I’m such a fan of Arabian folklore. A GARGANTUANLY PASSIONATE FAN, I TELL YOU! So you can imagine how much I’m wailing because I didn’t enjoy A Thousand Nights. It looks so beautiful (!!) and it’s a retelling of Shahrazad (!) and I adored The Wrath and the Dawn earlier this year — so what could go wrong?!? Just that A Thousand Nights put me to sleep.
I am this adorable fluffy duckling:
\\ Also my mum is totally enamoured with peacocks which is GREAT. I sneaked around the house photographing the book with all peacock things. Thank you, Mum. Your collections are highly useful. //
- It focuses on “beautiful writing” instead of on plot or character development. I think it was attempting the traditional, ethereal folklore style. But it got tedious.
- The description was all like “my heart fluttered like an ethereal bumblebee trapped in a purple glass goblet of hope and destruction” which I found endlessly irritating. Purple prose doesn’t agree with me.
- NO ONE HAD NAMES. Why?!? Why no names?! Only the crazy wife-killing dude, Lo-Melkhiin, (which sounds like a sneeze) had a name. Everyone else was “my sister” or “father of my heart” or “my father’s father’s father”. Ah….why?
- The characters had no personality. Zlich. They were just people doing all the things and I felt nothing for them.
- Speaking of which…it was very slow. The narrator weaved cloth, and wandered around gardens, and discussed religion with some dude, and occasionally did magical things because why not…and that was IT. I need more! I need to read books where things go down. ANYTHING, REALLY.
But I do appreciate that it’s a book of beautifulness. I love the Persian culture and it was defintely a different take on the A Thousand and One Nights folklore. There’s no tell-me-a-story-or-I’ll-kill-you. But the narrator dreams things into existence, which was interesting! It was more about magic and demons than stories and forbidden love. I find that a little disappointing BUT STILL! I appreciate the book took a unique twist! And I did love the sisterly emphasis instead of romance (sisters! huzzah!).
I just wish I hadn’t wanted to nap the whole time. Consider me a sad pot of dahl with no naan bread.
THANK YOU TO PAN MACMILLAN FOR THE REVIEW-COPY! A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston was published September, 2015.
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife. When Lo-Melkhiin – a formidable king – arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice – leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man. But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king …if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.
Set against a harsh desert backdrop, A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston is an evocative tale of love, mystery and magic that would not feel out of place if Scheherazade herself were telling it. And perhaps she is…