Book Review: A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnston



Release Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.


A beautiful and engrossing story that I absolutely would read again!


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


A Thousand Nights is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights, a book which I didn’t know very much about. This is not the only retelling that has been released in the last year, with The Wrath & the Dawn also following a similar storyline. One of the things that initally caught my eye was the stunning cover, it immediately drew me in, and the synopsis made me incredibly eager to read the book. I whizzed through it in a couple of days, and it’s a particularly enjoyable story.

The descriptions of the desert and the city are excellent within the novel. I loved the water garden which the main protagonist spends a lot of time in, I really felt that it came alive. One issue I had with the story is the lack of character names – we never learn the protagonist’s name, and her family are just referred to as her sister or her mother etc. which became a little frustrating. Despite that I absolutely loved the main character, she’s fascinating and brave, and sacrifices herself for the good of her family.

The plot was a bit slower paced that I expected it to be, but I think that fit the story very well and made for a much more effective ending. I loved the magic in the story, which was just so fascinating and made the story particularly gripping. There isn’t much in the way of romance in the story, which I found quite refreshing as so many young adult tales focus so much on the romance element. The story certainly highlights female empowerment, something that isn’t often the case for this kind of story. If you’ve read One thousand and One Nights or are looking for a fairy tale with a bit of a twist, A Thousand Nights should definitely be on your reading list.



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