There are monsters in the desert. They came from the sea and fought with man, but now they wait, picking off their victims one at a time until they see fit to rage against the world of man once more.
As Lo-Melkhiin rides the storm into Her (there are no names in the book except for Lo-Melkhiin) village, She knows that he is coming to claim a new bride and her beautiful sister will most likely be his pick. Lo-Melkhiin has had three hundred brides already, and each one has met a swift death.
Without a second thought, She makes it so there is no other choice but to pick Her as his bride. She makes a solemn vow that her sister will not become a victim to Lo-Melkhiin, but little does she realize, her sister makes just as strong of a vow to keep her alive.
When Lo-Melkhiin takes her back to his palace, and the wedding takes place, she is certain that death is coming. However, when Lo-Melkhiin comes to her that night, she tells him stories of her strong sister, who she loves more than anyone, and surprisingly she lives to see the morning. Days and nights pass, and Lo-Melkhiin continues to come for her stories. A strange sort of magic exists between the two of them, and while she doesn’t quite understand it, she knows it’s what’s keeping her alive.
When the nights number higher and higher, a hope begins to persist that maybe she won’t be like the brides before. Maybe, just maybe, she is the answer to the fears of the people. Within her is the power to free not only the world from Lo-Melkhiin’s rage, but even Lo-Melkhiin himself.
E.K. Johnston has taken the tale A Thousand and One Nights and turned it into her own. She takes great detail in describing the setting and world that the protagonist lives in. Right down to the foods on the dishes and the feeling of the cloth in her hands. Most brilliantly though, is that this is a novel about the power of women. The strength that women have inside of them, even when hope looks lost, and the strength of the relationships that women have with each other. Johnston makes a point to show how vital the women are to the world and each other. Without them, the monsters of the desert would have long ago wiped the world clean.