Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment. As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.

I honestly thought I'd hate this book, purely because it's based on a fairy tale (Maid Maleen by The Brothers Grimm). Instead, I really enjoyed it, and ended up reading it in one go. It was very unusual, yet strangely compelling.

I loved the characters, the diary format, the illustrations and the unexpected twist towards the end. Looking back, I can see that there were a few hints to the twist, but none obvious enough to make me guess the ending.

Dashti was a brilliant narrator, and I enjoyed every minute of her recollections. She was brave, loyal, intelligent, and a true heroine in every sense of the word. Lady Saren, on the other hand, took me a while to warm to. I found her whiny and selfish, and couldn't understand Dashti's dedication to her. By the end of the book, I liked Saren, and sympathised with her situation. She redeems herself in the final few pages, and, thanks largely to Dashti, gains confidence and a place in the world. I also loved khan Tegus, the lead male character. He was well written and endearing, and his relationship with Dashti was sweet and honest.

Shannon Hale has a lovely writing style, and it's one that keeps you reading straight through to the end. The illustrations were also a nice touch, and added a fairy tale element to the book.

The Book of a Thousand Days was very different to anything I've read before, and was a nice change. I may read more of Shannon Hale's books in the future, and would like to thank her for getting me over my aversion to fairy tales. They're not as bad as I thought!

9 comments:

Chicklish said...

Really interesting review. It does sound like something a bit different. I'm about to post a review of this on our site too, by another reviewer, and I think she had a very similar reaction to yours!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I nearly bought this at the weekend but restrained myself. It has such a pretty cover!

H said...

I felt the same about this book. Apart from that I do read fairy tales. You should try the Goose Girl, seriously, it's better than Book of a thousand days.

Janssen said...

I really think her other books are better that this one. Goose Girl is TERRIFIC.

The Not So Closet Geeks said...

Shannon Hale one of the best fairy tale tellers out there. Definitely check of The Goose Girl.

Ladytink_534 said...

I just love this cover. I've been meaning to read something by this author for awhile now.

Thao said...

Something tells me I'll enjoy this books. It looks nice too, btw

Bookworm said...

I love fairy tale-retells, but I didn't fully enjoy this one, PRINCESS ACADEMY was so, so much better but I still found this one to be exciting! I love the new cover, though--so much more interesting and pretty than the old one!

Erin said...

Shannon Hale is one of my favorite authors, if not very favorite. All her books area amazing, I hope you pick up more. :)