Everyone knows about the story of Shahrazad and her wonderful tales of the Arabian nights. For one thousand and one nights, she entertained the mad Sultan with the adventures of Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad, genies, and many other mystical creatures. But what if Shahrazad was actually a boy desperate to save his sister's life? What kind of strange things would he do to make sure that he survives to tell the tale? This new twist on one of the greatest classical folk tales just might keep you awake for another One Thousand and One Nights.
I've always loved reading a classic with a twist. It's no wonder that I've fallen for One Thousand and One Nights. This manhwa takes the tale of Arabian Nights and creates a story filled with treachery and betrayal, hope and courage, and love and its power to heal.
The story follows a young sultan named Shahryar who proposes a terrifying ultimatum for all the young women called to his harem: if the girl is a virgin, she is to die by the hand of the sultan; if she is not, she is to die by the hand of a close male relative.
To Sehara's horror, his younger sister has been called to the sultan's harem. In order to save her, Sehara disguises himself and takes his sister's place. Of course, it is not long before Sehara is disovered and senteced to death.
However, Sehara doesn't throw himself on the floor and plead for mercy, like you'd expect him to. Instead, he turns to Shahryar and says, "I'd like to tell you a story."
And thus begins the story of One Thousand and One Nights.
The art is beautiful. The art is gorgeous. No two characters look the same, and every little piece of scenery is thoughfully and tactfully placed. The backgrounds? Why, they make you feel as if you, yourself, are in the sultan's palace.
A paragraph ago, I said that no two characters look the same. The same is true of their personalities. Shahryar, the sultan, is impulsive, moody and unstable. Sehara is like water: fluid and cool, calm and forgiving. We also come across variety of characters in Sehara's stories: a cold and ruthless princess, a witty prince, an Egyptian queen, a Roman conqueror, a Greek philospher, and many more.
Enjoyment & Overall:
At first, I planned to read a chapter or two and then get something to eat. An hour later, when my stomach growled, I realized that I was about to start the third volume. One Thousand and One Nights--its art, its plot, its characters-- it really got me hooked. Each of Sehara's stories were tragic and captivating and each had its own moral.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed One Thousand and One Nights. If you love a fresh take on a classic, or even if you're just looking for something to read, give One Thousand and One Nights a shot. I'm sure you'll enjoy it too.read more
One Thousand and One Nights is unlike any other manga (or manhwa) you'll ever read. Not only is it set in the ancient Near East (a highly unusual location for a manga), but it also has stories within stories. A friend unfamiliar with the Sheherazade storytelling plot format asked me why they couldn't just skip the stories and get on with the main plot. I told them, "well then it wouldn't be 1001 Nights!" The stories ARE the plot, and I can't stress this enough. Both plot progression and character development take place through the stories. And what beautiful stories they are, ranging from folk tales from around the world, to revisionist history, to one that the author made up himself. I know it sounds corny, but to me, it's like stepping into a beautiful dream!
The relationship between Shahryar and Sehara flowers in a very gradual, natural progression. It's very satisfying to watch it grow from homicidal distrust to real devotion. They are stark contrasts to each other - with Shahryar being passionate and impulsive, while Sehara is serene and wise - and so complement the other perfectly. It might be a bit formulaic, but it's a formula that works, and is done well. On top of that, the art in this series is absolutely gorgeous - some of the most beautiful I've seen! - so there's plenty of eye candy to stare at.
This is a very addicting series that flies by really fast. I so wish there was more of it, but I guess I'll just have to get my 1001 Nights fix by re-reading it over and over, lol. The re-reading value is pretty high, too. While the plot is straightforward enough, the symbolism in the stories gives it many layers, and it's fun drawing more and more connections between the characters/themes in the stories and the characters/situations in the overall plot. It celebrates the power of storytelling to transform ourselves and the world.read more
Do you enjoy one-shots, as well as longer series? Like shoujo or josei stories in a historical setting, and don't mind a bit of shounen-ai? Then you should probably take a look at 1001 Nights. Based off the format of the classic tale "Arabian Nights," the main story is set in the middle-east. Interspersed throughout are smaller tales, told by a storyteller.
Sehara is a feminine-looking young scholar, when his sister is summoned to spend the night with the sultan. Since the sultan kills each girl after a night with them, Sehara dresses as a woman and goes in her stead, hoping to give his sister time to escape. Once the ruse is discovered, Sehara is in danger of execution. In an attempt to plead for his life, he tells the sultan a story--with a moral. The sultan takes the hint, and allows him to live. Not only that, but Sehara is made the royal bard, with the job of telling stories to the sultan.
The sultan complains that most of the stories have sad endings (which they do). But Sehara uses his stories as a way of guiding the impulsive and often cruel young ruler. When he realizes that the sultan is carrying a lot of emotional baggage, he uses the stories as a sort of therapy to help heal his past wounds. The sultan comes to greatly depend on Sehara's stories and wisdom.
The stories are depicted like short one-shots, a chapter or two long. I would get very engrossed in each small story, forgetting that it was being told as part of the greater story. As one-shots, they are all quite good, and each could have been published separately. In the back of each volume, the author says a word or two about where he got the inspiration for the short stories from.
The setting is in the middle east, during the times of the Crusades. Eventually, that becomes an important part of the story. Some people have complained that the series doesn't depict the Islamic culture properly, and such. I'm no expert on that time or place, so I can't say how accurate the events and settings are. As a work of fiction, though, it's still interesting, and has a good atmosphere and internal consistency. (Well, actually, there is one story told that's from the present day, as if Sehara were telling a story about the distant future.)
The art is really quite good. It's well-suited to the genre. It's typical semi-realistic shoujo/josei, and similar to the style often used in shounen-ai mangas (or, in this case, manhwa). Actually, there isn't really much shounen-ai in the main story. There's one or two of the smaller stories that have it though (particularly the Socrates story).
The pacing for the story is good. Things get exciting at times. There is some occasional mature sexual content, but not a lot.
The art was good, and so was the story. I enjoyed the short stories interspersed throughout. The main characters were good, particularly Sehara and the sultan. Sehara, even though he seems weak physically, has a lot of inner strength, and nerve. How many people would dare tell a story that might anger someone who has the power to chop off their head at a moment's notice? The sultan starts out as an utter brat, but Sehara helps improve him through his "story therapy."
I think most shoujo/josei readers will enjoy this. read more
Ooh this is a difficult one to rate! First off, the art is lovely, full of absolutely stunningly beautiful men (especially as the volumes go on) - sadly the historical real-life characters on which some of the stories are based probably didn't look quite so stunning....
There are some gripping stories in the mix here too although this is a bit more uneven IMHO. You're not always that invested in the characters of the stories - kind of inevitable when they're of short duration - and I found myself a little impatient at times to get back to the main story.
Sehara is a very sweet character, but I found it really hard to get invested in the relationship between Sehara and the Sultan, Shahryar. This is after all someone who is chopping off a girl's head every night....and the reasoning/explanation eventually given for why he's gone off his trolley and started this mass killing spree does not seem nearly sufficient enough to redeem him/make him more sympathetic at all!
At one stage I was going to give up, but then would come along a story I really got into. I especially enjoyed an absurdly complicated story set in ancient China that's based on an historical text and would presumably be a lot more accessible to an audience more familiar with the main historical figures (Clamp's Gate 7 suffers from the same problem) - I spent some time backtracking to try and work out exactly who everyone was and how they fitted into the rather complicated timeline and feel like I have an enhanced knowledge of Chinese history as a result (albeit a rather madly constructed shoujo-manga alternative universe version, but hey).
So overall it kind of annoyed me in parts, kind of lost me in parts, but then gave me a huge amount of enjoyment in parts - one of *those* kinds of manga/manhwa!read more