Reviewed by Jessica Cave for TeensReadToo.com
Shannon Hale's BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS is a riveting read that allows you to see into the soul of a young girl.
Angry at her for not marrying the ruler of a nearby kingdom, Lady Saren's father locks her and her maid in a tower. He plans to leave them there for seven years. It is Dashti, the maid's, responsibility to keep them fed and in good condition, no matter how hot or how cold it may be.
With evil lords, unresponsive guards, and dreamy suitors knocking on their tiny window on a daily basis, they have enough views of outside life to keep living through to the next day. But when all signs of outside human life suddenly vanish, they find themselves in a race against time to save the eight realms and their own lives.
I started and ended this book in a single day (despite having household tasks, homework, and a to-do list longer than it's ever been before). I was caught up in the world of Dashti and her dear Lady Saren. Their tale brought me to tears and made me laugh.
This novel was definitely an enjoyable read that kept me turning pages as fast as I could.
This story is divided into 2 parts: Dashti and Saren's time in the tower and the time after they leave the tower. It was really difficult for me to stay interested in the first part. Based on other reviews, I decided to give it at least 100 pages and I'm glad I did. I found the second part to be much better than the first. It's in the category of y-a fiction and is perfect for that audience. Adults might find it juvenile at times. All told it was a good story.
This is an excellent story! The characters are captivating. This is a remake of a classic Brothers Grimm Fairytale.
Another excellent fairy tale retelling by Shannon Hale! This one is based on the Grimms "Maid Maleen", which I had never heard of, but that did not detract one bit from my enjoyment. Dashti, an orphan "mucker" or healer girl from the Mongolian steppes, goes to the city to make a living after her mother dies. She end up a ladies' maid to the Lord's daughter and stays with her mistress when she is condemned to be bricked up in a tower for 7 years for disobeying her father's command to marry a cruel neighboring lord. They eventually escape and must find their way through a war-ravaged land. Hale's stories are full of magical realism and adventure, and have a way of sweeping you up into strange and beautiful lands full of fascinating people.
As much as I enjoyed the story, I also have to give the book a few extra brownie points for its unique presentation. It's written as a journal from the first person perspective of the main character, which you might not think is so out of the ordinary at first. The unique thing about this story, though, is that the physical book journeys with the main character through her ordeals, and plays a major role in how the story turns out, including being entered as evidence in a court trial. I appreciate the nuance.