Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Thousand Nights

A Thousand Nights  by Johnston, E.K.
 Hyperion, 2015.  978-1-4847-2227-5.  $18.99.  295p.

The story of Lo-Melkhiin is a cross between 1001 Arabian nights and Beauty and the Beast.  

In order to save her sister, ­­­­­the protagonist, called Al-ammiyyah (Common,) volunteers to be the 301st bride of Lo-Melkhiin., a king who is consumed by a demon.   Each night she tells a story of her life in the desert, is not afraid of her husband, and is alive the next morning.  During her castle wanderings, she finds that she has magic of her own and vows to free the monster and save the king.

This is a Middle East tale.  The desert comes so alive, we can smell and taste it.  The inherent sexism of the tribes does not seem so misogynistic, but filled with the understanding, and constant power of women.  A-ammiyyah’s tales show the power of the women around her, even over men.  However, the book reads like a fairy tale- where the reader does not really become involved with the characters, and while it is a wonderfully told story, the reader doesn’t make you feel any of the characters’ lives are important in a human sense, as fairy tales are wont to do.

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