Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: 22nd of October 2015
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife.
When Lo-Melkhiin - a formidable king - arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice - leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man. But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king ...if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.
What I Have to Say
I don't know much about the story that this is based on, but this didn't read like it was trying to fit into the footsteps of another story. It read as a fresh. beautifully lyrically written piece, showing the importance of love, family and faith. The main character sacrifices herself for her sister at the start and remains loyal to her throughout, while the sister in turn keeps her faith in her and does what she can to help.
The setting of the story was beautifully written. I enjoyed the rich descriptions of desert life, both in the desert Wadi and the King's Qasr. For me, it added to the fairy-tale quality of the reading, even though it was and in a lot of ways still is based on a real place. I don't know how much was fabricated and how much was based on research, but it sounded like a really vibrant and interesting culture.
The magic was wonderful as well. Again, it had that same fairy-tale quality, the idea that stories become truth if enough people believe in them, how a person can be elevated to the level of a god simply by people putting their faith in them. But it did just feel a little contrived, but in the way that a lot of fairy-tales feel this way.
This is a must read this year for any fairy-tale fans.