Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Genre: Young adult (fantasy)
Publisher, Year: Bloomsbury, 2007
Other Works: The Goose Girl, Austenland
Rating: A or Great Read
Challenge: Fairy Tales, Library
Premise: Dashti, a young lady's maid, is locked away in a tower with her mistress for seven years. But when hunger and outside dangers threaten their safety, Dashti must find a way to survive.

With this book, I am officially in love with Shannon Hale--platonically of course. =) I can’t exaggerate with her books. This is the third one I’ve read, and it once again exceeded my expectations: the lyrical language, sweeping descriptions, lively characters. I just can’t get enough.

This one is yet another fairy tale re-telling, since I have a really hard time getting away from those lately. They are just too much fun. The fairy tale Hale wrote about in this book is a rather obscure one called Maid Maleen. So, it was in effect like reading a regular novel in some ways because I wasn’t at all familiar with the fairy tale, but it still had all those great qualities that fairy tales have: intrigue, mistaken identity, adventure, and, of course, getting the girl. +/-

Dashti is a lady’s maid and a mucker, she knows how to sing away pain. She works for a princess, Saren, who has been sentenced to be imprisoned in a tower for seven years because she wouldn’t marry the man her father picked for her, the evil Lord Khasar. Saren is a shrinking violet and becomes more reclusive from this cruel treatment. It is up to Dashti, who will also be imprisoned with her lady, to take care of Saren and, eventually, to find a way out. Once the two girls have broken free, however, their elation comes crashing down when they find the world they left has changed beyond recognition.

Hale’s created another cast of unforgettable characters. Dashti is a sweet and accepting girl; she tries to do the right thing though her life is full of conflict, to which her culture gives no right answer. And the adoration induced by Tegus, a khan with a cool smile and simple laugh, is matched by the opposite feeling in Lord Khasar. Hale takes the reader to the brink, showing how the devotion, integrity, and courage of one woman can become a tipping point. Overall a winner in my estimation: compelling story, memorable characters, and a dash of mystery. A great page-turner.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I've got a 15yo daughter; sounds like an author I need to get her introduced to.