Original Title: A Thousand Nights
Year Published: 2015
Published by: Disney-Hyperion (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Number of Pages: 336
First Sentence: “We do not know why we came from the sea to this hard and dusty earth, but we know that we are better than it.”
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
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.
To be honest, I’m not sure where to start. This book was so fantastic and it is the first book since I finished Generation Kill that made me feel like my life had changed. It literally took my breath away. But I will try to put down in words what I found so captivating and amazing about this book.
It is beautifully written with a prose that dances off the pages. It blankets you in warmth and paints this incredible picture that is this story. You could probably open any page in this book and find a quote that will have a profound meaning. It sings to you the story of how belief and love can change the world even when it seems like nothing can.
The characters then. We only get one name, that of Lo-Melkhiin, but we don’t need names to fall in love with these characters. Our main protagonist, a young girl, makes sure that Lo-Melkhiin chooses her over her sister when he comes to their village looking for another wife. This selfless act is what sets the incredible events of this book into action. She knows that she will most likely die, but she isn’t afraid. She has saved her sister and that is enough for her. How incredible is that? This selfless act which is also a clear act of defiance also sparks something within her, something that will give her the power to fight the darkness that is Lo-Melkhiin.
I loved how strong the women are in this book but also how equal they are to the men. They all have important roles to play in this story which was very refreshing.
This book is telling us that through acts of kindness and love we can conquer everything and make the world a better place. No man is born evil, but some will be seduced by the darkness of this world. The only way to save them is by showing them all the good things in this world.
Do I recommend it?
Oh yes! This is a fantastic book that everyone should read.