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A Thousand Nights

A Thousand Nights

I love a good young adult fantasy novel (see: the fact that my 14-year-old brother and I share books). A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston (marked for ages 12 & up) is a loose retelling of the Thousand and One Nights (otherwise known as Arabian Nights).  A long time ago I read some of the tales, and I remember being blown away by the women in the stories, like the slave girl that saves Ali Baba. And of course, being in awe of Scheherazade the storyteller, who tells a tale to her sister that lasts 1,001 nights so the king does not kill her.

Johnston takes a similar approach: the protagonist (an unnamed woman) is chosen as the new wife for a king. The first chapter begins "Lo-Melkhin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village looking for a wife. She that he chose of us would be a hero. She would give the others a life...."

This is not your Disney's Aladdin. 

This is filled with malicious desert spirits and a lot of magic. It was a quick read; as Kirkus Reviews puts it, "Detailed and quiet, beautifully written with a literary rhythm that evokes a sense of oral tale-telling, this unexpected fantasy should not be missed." Upon googling I learned it was a part of a series, but I'm not sure I'll continue reading.

Rating: ★★★★

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