A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston is a retelling of the tale of 1,001 nights. Lo-Melkhiin killed three-hundred of his wives before he reached our main characters village. Her sister was sure to be chosen and using cleverness and the strength of her will she takes her sister’s place.
Lo-Melkhiin’s court is filled with dangerous luxury and the man himself holds cruelness within. After she miraculous survives her first night and continues to wake each morning, she learns that Lo-Melkhiin and the place is more than it seems. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes and does nothing more than take her hands but in doing so strange lights ignite between them and there is an exchange of powers that she does not understand.
Far from the palace her sister is in mourning and in mourning her sister sends more than just prayer. Each night a she speaks with Lo-Melkhiin her power grows and so does her hope that she may overcome the evil within him.
What powers have she uncovered? Can she survive the battle to come? And will good conquer evil?
Gosh that was a hard synopsis to write, considering that Lo-Melkhiin is the only one with an actual name. And do you want to know what? I didn’t even realize this fact until I sat down to start writing the synopsis. The only way to write it is in the third person.
This nameless anonymity given to people, especially the women of this book serves a purpose. This book flips the story of 1,001 nights on its head and gives strength and power to the women of the story. Our narrator takes and gives and even though she wears her womanly guise, she see things and acts to save others; she is the one in power and even after she loses her mystical powers, she gains the right of men–to rule. Even her sister is portrayed as a strong, powerful influencer of others and she falls in love with her husband because he won’t change her and he will never take another. This is completely opposite of what one would expect to read in a book set in this testosterone ridden culture.
The author is constantly referring to the “woman’s world” and the separation of the roles of men and woman. Lo-Melkhiin cannot influence the women as he does his male followers and this is because he is outside of the “woman’s world” but our narrator is not. She can influence the masses, without touching, while Lo-Melkhiin cannot. Gender roles are blurred and we take away that what matters most is goodness.
I’ve been really into this desert setting lately. Rebel of the Sands was great and so was this one. There is just something magical about the desert–the harshness and beauty and the battle for survival in such a harsh environment. If you have any suggestions on other books that take place in the desert, send ’em my way!
Finally, there really isn’t a lot of back story, explanation behind what is happening and why and yet it all still works. The why isn’t overdone and instead we get to focus on the story itself and what we get out of it.
This was a pretty great read. Reviewing it only makes me like it even more. This is a YA read made for an adult audience; it makes you think and I think having lived a little, will only make you appreciate it even more.
That’s all for now!