ARC REVIEW: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Series: Standalone
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Book Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: ARC, Goodreads 
Review: 3/5 *Full Review Below.

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 Thousands Nights is a magically written story with a vidid world making it easy to become lost in. In addition to a gorgeous cover US edition, the writing is completely unique in which it refuses to reveal secrets, leaving you with constant ‘what if’ questions, I dove into this book and was completely enamored with this world from the first few chapters… however it wasn’t able to contain my interest throughout.

We begin with Lo-Melkiin who marries young girls from different towns and villages in the desert but only to kill her by sunrise. With an impressive 300 ex-wives under his belt he is now looking for his latest conquest and he soon visits a little village where all of girls will be paraded and he will choose his new wife. Our MC knows that the Lo-Melkiin will choose her more attractive sister but refuses to let her to be taken away, instead she makes herself stand out to ensure being picked. In order to avoid her death she decides to tell Lo-Melkiin stories about her sister, about how she was worth much more than and how he will never have her. I adored this, In your face Lo-Melkiin!

As I’m sure you’re all aware this is a retelling of ‘1001 Nights’ and if you’re a fan of YA novels than you may have came across the extremely popular ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ which is also a retelling. For me this had what I felt was missing in ‘The Wrath and the Dawn’ being magic, and lot’s of it!

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the MC’s name… that’s because she doesn’t have one! Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, our heroine is absolutely nameless, I got to the 75% mark in the book and was completely baffled by this, I mean.. how can we not know her name? So I decided to look this up and found out that her actual name is Scheherazade, thank god this was left out as I would have never been able to pronounce this! Let’s call her Susie for short to make things easier. Anyway Susie’s isn’t the only name that is purposefully left out, oh no I’m pretty sure the only name we are given is Lo-Melkiin and trust me there are a lot of charcters in this book! Instead they are referred to as: My father’s father father, My sister, My sister’s mother etc, and as I’ve just stated these secondary characters make a lot of appearances so saying My father’s father father constantly became really annoying and instead of not knowing Susie’s real name which may have been purposefully left out to add some mystery, for me only continued to bother me.

Another reason I couldn’t get behind this book was the complete and utter lack of romance. From the blurb it is easy to assume that Suzie would try to defeat the demon that is Lo-Melkiin and that some epic, lustful romance would only aid her cause but nope, not a drop of it! Instead the story was all about Suzie trying to defeat this demon and then THE END. Safe to safe I felt more than a little cheated by this, so instead of this being better than other retelling's due to the increase in magic, it in fact had too much magic and became the whole plot.

It pains me to say that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I initially hoped, it was just too much of a slow read and it was missing elements like names and romance, which for me aren’t essential but allow me to enjoy the book more.

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  1. No names...that is so strange! The blurb definitely makes it sound interesting, but the things you mentioned that annoyed you would totally frustrate me as well. Great review! :)

    1. I know right? I was totally shocked, thanks so much :D

  2. The no names thing would throw me off as well. How is one supposed to even relate to a character without a name? And the no-romance on top of it?! It is safe to say that I will never be picking this book up, even with the magic! Great review, as always girl :)
    Morrighan @ Elysian Fields Reviews.

    1. EXACTLY! I need romance even if it's just a little and this had the potential who write an epic romance, aww thanks so much lovely! x

  3. I would be annoyed with the lack of names, but i am happy that the MCs name is consistent with the original!

    And yes, I want romance too! Is there a sequel? Is there hope for romance yet??

    Lovely review!!

    1. Hey Amber!
      No there's no sequel unfortunately, I would love for there to be with some added romance, thank you :)

  4. I can't read a book that has no romance.... it just doesn't hold me. I can read a book with little romance, but it if doesn't have any... nope! Great review!

    1. I'm with you there, even a little romance is better than nothing! I just obsess over them so much haha, thanks Carrie <3

  5. After reading your review I should stay away from this book I guess. I did not like The Wrath and the Dawn so, I don't think I will like this book at all.
    And no names? Now, that's weird! That would have annoyed me too.
    Nice review!


  6. Great review! It seems that recently there have been a few retellings of the same original Arabic story. The cover of the US edition is definitely stunning! Great review. It is crazy that the name was not openly mentioned in the book. Hahaha Susie! That nickname is the best!
    ~Chioma @ Blue Books and Butterflies


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