A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
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.
Publishes in US: October 6th 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: ya fantasty
Source: Disney via Netgalley
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free
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I wanted to read A Thousand Nights because the premise of being a good storyteller being the thing that helps her to survive in the wake of thousands of dead wives at the hands of Lo-Melkhiin. The sound of the main character putting her life up as tribute rather than the otherwise obvious choice of her beautiful sister shows me a lot about her priorities, and I love when family is one of the driving forces behind the development. Also, the sister left behind weaving the subtle magic trying to help her sister who volunteered to go in her place at home only strengthened that.
The desert setting was fascinating. I am not sure that I have read anything quite like it. But living surrounded by sand sets up a very different way of life than being in a more normal setting of country or city. The ways of survival are so different as well as the feel of the middle east with family formation being different (multiple spouses, the importance of sons and carrying on family name).
I loved the strength of the main character, as well as her intelligence. She realized so much about LoMelkhiin and the qasr. She made friends wherever she went although at first everyone seemed to avoid her, because I am sure they got attached to other wives only for them to die as well. But her mysterious power is a match for LoMelkhiin. She is the only one that realized and could confirm that he had been possessed by a powerful being, but she and his mom believed that there was still a part of the original LoMelkhiin still in there, fighting against.
I was captivated by the story, but it wasn't one that I could get fully immersed in because I would want to stop and think.
I like that romance wasn't really the forefront. She wanted to meet the real LoMelkhiin, but she def didn't love the demon that had taken over. It is more about family, friendship, politics to some extent, and magic.
I thought that is was going to be a cliffie ending for sure, but I love how it was wrapped up. The ending surprised me in a good way, because I wasn't sure how it was going to possibly wrap everything up, but it did, and I was happy with it.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you put yourself up to probably die in place of a sibling?