Publisher: Disney Hyperion (2015)
eARC (336 pages)
Reading Challenges: 2015 Fairytale Retelling, Read 2015
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.
I knew I had to read this book as soon as I heard that it was a retelling of The Thousand and One Nights. On top of that, the cover is gorgeous! I really wanted to love this book, I truly did. However, I didn’t.
Lo-Melkhiin is the king who had over 300 wives by the time he arrives at our main character’s village. We never know her name, by the way. The only names we ever know are those of Lo-Melkhiin and two others. Anyway, he arrives at her village to find his next bride. Our main character takes her older sister’s place, dressing to draw Lo-Melkhiin’s attention so that she is chosen over her sister.
Her plan works flawlessly and she is chosen. Her sister promises to build an altar and pray to her as a smallgod while she still lives. Our narrator accepts this with gratitude, unaware of the impact it will have on the future.
We learn that our narrator survives her first night with Lo-Melkhiin though there are some strange lights jumping between their hands. We learn that Lo-Melkhiin has been possessed by a demon from the desert. We come to realize that he is unable to kill his new bride as he murdered his other wives.
As the story progresses we learn more about Lo-Melkhiin and his newest bride. One thing that sets her apart from the others is that she is not afraid of Lo-Melkhiin and she is not afraid of death. This is something that at first confuses Lo-Melkhiin as he tries to understand who his newest wife is.
The story started rather slowly. It seemed to take quite awhile before things got interesting. Then they dulled again before an interesting ending. There were parts that I really enjoyed and there were parts that really dragged. I wanted to finish the book, and I did, but I could not get as into the story as I wanted to.
I enjoyed the story but I didn’t feel invested in it. I didn’t know the narrator’s name or really any name but Lo-Melkhiin and two others. That kind of distracted me from the story. I couldn’t connect with our main character since I could only think of her as “she.” Maybe it was just me that I didn’t love this book. I’m sure there are people who will. However, this was just not the book for me.
- You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
- Fairytale Retelling Challenge
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley for
review consideration. This in no way affects my opinion of the title
nor the content of this review.