Author: E.K. Johnston
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pre-order this book: Amazon (UK) / Amazon (US) / Book Depository
Releases: 22nd October 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 peace, 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 in 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.
This book, with it's wonderfully beautiful purple cover, is an exquisitely written retelling of Arabian Nights. The retelling part meant very little to me, considering the fact I didn't know the main story of Arabian Nights. My knowledge of that went as far as what I learnt from watching Aladdin as a child. I looked up the story after finishing the book, which now seems like it would have been better to do before I read the book - also helped understand the title, as Arabian Nights is also known as One Thousand and One Nights. You definitely don't need to know the story of Shahryar and Scheherazade to enjoy this story, as they are different in so many ways. But it did help me understand the story and appreciate this story more.
The back of my proof copy came with these words written on the back:
The most dangerous love story ever told.
Before the book arrived, I hadn't been expecting a love story after reading the synopsis for the book. Seeing those words written on the back had me thinking that I had been wrong, and that this was going to be more love story than anything else. It was not. That really threw me off and kept doing so the longer the book went on without there even being one little whiff of a love story. It's not a bad thing, in fact it makes a nice change to read a YA book that doesn't contain a romance storyline taking over the plot. It did mean that I was completely confused as to why they decided to print that on the back of the book.