Retellings

A Thousand Nights

A Thousand Nights by E.K Johnston

Where did I get it? I bought it

a-thousand-nights-e-k-johnstonSummary: 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.

My Thoughts:

*This review contains a few spoilers*

This is one of the most disappointing books that I have read this year. I started A Thousand Nights with high expectations especially after reading The Wrath and The Dawn (another A Thousand and One Nights re-telling) which I adored, but I ended up putting this book down and then forcing myself to pick it back up again because I just couldn’t get into the story.

The characters. I found reading about them and their individual problems extremely boring. there was an original twist to this book concerning Lo-Melkhiin  ( Clue-it has something to do with aliens) that was different but still not enough to grab my attention and keep it.

The writing. There was just something about the style of the writing that did not appeal to me at all and the story just dragged on because of it, with me trying hard to keep wanting to reading on.

The romance.  I wasn’t really invested in Lo-Melkhiin and Schehrazade’s relationship and and for me it didn’t seem plausible especially since Lo-Melkhiin spent pretty much the book inhabited by and evil creature of sorts and it was only really the last two pages that he could fully be himself and yet he still wanted to re-marry Schehrazade.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book and probably wouldn’t recommend reading this novel. However…. all moaning aside, can we please take a minute to appreciate the beauty of this cover.

Rating: 1/5

Similar Books Based on their Blurbs

I was looking over a few of my books the other day when I noticed that some of them shared a recurring theme. Of these 4 books I couldn’t help but compare them and see what I liked and disliked from each. Although these books were similar in summary once I had read them they were nothing alike.

My first two books were:

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The Wrath and The Dawn                and…                                                A Thousand Nights

 

Summary for The Wrath and The Dawn:

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Summary for A Thousand Nights:

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.

Admittedly, these two novels are both retellings of the same Arabian tale, however only the initial outline of the plot was the same. While I absolutely adored The Wrath and The Dawn, I didn’t really enjoy A Thousand Nights. I couldn’t immerse myself in the latter book while for the former I couldn’t put the novel down. The main differences I noticed were that of both the murderous kings as well as our protagonists. The story between Shahrzad and Khalid was beautiful and full of sharp wit and whereas the relationship between Lo-Melkhiin and Scheherazade was  slow and slightly boring, to the point that I found it hard to want to read on.

The second two novels I found similar based on their blurbs were:

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Saint Anything                      and….                          My Life Next Door

Summary for Saint Anything:

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

 

Summary for My Life Next Door:

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Both of these books feature female protagonists with unaffectionate parents. There were certain similarities I picked up from this book but there were major differences too, that made both stories different.

The similarities:

  • Both girls meet families that are loving and warm and that accept them openly
  • Within each family there is a love interest
  • They both learn to stand up for themselves
  • Both stories have a car accident in them

The differences:

  • The families are unique
  • The general direction of the plot is different
  • The side characters/ friends and their individual stories differ greatly
  • The family dynamic of our protagonists as well as their respective parent(s) are different

I preferred My Life Next Door to Saint Anything, however that may have been because it had a slightly more contemporary fell to it. Both novels were well written and I was involved in each plot.

Have you read any similar books? What are they? What were their differences/ similarities?