ARC Review: A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston


A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston

Release Date: October 6, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Subtitle: Good

Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this one early!

"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."

I kept going back and forth about A Thousand Nights. I was super intrigued when I read the blurb, and then was obviously disappointed when I saw it wasn't released until October. I was again excited when NetGalley approved my request, and I received it early. Then, it just sort of stalled. Up, down, up, down. I have no idea why I couldn't pick this book up. I kept opening it to the first page and just staring. I'm not even sure how many times this happened before I actually started reading.

Once I got into the story, I enjoyed it. It has a unique feel and style that I wasn't expecting. The writing felt more like story weaving than story telling. I know that sounds weird, but that's the best way I can describe it. Honestly, I think my expectations were pretty low going into this book, but at least I can say I was pleasantly surprised.

The character's don't really have names that are used by other characters, which was weird at first. They're always referenced by a title, like my mother, my sister, my sister's mother. I found this pretty weird to be honest. Names are part of identities and I wanted more emphasis on names!

The unique writing style & the lack of names, however, kept me from really bonding/identifying with the main character. She felt as foreign to me as the other characters did. She was telling me the story and she was giving me the information she chose to share. I didn't get any sense of deeper knowledge or understanding of her character much at all.

3 out of 5 stars.