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. But back 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 in its place.
Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous place 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 sets and rises, 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. The words she speaks to him every night are given strange life of their own. She makes things appear. 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.
This book was an incredible disappointment for me. I was uber-excited about A Thousand Nights when it first came out, because HELLO FABULOUS RETELLING! Then the first reviews started coming in, and I realised I may just have set my expectations a tad too high… and just like that my interest in the book fizzled away and I ended up putting off reading it for so long. Then, recently I read The Wrath and the Dawn and boy, did I L O V E that!! So I thought to myself, well, let’s attempt A Thousand Nights too and maybe I’ll enjoy it as well. I didn’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book per se. The writing itself is actually pretty cool, and the author has a fabulous way of weaving words together to give life to the scene. At times, it felt like I was reading a work of poetry, not a novel and that is most certainly something I loved about this book.
Still, it wasn’t enough. The biggest problem with it, for me, is that most of the time I was just so incredibly bored. I was seriously tempted to give up, but I find DNFing a book seriously challenging, so I pressed on until the end even though I found it increasingly difficult. I just couldn’t help but feeling like nothing was really happening, and then everything happened in the last 10% of the book… and it was just too little, too late.
Also, the characters. For starters, no one (except for Lo-Melkhiin) had names. I don’t really get why this is, though I’m sure the author had a perfectly valid reason for this. Granted, it’s a very bold choice, but I found it immensely annoying. I want to get attached to characters, and not having a name to put to them just made me feel seriously detached. Also, it felt like they had no personality at all. Aside from the main character, who at times displayed something that vaguely resembled an individuality, the other characters were just spots on the background, doing things for no real reason. And to top it all off, I was definitely not a fan of the romance: it felt forced and at times nonsensical, and that makes it a definite no-no for me.
Overall, this book was a real disappointment for me. It had a lot of potential, both in relation to the subject matter and the author’s abilities, and it just wasted it all with a mediocre rendering. I really don’t think I’ll read the second book in the series, even though I would gladly give the author a second chance.