“The world is made safe by a woman . . . but it is a very big world.
It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen saved her country from fire and blood – but now the kingdom of Kharuf is threatened by a demon gathering power. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with her final blow: a curse that will cost that princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life.
The threads of magic are tightly spun, binding princess and exiled spinners into a desperate quest to break the curse. But the web of power is dangerously tangled – and they may not see the true pattern until it is unspooled.
Kingdom of Sleep, by the critically acclaimed E. K. Johnston, is a spellbinding retelling of an enchanting fairy tale with the power of story at its heart.”
When I first finished this I didn’t know quite what to think as I absolutely adored the first book in this world the author wrote, A Thousand Nights and was really looking forward to seeing another story in this world. This book is set a long time after the events of A Thousand Nights with new characters and it is told in a way that is a little different from ATN as for starters nearly every present character is named whereas everyone who has read ATN knows that this was not the style in that book. I will also say I found the writing style in the first book a lot more immersive and beautiful than in this book which was still written in a lovely way, but it was a little disappointment to me to see this difference as the first books was a new favourite particularly for its mysterious air to the story and the stunning writing.
I will try not to go on too much about ATN or compare them too much but sometimes that isn’t possible and I can see many others on Goodreads did the same thing. Let me start with the things I liked which were the new setting, the interesting characters and how the plot was unpredictable for me. The author did a really good job of developing the relationships with the characters as their adventure and stories unfolded and I really liked seeing the dynamics changing between the characters when they were faced with different situations. This for me was one of the best things about this book where the characters, despite being written in a different way to the first novel, were easy to connect to, easy to envision and had personalities and qualities that made them fun to read about. I can’t say I have a favourite character as I liked them all for different reasons but I know this author certainly has talent and can totally understand why other reviewers have been calling her the Storyteller Queen too.
The world building for this book was also exquisite like in the first book and as much as I did like exploring the different settings here, I must say I did miss the wonderfully described desert setting from ATN as I connected more with that setting and thought it was really well brought to life, but that’s just my preference. You don’t have to read ATN to understand this book and even though there are some spoilers for the first book these stories can more or less be read as standalones. So why did I rate ATN so highly and this has been deducted a star? It’s a number of things really one being the ending which was intended to be magical and it was in a way but at the same time was quite unsatisfying for this style of writing and in comparison to the first book. I won’t give it away but I was disappointed the two main characters didn’t get the outcome I thought they deserved and I was left wanting to know what would happen to the Little Rose years down the line… It was obviously intended to be mysterious and touching but I found this a little on the frustrating side.
Also I will say that there wasn’t the same magical quality to this story than there was to the first which completely blew me away to say the least. Thinking about it, the way this book was told and the outcome, despite them both being by the same author and both being fairy tale retellings, made this book really different from everything in ATN and that in this case didn’t prove to be the best action in my opinion. I can see I’m not the only one who thought this and I can also see some people have said they cannot believe this is by the same author of ATN which so many people loved more than this second instalment. This wan’t a bad book at all, it had plenty of good likeable qualities but after the splendour of ATN I have to sadly admit this was mildly disappointing as I was hoping to find another favourite. I really wish the author would write more books of this type BUT to have more books set in this world would be beyond amazing…. I won’t get my hopes up, I’ll try not to 😛
Who I’d recommend this for
I would still like to recommend this to everyone who likes fantasy and if you liked the first book I still think you should read this despite the fact that these books are told in very different ways from one another. This book has plenty of redeeming qualities that make for a fun, quick read that can be enjoyed in a different way to ATN. My recommendation, impossible as it may seem, is to try not to compare the two books too much, try to go into this book like a completely new story and anticipate uniqueness from the former book as this is a companion, not exactly a sequel to A Thousand Nights 🙂