I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
I can’t resist beautifully written books, full of gorgeous imagery that I’m happy to delve into for a good few hours, and A Thousand Nights definitely delivered. I feel like a lot of the hype for this book was due to the comparisons to fellow Arabian Nights retelling, The Wraith and the Dawn, which I haven’t yet read. From what I can gather though, the two are very different. A Thousand Nights is not a love story. There is a romance in it, but it is so much more. It’s a book about faith and spirituality, about sisterly love and how one sister can save the other. Beautiful and exquisite, this is a book I could reread over and over again.
Lo-Melkhiin is portrayed as a bad man, a ruler who takes a different wife each night and murders them all before sunrise. Our heroine refuses to let her sister follow the same fate, and takes her place as Lo-Melkhiin’s new bride, knowing what the sacrifice means, knowing that her death is imminent, but not caring because it means her sister will be safe. Talk about a selfless act of love. I love that the main theme of A Thousand Nights, for me at least, was the bond that the two sisters had, and how it carried on through the book.
I also loved how Lo-Melkhiin was shown to be a good man by his mother, who had watched her son change and become the monster he currently was, and how it helped the heroine save the day, as it were.
Seriously, just pick up a copy of A Thousand Nights and read it. Thank me later.