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A Thousand Nights

by E. K. Johnston

Published by Hyperion, 2015
325 pages
ISBN: 978𢴒84722275

Age 13 and older

揕o-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village looking for a wife. Determined to save her older sister from being ruler Lo-Melkhiin抯 next victim, the narrator of this story makes sure she is the one Lo-Melkhiin chooses as his bride. Few have survived more than a short time, but she does, already in possession of magic Lo-Melkhiin cannot understand because it is rooted in love. Because of the young woman抯 sacrifice, her sister and other women in her village turn her into a living smallgod, and her power grows. In the qasr where Lo-Melkhiin lives, she bears the title of queen and becomes part of the warp and weft of daily life, forming bonds with other women, whose creativity and forbearance are the foundations of the kingdom, and making a few friends among men. Because she can see Lo-Melkhiin抯 past, she knows he wasn抰 always evil but returned from one of his trips to the desert possessed by a demon. She can also see the spot in the corner of his mind where she suspects the real Lo-Melkhiin remains. The voice of the demon occasionally speaks in this novel and his cruelty and contempt for the man he possesses, for women, for all humanity is palpable. But his arrogance blinds him to the young woman抯 strength and her power to create in E. K. Johnston抯 vivid tale set in the Pre-Islamic Middle East. Lush with detail, it is an original, strongly feminist offering.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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