YA and trying not to advocate something beyond what PG13 protestors would have a field day with. So yeah, that's the legal assumption. Or we could be assuming context and thinking younger. You know what, who knows, WE JUST DON'T GET A THING. 4. Damn characterisation. 5. Characters. 6. Everything else is fine. I'll be back with an actual review when I'm finished.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Puck

    Now this is a (feminist!) retelling that truly had me spellbound. A Thousand Nights is a story written in gorgeous prose and with a charming atmosphere, that tells the tale of how (two) women fight against the power of men and his believes. In a Middle Eastern land, the king Lo-Melkhiin is known for taking a new bride each day, for all the girls strangely die fast after the marriage. When the king comes to their qasr, one sister is determinate to save her older sister’s life, and so she disg Now this is a (feminist!) retelling that truly had me spellbound. A Thousand Nights is a story written in gorgeous prose and with a charming atmosphere, that tells the tale of how (two) women fight against the power of men and his believes. In a Middle Eastern land, the king Lo-Melkhiin is known for taking a new bride each day, for all the girls strangely die fast after the marriage. When the king comes to their qasr, one sister is determinate to save her older sister’s life, and so she disguises herself to wed the king in her sister’s place. However, she miraculously survives night after night, for she discovers a strange new power within her that may be able to defeat Lo-Melkhiin...or rather whatever kind of spirit that possesses him. Based on the title I expected a retelling of “One Thousand and One Nights” story-collection, but I happily found out that this book is much more a retelling of “Scheherazade”. Most people got introduced to that fairytale thanks to The Wrath & the Dawn duology, but the focus in those books is much more on romance and action. This book is nothing like that. There is very little romance between the sister and the king, and the only action takes place in the last 50 pages of the book (and is not very well written). It is the bond between the two sisters that has the spotlight: where one sister tries to endure life in the palace, the other performs mysterious rituals to guarantee her sister’s safety. Men may hold the most important names and ranks in this book (more about names later), it are the women – the mothers, the palace servants, the brides – who have the most power. “I am yours to command, husband,” I said to him, and met his eyes. When my mother spoke to our father, she often said that. He liked it, the way she put herself in his hands. Until just now, I had not realized that since my mother was the one who allowed it, she had more power than even he might have realized. Lo-Melkhiin thought I was less than him; but his was not the only tally.” Most interestingly, despite their importance, is that all of the female characters remain nameless. We don’t even get to know the name of our protagonist, or her sister’s name. This choice from the author might throw people off, but it tells a very powerful message. In history it are always the men whose names and titles are told and remembered, who seem the most important to the story. No one ever wrote about the names and deeds of women that kept people save and a country running. This book clearly shows how it are the overlooked, unnamed women who wield the true power, and I liked how Lo-Melkhiin slowly came to that realization as well. So although I found the action at the end rushed and the plot maybe a bit thin, I loved the flowing writing style and the world building with the intricate system of prayers and rituals. The themes of family, femininity, and the strong bonds between women were well portrayed, so if you wish to read a more creative, slow-paced fairytale-retelling with a symbolic message, this book is the one for you. "If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman. She bound the monster up and cast him out, and the man who was left was saved.” Read here my review of the second book in the A Thousand Nights duology: #2 Kingdom of Sleep

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    3.5 I'm not quite sure how to feel about this book. It's certainly different. Very different. But did that make me love it? Not really. I appreciate this book, I really do. The writing is beautiful, the world is interesting and the story is magical. This book is definitely not your typical YA love story. So when it comes to all these things, this book deserves 5 stars. BUT I was bored. I didn't feel the need to pick this book back up and even though I loved how the main protagonist focused her thou 3.5 I'm not quite sure how to feel about this book. It's certainly different. Very different. But did that make me love it? Not really. I appreciate this book, I really do. The writing is beautiful, the world is interesting and the story is magical. This book is definitely not your typical YA love story. So when it comes to all these things, this book deserves 5 stars. BUT I was bored. I didn't feel the need to pick this book back up and even though I loved how the main protagonist focused her thoughts on her family (especially her sister, which was AMAZING!) I didn't care for any of the characters. They could have died and I would have been saddened, but not because I loved them as individuals, but rather because death in general IS saddening. I truly believe you should give this book a chance. If you don't get bored than this will be something you'll love. Promise. It just wasn't for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sara Rebotim

    Definitely expecting so much more of this book , the entire book I was so confused 🤷‍♀️ and the characters have no names 🤔, just the king is called Lo-Melkhiin, the girl he married they call her as “Lady-bless “ or “ Daughter of mine “. It was very slow , felt so bored and I’m glad it’s finished 😬😬

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)

    Review first posted on my blog What a magical musical ride! I'm so glad I read most of this while on holiday and I already want to get my hands on the next one :P It is not often that a book totally enthralls and enchants me from the first page, but that’s what this book did. I just fell right in love with this author’s writing style, setting and of course her characters. Right now I will mention that one of my favourite scenes was when our main character was watching the star fall over the desert Review first posted on my blog What a magical musical ride! I'm so glad I read most of this while on holiday and I already want to get my hands on the next one :P It is not often that a book totally enthralls and enchants me from the first page, but that’s what this book did. I just fell right in love with this author’s writing style, setting and of course her characters. Right now I will mention that one of my favourite scenes was when our main character was watching the star fall over the desert.. Among the other things I loved were: the strong bond between the MC and her sister, the rich descriptions of the desert, the writing style, the strong eastern Arabian feel to the whole story and the feminist power of our MC’s actions. “If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman. She bound the monster up and cast him out, and the man who was left was saved.” ― E.K. Johnston, A Thousand Nights You’ll notice I don’t use any names here not because I don’t want to but because only three characters in the whole book were given names our MC not included. While I can understand that this annoys some people, for me it just added more magic and mystery to the book and since our MC narrates, this gives me lots of senses of wonder towards her and the power she discovers as she could be absolutely anyone…. this I surprisingly like I’ve got to say. As I mentioned before, the writing was simply magical, musical and so beautifully done. The descriptions of the characters and desert were brought to life in the most amazing way with this really deep kind of wonder that made me stop and think quite often. However, on saying all these good things I can also understand how this book isn’t for everyone as it is quite slow-paced with not a lot of action and some may find this very boring and dull. But not me! I loved every word! “The monster tested her, pulling at her soul and rending her spirit. She clung to life, and in the clinging she might have become a monster too, except she chose the path her story would take. She chose white stone walls and a golden crown. She chose to debate words of law, and to never grind her own grain. She chose to fight men every day, and then fight their sons, who thought they knew better than their fathers.<…> If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman.” ― E.K. Johnston, A Thousand Nights Who I’d recommend this for: Because I loved this book so much I would say everyone should at least give it a go, it has a strong female character and beautiful writing but like I said I can understand it’s not for everyone. I’d say this book is for people looking for a new type of YA love story that is beautifully written, strongly developed and not at all forced. The story flows smooth like silk and doesn’t rely on bare knuckle action to put in a punch.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Knight

    I really loved this book. It was written in a way that was really beautiful and it felt like a story. Not like I was reading a book but an actual story and it reminded me of why I love reading so much. I wasn't totally into the main character though. At the beginning of the book she was saying how much more beautiful her sister was but she had never actually seen her own face. I always find it annoying when characters degrade themselves. She did get a little better though the book but she never I really loved this book. It was written in a way that was really beautiful and it felt like a story. Not like I was reading a book but an actual story and it reminded me of why I love reading so much. I wasn't totally into the main character though. At the beginning of the book she was saying how much more beautiful her sister was but she had never actually seen her own face. I always find it annoying when characters degrade themselves. She did get a little better though the book but she never made me fall in love with her. I thought the pace was really nice. It was a little slow in the middle but it wasn't boring by all means. I loved the setting! I loved the villages and desert and everything. It was so different from most YA books and I loved it so much. Overall, I read this whole book in just a couple of sittings and I really loved it. I can't wait for it to be released so I can get a hardcover copy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Churchill

    I'm really sad not to be giving this book 5 stars. I'll start off by saying that I have the UK hardback which is one of, if not THE most beautiful book I've ever seen. Everything down to the purple ribbon bookmark (which does have references in the story) is stunning. Unfortunately I'm not as enthusiastic about the story itself. I haven't read any Arabian Nights, on which this 'retelling' is based, but I do know that the point of the original was that the girl managed to stay alive by telling sto I'm really sad not to be giving this book 5 stars. I'll start off by saying that I have the UK hardback which is one of, if not THE most beautiful book I've ever seen. Everything down to the purple ribbon bookmark (which does have references in the story) is stunning. Unfortunately I'm not as enthusiastic about the story itself. I haven't read any Arabian Nights, on which this 'retelling' is based, but I do know that the point of the original was that the girl managed to stay alive by telling stories to her captor for a thousand nights. I know that the marketing around Thousand Nights focuses on storytelling. The thing is, there aren't really any stories in here. There's some trances where visions play out, but no actual storytelling. While the writing is beautiful and a lot of work has gone in to setting the scene of the hot desert, and I found the religious angles and scenery really interesting, the rest of the story felt a little flat. There was no real pacing to speak of, barely any dialogue and a great deal of time passed without very much happening. Another issue I have is with the characters themselves. The main character is strong and pretty wise, coming from a humble background and stepping up to show strength no one knew she had. That's all great. A few other characters had some decent personalities too, but I don't feel like I really got to know them, I don't know what they look like or what their names are. Besides Lo-Melkhiin NOBODY in this book has a name. Not one. Not the main character, her sister (who despite being the focus of MCs visions never got a name or much of a description) and definitely not her father, brothers, mother, sisters-mother, fathers-fathers-father... you get the idea. I understand that it may be a cultural way of speaking, but it doesn't help when you're trying to empathise with characters and become immersed in their lives. I think the premise and underlying plot of the book could have been fantastic, exciting, and powerful. Unfortunately the execution didn't really work out for me. Having said all that though, if I'd gone in with lower expectations and could spend a few hours curled up in front of a fire and just pore over the writing and the world I may have enjoyed it more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣

    I'll start by saying that I ate a lot of olives while reading A Thousand Nights. Every time they mentioned them, I went and got some myself. Now, I'm not quite sure about E.K. Johnston's book. I find it a bit slow-paced for my liking. At least the first half of it. After you pass that 50% things start to get a bit more interesting. I liked the female characters very much. The lack of female viciousness was a breath of fresh air. Our heroine truly loves her sister and it's only because of her love I'll start by saying that I ate a lot of olives while reading A Thousand Nights. Every time they mentioned them, I went and got some myself. Now, I'm not quite sure about E.K. Johnston's book. I find it a bit slow-paced for my liking. At least the first half of it. After you pass that 50% things start to get a bit more interesting. I liked the female characters very much. The lack of female viciousness was a breath of fresh air. Our heroine truly loves her sister and it's only because of her love that she sacrifices herself. And she is loved in return. There is no hidden agenda between them, no grudges. Also, their mothers. In spite of sharing the same husband, they love each-other and all the man's children. Although I'm familiar to the concept of sister wives, it's a mystery to me how 2 or more women could share a man without jealousy and resentment. It's implied twice in the book that even if all the women in the father's tents get along, there might be a secret wish to be the only wife or at least the first one. One thing I failed to understand was the girl's need to do something or concentrate on a repetitive sound in order to find the words to tell her stories (example: the rhythm of the fountain's falling water). Anyway, I'd say A Thousand Nights is a book to be read slowly and with patience. If you're looking for fast-paced action-romance-drama, search some more.

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