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 was a total shock to me. And by shock, I mean that I wasn’t even going to read it. Not that I didn’t want to, but that I was grabbing it for my daughter first. But since she was reading something already, I decided to read it before her. And let me tell you, this book was amazing. I was totally engrossed in this story. The scenery was so well developed, I felt like I could actually see everything. The stars, the colors, the clothes…It was so beautiful, even if it’s only in my imagination. E.K.Johnston has a way of telling this story and making you believe that you’re in the story.
Since I only have vague knowledge of the Thousand and One Nights tale, I was going into this sorta blind. But I think that made this story even more special to me. A clean slate, if you will. No preconceived ideas. And I think that actually helped me enjoy it more, honestly.
I think the best part of this story, for me, was that is wasn’t about love, in the sense of romantic love, but about familial love. My teens and their friends like stories about girls who can kick butt, but they’re not always fans of the romance aspect. They want adventure and intrigue. This book will make them SUPER happy. This girl loved her sister and wanted to save her from a certain death. And in volunteering, that way she did, she ended up changing the world around her and bringing an end to this horrible tradition, if you will.
I was lucky enough to take my daughter to meet the author last week. My girlie sat next to me and listened to her talk and make jokes the whole time. When we got into the car, she turned and told me that she needs to read this book ASAP. I call that success. Now, do I let her use my copy with all the post its, or buy her another one….
At the signing we were told that, in December, she has another releasing another retelling called Spindle. Sleeping Beauty!! I can’t wait!!