A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston vs. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
2.5/5 vs. 4/5
I received a copy of A Thousand Nighst as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I received a copy of The Wrath and The Dawn as part of my subscription to Uppercase Box.
A Thousand Nights
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.
The Wrath and the Dawn
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
Both of these novels were retellings of 1001 Nights and set in the middle east. I haven’t seen many popular YA novels set there are revolving around middle eastern characters and culture so that was refreshing. The language and writing style was beautiful for both novels. I loved the setting and the gorgeous descriptions of middle eastern food, clothes, surroundings.
I thought A Thousand Nights was decent though I though a lot of the story elements and mythology were under developed. I was excited to read about magic, mythological creatures, and the philosophical and scholarly ponderings the book promised but it felt they were haphazardly thrown in. However, I couldn’t identify with the characters, and the lack of names did not help this fact. What I was most disappointed about was that the main character (again, she does not have a name) did not tell stories in the novel! Instead they were hinted at, or took the form of predictions in her magical weaving.
The Wrath and the Dawn held my interest much more. Ahdieh expertly weaved magic, curses and legends into a compelling story. Shahrzad was an excellent character; Headstrong and with a quick wit that helped her to find a way to make it through each night. I adored her storytelling. It was hard for me to grasp who was who with the middle eastern names and terms of endearment at the beginning so I was glad when I realized there was a glossary. There was also a map, which you all know I loveeee. I cant wait for the next one. I read The Wrath and the Dawn a few books ahead of A Thousand Nights. I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn, so that was still fresh in my mind, contributing to my thought that A Thousand Nights was lacking since the novels are so similar in plot and setting.
- Amazing setting and descriptions of culture in both
- Beautiful language and imagery in both
- Relatable and interesting characters in The Wrath and the Dawn
- A greatly developed world and mythology in The Wrath and the Dawn
The Not So Good
- Hard to identify with the Characters in A Thousand Nights
- Underdeveloped world and mythology in A Thousand Nights
I would definitely choose The Wrath and the Dawn in a head to head of captivating retellings of 1001 Nights. Highly recommended.
A Thousand Nights
The Wrath and the Dawn