Review: A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

21524446A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston
Genre: Retelling
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 336
Format: ARC E-book
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

First things first, this cover is absolutely gorgeous, if I could rate it for cover alone then A Thousand Nights would no doubt get 5 stars, but realistically, I just didn’t enjoy the story at all. Apparently, The Wrath and the Dawn is a better retelling of the 1001 nights story, so I’ll be sure to read that one soon!

One of the odd things about this book was that none of the characters had names. Considering this received a lot of complaints on Goodreads, I’m not entirely sure why the author made the executive decision. I’ve read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier where the female protagonist is unnamed but that has a clear purpose, unlike with A Thousand Nights where I really didn’t see the need to not give anyone a name. Even the pronouns took some getting used to. My personal favourite being ‘my father’s father’s father’, why could great grandfather not even be used? It was confusing, and definitely made me realise the power names have over characters.

I don’t know if it was because of the name thing, or just the impersonal writing style in general, but I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. I found the whole story rather laborious. The plot was incredibly slow paced and the main character spend the majority of her time on the spinning wheel or being ‘unafraid’ of the night. There were allusions to some sort of magical power that she had, but it was never really explained.

Interspersed throughout the story were passages in italics, which I think were supposed to represent whatever devil was inside Lo-Melkhiin, but because we barely ever saw his character anyway, I mostly skimmed them. The culture really aided the story and it was certainly an enriching read, as I haven’t read anything like it before – hopefully I know how to survive in the desert a little better now!

I think my disappointment with the novel lies mostly with my expectations. I thought I was going to get a magical mystery, but instead I got an extremely ambiguous tale about a man and woman with unexplained powers that the full potential of was never discovered. There was a strong sister relationship at least, which I would have to say was my favourite part of the story. Other than that, I can’t say I enjoyed it. There are a plethora of 5 stars reviews out there for this book, so maybe I just didn’t understand it.

3 thoughts on “Review: A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

  1. OMG! I was looking forward to read this book it’s sad that you didn’t liked it now I’m having my doubts whether to read it or not. BTW The wrath and the Dawn is a great book I hope you’ll like it. 🙂

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