Review – A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnson


Title A Thousand Nights

Author E.K. Johnson

Description from Amazon

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Initial Thoughts

I purchased this book a while back and it was sitting in my Apple Books Library for a while when I finally decided to read it.  I love they story that inspired it so I thought why not give this a try.  I also really like the setting description.

Cover Art

The cover of this book is super pretty.  I almost wish I owned a physical copy because it has some real shelf appeal.  The cover reminds me of Aladdin (and, you might know this already, but that’s my favorite Disney movie).

Series Value

There is an indirect sequel to this book, Spindle, but this book did not leave me wanting to read it.  I found the ending of A Thousand Nights to be lacking therefore, I have no interest in continuing the story.

Something I Wasn’t Crazy About

The unnamed main character.  I had never read anything like that before and I wanted to like it.  But, I did not.  By not naming her, she felt distant and aloof and I couldn’t really understand her character.  I wanted to like the main character so much more than I actually did.

Final Thoughts

Despite a strong start, a magical setting, and the inspiration of a classic tale, I found this book fell apart in the end.  The ending was rushed, actions and relationships were left unexplained, and, I don’t think I’ll find the answers I felt were missing in the sequel.  Overall, not my favorite retelling of a classic.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan — if you like retellings of classic tales, especially those set in the desert, look no further than Tiger Queen coming releasing in September 2019.
  • Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon — this is another book coming out soon, but definitely check it out if you liked A Thousand Nights.  Another story set in the desert with a heroine who will defy the odds to save her family.
  • Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson — I can’t not recommend this book.  It’s one of my all time favorites and it’s set in the desert.  If you enjoyed the setting of A Thousand Nights, definitely give this Remnant Chronicles spin-off a try.

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