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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.
- ISBN-13: 9781484722275
- ISBN-10: 1484722272
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publish Date: October 2015
- Page Count: 336
- Reading Level: Ages 13-17
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-10-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Inspired by the Scheherazade story, Johnston (Prairie Fire) introduces a nameless 17-year-old heroine who takes her sister's place as wife to a murderous king. Thanks to her sister's prayerschanneled through an original magic system by which revered ancestors become "smallgods" through the worship of their descendantsshe acquires godlike powers while still living. As she struggles to survive her marriage and adapt to city life, she discovers that the king, Lo-Melkhiin, is possessed by a demon fascinated by her newfound powers. Johnston creates a memorable world populated by craft-obsessed demons who prey on humans by forcing them to create art even as it destroys them. The power of sisterhood, both literal and figurative, gives the protagonist the strength to stand between her people and total destruction. Though the ending is slightly rushed, the focus on female solidarity and worth in a male-dominated world, along with the ethical questions raised as the heroine's magic alters the course of her sister's life, make this a powerful read. Ages 14up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary. (Oct.)