Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blog Tour: A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston
Review + Giveaway

Blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours
See below or HERE for full schedule 

A Thousand Nights
by E.K. Johnston
Read: August 30 - September 4, 2015
Published:  October 6, 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Source: NetGalley (Thank you, Disney!)
Category: YA, retelling, fantasy, Middle East
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound | iBooks

Book Description: 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.

A Thousand Nights features many elements that I love. It has a historical feel with a rich setting, strong characters, and culture and customs that fascinated me. The location and time period are not named, but it has Middle Eastern influences that feel authentic, though I don't know enough to make any real statement on that. 

But I think what I enjoyed most about A Thousand Nights is how much this book surprised me, and that's what I wanted to talk about in five points:

1) This book doesn't have a romance. I don't need romance be the central element in a story, in fact, I like when it's a subtle side theme. But no romance at all? I usually avoid those books. And yet, 95% of A Thousand Nights is completely devoid of any sort of romance. I thought that would be a concession I'd have to make to enjoy this, but I actually ended up loving that aspect of the book. It allowed me to focus on the heroine's other relationships much more. 

2) This book does have a love story. But it's not in the way you might think. It is a love story between sisters. The bond between the narrator and her sister is the strongest and most important element in the book. These two characters are separated for most of the story, but their devotion to each other is a tangible, supernatural force. 

3) This book is about the power of women in a society ruled by men. Women in the narrator's world do not have a lot of power. The narrator herself is taken to be married to a man who has killed hundreds of wives before her. Although she comes from a loving family, it is her father who is in charge. Also, none of the women in this book are named, including the narrator. They are all labeled by what they do or how they relate to the narrator (my sister, mother etc.). But what I love is that as this story progresses we see those truths challenged again and again as the narrator and the other women prove that they have tremendous power, though it shows up in ways that are often overlooked.

4) This book doesn't appear to have a much of a plot, but the story is always moving forward. Instead of a linear, plot motivated tale, A Thousand Nights unfolds in layers. As we follow the narrator into her new world as wife of Lo-Melkiin, experiencing her daily life along with her, we watch her slowly discover her own strength and that of the women in her world. It is mostly at the beginning and the end that Things Happen. But I was riveted to this book all the way through, and the way it unfolds matches the theme that the most powerful force may be the one overlooked. 

5) The epilogue changed how I saw this story. First, I did think the big ending went incredibly quickly after the slow, more layered build-up though the book. I wanted more of the explosive part of the story. But that is a minor quibble. Especially when it was followed by an exceptional final chapter that unwrapped a new layer, and further altered the way I saw this retelling of the thousand nights. 

A note of comparison: I don't want to spend this review comparing A Thousand Nights to other books, but I'm going to mention it because this theme is becoming a popular one in YA. Although the setup makes this book sound very similar to The Wrath and the Dawn, and there are some similarities in the way the heroines becomes married to the wife-murdering ruler, I thought this retelling was actually quite different. I loved both books, though for different reasons, and I don't think it's helpful to either of them to judge them in comparison.

In Conclusion
A Thousand Nights is a rich and layered retelling of a classic legend about a woman who saves her world. I implore you not to overlook this tale. Even the cover has far more detail and meaning that I saw at first. 

Love Triangle Factor: None (very little romance)
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 


About the Author
E.K. Johnston had several jobs and one vocation before she became a published writer. If she’s learned anything, it’s that things turn out weird sometimes, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Well, that and how to muscle through awkward fanfic because it’s about a pairing she likes.
You can follow Kate on Twitter (@ek_johnston) to learn more about Alderaanian political theory than you really need to know, or on Tumblr (ekjohnston) if you're just here for pretty pictures.
E.K. Johnston is represented by Adams Literary


Tour Schedule

Week One:
9/28/2015The Bibliophile ChroniclesInterview
9/29/2015Love is not a triangleReview
9/30/2015Wishful EndingsGuest Post
10/1/2015Such a Novel IdeaReview
10/2/2015Once Upon a TwilightInterview

Week Two:
10/5/2015Curling Up With A Good BookReview
10/6/2015Bookhounds yaGuest Post
10/8/2015The Book Cellar- Interview
10/9/2015Mundie MomsReview



3 winners will receive a finished copy of A Thousand Nights. 

Giveaway is for US residents only (Sorry, international readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE 


  1. I'm glad you added that note in about The Wrath and the Dawn because I loooved it and wasn't sure if I'd be able to enjoy this one, too, but now I'm definitely going to be picking this up. I love a book that focuses on female strength and love stories beyond those of the romantic sense, so this is definitely up my alley. Thanks for such a helpful and beautifully written review, Lauren! :)

  2. Wonderful review, Lauren! I really enjoyed this story. The writing is simple, yet gorgeous and I agree about the strong bond of sisters being such a wonderful addition to it. I've yet to read The Wraith and the Dawn and dislike comparisons, for the most part, yet I'm so glad you mentioned the differences for new readers to either/or both. I hope more readers discover this gem :)

  3. Stunning post Lauren :D So glad you liked this book. <3 Gorgeous review, as always. I'm so curious about this one. You make it seem amazing :) But ugh. No romance? That is so depressing for me, lol. But might still read it one day :) Thank you for sharing about it lovely girl. <3

  4. The tittle and the cover are stunning.

  5. Thanks for the giveaway. This story sounds exciting and the cover is beautiful. :)

  6. I have read Arabian nights so many times! Def interested to see how this author retold the tail!
    Mary G Loki

  7. Wow, I really enjoyed your review. This book sounds like one I would love.

  8. This looks really cool and I would love to win it.


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