Book Review of E.K. Johnston's novel A Thousand Nights

Read more about E.K. Johnston's novel A Thousand Nights!

a book review written by Molly Looby



“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.”


If I had to sum up A Thousand Nights in one word, that word would be ‘gentle’. The sentences were very melodic and relaxing. Sometimes I thought that clashed with the dangerous situation the protagonist was in, but other times I thought it was a good way to portray her. This book really did have me both liking it and disliking it all at once. Whether it was working for me or not in any particular chapter didn’t seem to matter, as the more I read, the more I couldn’t put it down. It was like the book was a snake charmer, and I was the snake.


The description is beautiful, but I got tired of it after a while. I’m a dialogue girl. I live for it in stories. Dialogue can make or break a book for me, and unfortunately, A Thousand Nights is lacking dialogue. I was craving it. Because of this, I felt the beginning was quite slow. There was a lot of description about the desert—which I can’t criticise because it was beautiful—and I just wanted the story to get on and start moving.


I found it interesting that only a handful of characters had names, and all the characters who did have names were men. For me, this added a layer of reality to the story. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of women the entire way through. They were certainly not as ‘important’ as far as the men were concerned, but as the book progressed, it slowly revealed the power of women in such subtle ways you might miss it. It was perfect. Also, the protagonist herself goes along with what’s expected of her as a woman, but her narration lets you know that she would stand up to the system if she felt it necessary. I thought this was a very powerful way to tell the story. I can’t fault that.


My biggest disappointment was certainly the ending. It felt like there was a massive build up, and then it was all over. I sort of sat there blinking at the pages, trying to make more words appear. I couldn’t help but think, where’s the rest of it?


The book slowly bewitched my heart as I read, without me even realising. A bizarre mix of dislike and binge-reading had my mind coming around to the story. I can conclude that I did enjoy parts of it. I think it’s fair to say that this book wasn’t to my style taste, and that’s why I had issues. The whole book was subtle, and I admire that, but I prefer my books loud! But there’s no arguing with E.K. Johnston’s craft. The book is gorgeous.




      3 out of 5




A big thank you to Molly Looby for writing this review and Sanguine for designing the banner!

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