Title: A Thousand Nights
Author: E. K. Johnston
Review: The opening to A Thousand Nights was amazing we see our protagonist sacrifice herself to the King Lo-Melkhiin who has murdered 300 wives in order to protect her older, more beautiful sister from becoming his next victim was which heart breaking all in the first 20 pages. We also see a malevolent force or being behind the scenes that doesn’t want war or suffering it just takes what it wants, this can vary from a skill to a person.
As we approach the 1/4 mark in the novel we see our protagonist become Lo-Melkhiin’s wife and she faces him without fear because she knows that there is no fear in death because it comes to all in time. We also learn that the malevolent force behind the scenes is controlling Lo-Melkhiin in some way although we aren’t sure for what purpose or how at this point. I was surprised at this point that our protagonist still hadn’t been given a name, this could be because the novel is told in a first person perspective but I did find it odd she hadn’t even been called by name from her sister or other family, they just referred to her as daughter or sister. A week after being taken as Lo-Melkhiin’s bride she still lives because of the stories of her home and family she tells him each night but during the day strange things happen she hears voices on the wind and sees visions at a spindle which really highlighted the fantasy elements of the novel.
As we cross the 1/4 mark in the novel our protagonist feels her time of death is drawing in close and yet she doesn’t fear it, we also learn that the force controlling Lo-Melkhiin kills his wives for two reasons; to steal their life as it give it power and to torment Lo-Melkhiin and his fragile human emotions. We also have to consider the strange “magic” passing back and forth between her and Lo-Melkhiin and maybe this could be a reason for living this long although some of the previous girls lived up to 30 days.
As we approach the half way mark in the novel we see our protagonist try to find out more about the world she is living in and she realizes she actually knows very little of the world beyond her father’s tents. We also learn that the force controlling Lo-Melkhiin has been trying to kill the protagonist since her first night but his power doesn’t affect her in any way making her a very unique and special person that he considers his queen. We also learn that the real Lo-Melkhiin is still inside his head fighting the force with no effect. Although I have a feeling that our protagonist is the key to saving the real Lo-Melkhiin and destroying the dark force controlling him. We see her developed her visions to keep an eye on her family especially her sister although she doesn’t fully understand what these visions mean. Although we do see that the vision can be given form enough to injure people which frightens her and others around her.
As we cross into the second half of the novel we see more fantasy elements entering the novel as well as more of a relationship developing between the protagonist and Lo-Melkhiin. We also see the protagonist harness her powers in order to save Lo-Melkhiin’s life after an accident in the desert that she most likely caused and although she knows the demon hides in Lo-Melkhiin’s mind she lets them both live despite having the power to destroy them both. The demon sees this as an opportunity to gain more power than it already has by getting Lo-Melkhiin to bend the heart of the protagonist to allow the demon to take her power and possibly her life. We also see that the palace Skeptics wish for the protagonist to produce an heir so peace can continue is Lo-Melkhiin dies but this is the one thing she refuses to do.
As we approach the 3/4 mark in the novel the demon through Lo-Melkhiin makes it clear it will find a way to kill her and take her power but she fights back in her own way constantly, making everything difficult for him. Even when their share a bed she has a plan in place to stop herself getting pregnant and giving Lo-Melkhiin’s advisers what they want. I loved how she retains her sense of self and her fiery spirit despite everything that has happened to her over the course of the novel. The demon seeks to control the protagonist and make her worthy in its eye of the title of Queen that would rule alongside it. It knows that every person has a weakness and hers’ is her family which he summons to the palace.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we see the protagonist being allowed to journey back to her home to witness her sister’s wedding which she is extremely happy about because it means she will be eternally safe from Lo-Melkhiin and the demon residing inside of him. The demon itself is both intrigued and angry by her as she continually refuses to give in to him and submit her power to his will as countless others have done before her. At this point I was wondering what the demon was planning and how the protagonist fitted into this and whether she would be strong enough to stop the demon once and for all or whether all of her fighting had be for nothing. As the group including Lo-Melkhiin’s mother head for the protagonist’s home she feels something isn’t quite right and it weighs heavy on her heart especially when she thinks of the strange pale man her sister is to marry but she can do nothing in the middle of the desert.
The final pages of this novel were amazing as we see the demon race coming to crush the desert rebellion and we see our protagonist uses her power to trap them all bare one. The demon inside Lo-Melkhiin she destroys and restores the king to himself. When the return to the palace Lo-Melkhiin offers to set him free but she feels the palace is her home now so they agree to marry properly and rule their country as equals which she quickly agrees to and for the first time in the novel all is right and peaceful in their land despite the numerous horrors that had taken place before them.
Overall, I really enjoyed A Thousand Nights but not as much as other re-tellings of 1001 Arabian Nights I have read like the Wrath and the Dawn. One thing I really liked about the novel was the fact the protagonist remained unnamed throughout the novel meaning instead of connecting to her we the readers become her in a sense allowing us to get a much better sense of the story and feel the emotions of the characters far stronger. I highly recommend this book to fans of re-tellings although I wouldn’t advise starting with this book as it has many quirks that could put new readers off.
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