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Book of a Thousand Days

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When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of 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. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two s When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of 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. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two suitors--one welcome, the other decidedly less so--the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows. With Shannon Hale's lyrical language, this little-known classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.


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When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of 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. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two s When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of 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. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two suitors--one welcome, the other decidedly less so--the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows. With Shannon Hale's lyrical language, this little-known classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.

30 review for Book of a Thousand Days

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    This was so heartwarming and delightful and powerful and just wow. I loved it so much! I can't wait to read more of Shannon Hale's stuff now, knowing how her writing style is. More thoughts to come in a video review (I've decided that as of next month, rather than filming a monthly wrap up at the end, I will do mini batch reviews instead, that way I can go more into depth!) This was so heartwarming and delightful and powerful and just wow. I loved it so much! I can't wait to read more of Shannon Hale's stuff now, knowing how her writing style is. More thoughts to come in a video review (I've decided that as of next month, rather than filming a monthly wrap up at the end, I will do mini batch reviews instead, that way I can go more into depth!)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cara

    Do you guys know that feeling when you just have finished an astonishingly excellent book? You feel full of life and understanding. It's why as readers we come back and back again and hope this will be the book that gives us that exhilaration. I guess it's akin to a literary high. This book did that for me and more. It deserves more than the five star rating. Let's see if I'll be able to give a concise review without confusing people. This story is loosely based on an obscure Grimm fairy tale ( Do you guys know that feeling when you just have finished an astonishingly excellent book? You feel full of life and understanding. It's why as readers we come back and back again and hope this will be the book that gives us that exhilaration. I guess it's akin to a literary high. This book did that for me and more. It deserves more than the five star rating. Let's see if I'll be able to give a concise review without confusing people. This story is loosely based on an obscure Grimm fairy tale (Hale mentions which one it is at the end of the book). The premise is that Lady Saren will be locked up in a tower for seven years because she will not marry Lord Khashar. Lady Saren takes Dashti who oddly doesn't mind this arrangement. She comes from a harsh background and the guarantee of having food for seven straight years while serving someone of royal blood? It seems like the gods have smiled upon her. Things start to look not so rosy anymore though, and Dashti and Lady Saren will be caught in a web of lies that will lead to an adventure neither of them could have seen coming. The strongest point of the book for me was the character of Dashti. She is resilient, funny, caring, and loyal to a fault. The refreshing aspect about her is that she is definitely not your typical flawlessly pretty character. It's her spirit that brings forth her beauty, and that may sound cheesy but it's true. Like any other character she has her shortfalls, but comes to realize how stunted her view of things was. The author does an excellent job of weaving in the Mongolian setting and customs so the reader feels as if this is a real place. Since this is written in journal form we really get the mood Dashti's in and the progression of her and Saren's growth. Throughout we see some illustrations that aid in the storytelling. I imagine this would be a great story to read out loud. I LOVED Khan Tegus, and that's all I have to say about him because anything else I would say wouldn't even come close to describing his wonderfulness. Shannon Hale has permanently become one of my favorite authors, she was already but now she is cemented, written in black sharpie, engraved permanent. Hale is more than an author, she is a bona fide storyteller. I will have to retire from this review before I totally botch it up, but I want to conclude that the characters are lovely, the story enchanting, and displays the power of the written word.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Middle grade that looks like YA, this is a nice, easy to read book. It offers some interesting images about the Mongolian steeps. The story is sweet and simple. A few twists here and there make it interesting enough to keep reading and it has a satisfying ending, even if not surprising. I think Shannon Hale manages to create a really charming world by mixing a well known fairy tale with an unexplored setting. I really loved the voice of the main character as it comes through as much when she tell Middle grade that looks like YA, this is a nice, easy to read book. It offers some interesting images about the Mongolian steeps. The story is sweet and simple. A few twists here and there make it interesting enough to keep reading and it has a satisfying ending, even if not surprising. I think Shannon Hale manages to create a really charming world by mixing a well known fairy tale with an unexplored setting. I really loved the voice of the main character as it comes through as much when she tells us about her everyday life as when she recounts the terrible and great events happening once they're prisoners inside the tower. I do like young heroines who manage to save themselves and those they love without turning into kick-assing caricatures but by preserving in discovering who they really are, and using exactly that to move forward. All in all, a lovely story that was very well told.

  4. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    Oh gosh, I'm going to be obsessed with Shannon Hale now, aren't I? Oh gosh, I'm going to be obsessed with Shannon Hale now, aren't I?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sara ♥

    July 30-31, 2009 Ummm... So I started this book at 2:00 am. (Note to self: don't start books at 2:00 am! Are you crazy???) Yeah, I couldn't put it down! I finished at about 7:00. Then my husband woke me up at noon! How rude! Doesn't he realize that reading makes me nocturnal? ;) Anyway, I started the book, and was like, "Why is this written from the lady's maid's point of view and not from the lady's point of view. Yeah, that becomes very clear within just a few pages. I really loved Dashti—she wa July 30-31, 2009 Ummm... So I started this book at 2:00 am. (Note to self: don't start books at 2:00 am! Are you crazy???) Yeah, I couldn't put it down! I finished at about 7:00. Then my husband woke me up at noon! How rude! Doesn't he realize that reading makes me nocturnal? ;) Anyway, I started the book, and was like, "Why is this written from the lady's maid's point of view and not from the lady's point of view. Yeah, that becomes very clear within just a few pages. I really loved Dashti—she was such a fascinating character! I loved the world that Shannon Hale created for this book. The acknowledgments at the back say that it's based on Mongolian history (hence the usage of "khan"...), which is just fascinating to me. (I've always wanted to go to Mongolia. I don't know why...... *shrugs*) The belief system in the book was so interesting, and the bad guy was SERIOUSLY FRIGHTENING! EEK! He was freaking me out! But good conquers evil (it IS based on a fairy tale, after all)... as it always will... eventually! ;) Loved it. It was fabulous! 4.5 stars, at least, which rounds up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Hale has proved herself adept at finding obscure fairy tales and reworking them in mouth-watering new ways. Her latest offering is based on the little-known "Maid Maleen" by the Brothers Grimm. A lady and her loyal maid are locked in a tower for seven years as punishment for the lady's refusal to marry the man her father wants her to. The story details their imprisonment in the tower and the adventure that follows. Hale's version is told in diary format from the point of view of the maid--Dashti Hale has proved herself adept at finding obscure fairy tales and reworking them in mouth-watering new ways. Her latest offering is based on the little-known "Maid Maleen" by the Brothers Grimm. A lady and her loyal maid are locked in a tower for seven years as punishment for the lady's refusal to marry the man her father wants her to. The story details their imprisonment in the tower and the adventure that follows. Hale's version is told in diary format from the point of view of the maid--Dashti. I finished this one with mixed feelings. The conclusion I came to is that I wanted more. There was so much potential yet I felt I wasn't allowed to scratch past the surface of things. I liked Dashti, but she didn't have to struggle that hard to get what she got. Or at least her struggle wasn't given the gravity it deserved. Lady Saren, who had quite clearly been driven mad by some atrocious event, was so wonderfully vacant and creepy. I wanted to get to the root of her madness. When I finally found out, it was appropriately weird but it wasn't given enough time or depth. I wanted more. More psychological exploration, more emotion, more pages in general. Her previous books are chock full of it and so this one came off a bit...flat. These comments aside, I always recommend Shannon Hale highly and I eagerly await the fourth Bayern book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This was a pleasant, if somewhat simplistic book with a neat conceit, unique setting, but rather uncomplicated characters and a straightforward plot. First off, the good. I liked the setting of this story, which was heavily influenced by traditional Mongolian lifestyles from ancestor worship, to use of animals, to the cultural practices of the people. It is a pretty fascinating and complex setting that should get more attention from authors. I also liked the two main characters' arcs over the co This was a pleasant, if somewhat simplistic book with a neat conceit, unique setting, but rather uncomplicated characters and a straightforward plot. First off, the good. I liked the setting of this story, which was heavily influenced by traditional Mongolian lifestyles from ancestor worship, to use of animals, to the cultural practices of the people. It is a pretty fascinating and complex setting that should get more attention from authors. I also liked the two main characters' arcs over the course of the story. There was a clear change in both the peasant and the princess over the course of their struggles and I appreciated how much they had changed by the end. Finally the story itself was pleasantly diverting enough and fit in nicely with the setting and culture the author devised. There wasn't much in the way of unexpected twists or turns but there also wasn't anything grossly offensive to my literary senses. It was perfectly fine. As for the bad, every other characters in the story was remarkably shallow and basic. They were either 100% good, 100% bad, or 100% there to advance merely the story. There was no nuance or complexity to them. The good guys were just as good and virtuous in the beginning as they were at the end. The bad guys were just as bad and vicious in the beginning as they were in the end. Their motivations were equally simple and dull. The story, while pleasantly diverting also wasn't challenging. It was pretty clear how the story was going to end from several miles away. So while the path to get to the end was fine the ending didn't even rate as a climax, just the next logical step on a very obvious blueprint of a narrative arc. There was little in the way of dramatic tension and the characters never truly felt endangered. I also wasn't a huge fan of the voice of the narrative. The book is told through a series of diary entries of a peasant girl, Dashti. The prose was very simple and straightforward, which fits the perspective of the character writing it. But just because it was appropriate doesn't make it compelling or enthralling to my sensibilities. It certainly got the job done but it also limited the perspective I could have gotten from other characters in the story. I think the choice to tell this story from diary entries may have fed into the other weaknesses. We only get Dashti's limited perspective on events and people, necessarily limiting our insights into their motivations, hopes, fears, and agendas. It made most of the other characters flat because we could only see them from one perspective. If the writer had interspersed Dashti's writings with the writings of other characters I think the narrative would have been richer and deeper. But then Hale would have to change the title of the book :-P This wasn't a bad book by any stretch, just a somewhat unambitious one that didn't take any risks. While that meant that it didn't stumble at all it also resulted in a very meh book overall.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    3.5 stars for a cute YA high fantasy. Fans of fairy tale retellings, this is one for you!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Dashti, a mucker maid, is going to be locked up in a tower with her Lady Saren for seven years. Lady Saren refused to marry a man she did not love, so Dashti must prepare for a rigorous and daunting imprisonment. Soon, Dashti finds rats in the flour and mold on the cheese. It becomes a struggle to survive, and Dashti also must deal with Lady Saren’s two completely different suitors. Dashti must make a choice, for herself, and for Saren. In Book of a Thousand Days, Shannon Hale brings to life the Dashti, a mucker maid, is going to be locked up in a tower with her Lady Saren for seven years. Lady Saren refused to marry a man she did not love, so Dashti must prepare for a rigorous and daunting imprisonment. Soon, Dashti finds rats in the flour and mold on the cheese. It becomes a struggle to survive, and Dashti also must deal with Lady Saren’s two completely different suitors. Dashti must make a choice, for herself, and for Saren. In Book of a Thousand Days, Shannon Hale brings to life the tale of Maid Maleen. Set in an area much like Mongolia, the Eight Realms, Hale creates up a social system very different than our own. Some realms are ruled by women, which rarely happened at the time. Hale strives to combine reality with magic, and focuses not on the princess, but on the dirty maid. Hale questions arranged marriage and encourages independence and hard work through the determined character of Dashti. Throughout the book, Hale carries a message of hope and fortitude. Hale succeeded in her message, and inspires girls to be stronger. Although Dashti often had an attitude of servitude, she prevails with her competing attitude of perseverance. Dashti challanges unfair but long used customs of arranged marriage, a lesson for girls. Most adapted fairy tales focus on the princesses, but Dashti is in no way a princess. She knows how to work, and Hale attempts to show a different kind of heroine . Book of a Thousand Days is a valuable book in today’s world of Clique and Gossip Girl novels. It has a message that supports girls for who they are, while telling an entrancing tale. Despite not having that much action to attract reluctant readers, after a couple chapters, the book picks up. In today’s society, any book with a strong girl main character that doesn’t do drugs or make bad decisions is extremely valuable. I’m very excited about this book because Shannon Hale is coming near me in January. The book raises a few questions for me that would be great to ask her. Shannon Hale has also written five other books; Austenland, River Secrets, Princess Academy, Enna Burning, and The Goose Girl. She has been heralded as one of the best living fantasy authors of the day. She won a Newbery Honor for Princess Academy. I adored Book of a Thousand Days because it was a fantasy with not too much magic. I’m not a huge fantasy person, if only because I like to delve into a character’s feelings. Many fantasies don’t do that, and focus more on the magic. Book of a Thousand Days has characters with realistic, understandable feelings that draw you in to the fairy tale.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Quite possibly Shannon's best book! A joyous read, rich with detail and written in the author's inimitible, poetic style. I not only felt a deep connection for the narrator, but also for the male protagonist, and the Mongolia-like world she created was gorgeous to behold. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Quite possibly Shannon's best book! A joyous read, rich with detail and written in the author's inimitible, poetic style. I not only felt a deep connection for the narrator, but also for the male protagonist, and the Mongolia-like world she created was gorgeous to behold. Lovely, lovely, lovely!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    Reading Rush: Day 6 Fulfilled the 'read a book set on a different continent from where you live' prompt. (Though this book is fantasy, the setting was based on medieval Mongolia.) This was also my seventh and final book for the 2020 Reading Rush. Reading Rush: Day 6 Fulfilled the 'read a book set on a different continent from where you live' prompt. (Though this book is fantasy, the setting was based on medieval Mongolia.) This was also my seventh and final book for the 2020 Reading Rush.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tauna

    Sigh. I really, really wanted to love this book because I love Shannon Hale and all my Goodreads friends have given it 5 or 4 stars but... I just didn't. I didn't like Dashti or Saren. Really, I HATED Saren. More often than not I wanted to beat her head against a rock. She's stupid, annoying, and a terrible person. Dashti, the narrator, wasn't much better. While people who like the book would probably say that she's just fiercely loyal, I found her to be kind of an idiot. I think I would've boug Sigh. I really, really wanted to love this book because I love Shannon Hale and all my Goodreads friends have given it 5 or 4 stars but... I just didn't. I didn't like Dashti or Saren. Really, I HATED Saren. More often than not I wanted to beat her head against a rock. She's stupid, annoying, and a terrible person. Dashti, the narrator, wasn't much better. While people who like the book would probably say that she's just fiercely loyal, I found her to be kind of an idiot. I think I would've bought the whole "maid willing to be locked up for 7 years to serve her lady" thing if Dashti had been with Saren for years before it had happened. But no, Dashti had literally just met Lady Saren when she agreed to be locked in a tower for 7 years with a whiny brat she didn't even know. I don't find that to be loyal, I find it to be idiotic. Especially (view spoiler)[once Dashti figures out how to get out of the tower, and Saren freaks out and cries and takes like 3 days to "work up the courage" to leave, followed by months of acting like a child and refusing to take responsibility for herself. Seriously, Dashti. LEAVE HER. (hide spoiler)] I appreciated the whole ancient Mongolian kind of feel and backdrop for the book, but the constant references to the Eternal Blue Sky and the Sacred 9 really started to grate on my nerves. If I had a dollar for every time Dashti said "Ancestors, forgive me" or talked about praying to a specific god I would be able to buy myself a nice, big library of books I actually enjoy. I also found that I was annoyed by the healing songs Dashti would sing, mostly because she would ALWAYS preface it by saying "I sang the song for [whatever], the one that goes like this....." as if knowing the nonsensical words would actually mean anything to read. I could go on, but just know that Shannon Hale has done much better. The Goose Girl is fantastic and forever one of my favorites, but skip Book of a Thousand Days. 2 stars at the most

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A charming little read about love, courage and sacrifice that I finished in one sitting. I loved little Dashti from the very beginning. With a plain face but a great soul she could teach the most hard-hearted of people what it means to be kind and very brave, despite of all your fears. image from Pinterest Her "mama also used to say that the mightiest of the healing songs was a good laugh" and that "hitting is the language of cowards and drunkards". So Dashti is trying to protect and to heal, to si A charming little read about love, courage and sacrifice that I finished in one sitting. I loved little Dashti from the very beginning. With a plain face but a great soul she could teach the most hard-hearted of people what it means to be kind and very brave, despite of all your fears. image from Pinterest Her "mama also used to say that the mightiest of the healing songs was a good laugh" and that "hitting is the language of cowards and drunkards". So Dashti is trying to protect and to heal, to sing each troubled soul into happines and be a crutch for every other broken one. Because she is a mucker, and that is what muckers do: sing to heal. If you like fairytales and stories about love, sacrifice and courage above fear; with true heroes and happy ever afters, and a little bit of healing magic thrown in the mix, you're gonna love this book! I know I did! :D

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luann

    I enjoyed this a lot - so much so that I DIDN'T finish it last night. I wanted to save it so that I would have something to look forward to reading this afternoon. I found myself thinking about the story several times throughout the day and wondering how it might end. I wasn't disappointed. Another great job by Shannon Hale! I enjoyed this a lot - so much so that I DIDN'T finish it last night. I wanted to save it so that I would have something to look forward to reading this afternoon. I found myself thinking about the story several times throughout the day and wondering how it might end. I wasn't disappointed. Another great job by Shannon Hale!

  15. 5 out of 5

    JG (Introverted Reader)

    As luck would have it, the very day Dashti enters the service of a lady is the very day said lady is bricked into a tower for seven years to learn obedience. Dashti goes along with her to keep her company and take care of her. Between fighting off rats, Lady Saren's torpor, and the unsettling attentions of Saren's two very different suitors, Dashti has her hands full. And that's just the beginning. I love Dashti. She grows so much in this book! She starts off a simple girl from a simple way of li As luck would have it, the very day Dashti enters the service of a lady is the very day said lady is bricked into a tower for seven years to learn obedience. Dashti goes along with her to keep her company and take care of her. Between fighting off rats, Lady Saren's torpor, and the unsettling attentions of Saren's two very different suitors, Dashti has her hands full. And that's just the beginning. I love Dashti. She grows so much in this book! She starts off a simple girl from a simple way of life, unquestioningly following the laws of the land, and she becomes a strong woman, confident in herself and her abilities. The book is really Dashti's diary, so it was interesting to see her thinking and even her writing style change as she grows into herself. Dashti's is the most obvious transformation, but Lady Saren quietly undergoes some drastic changes. She starts out a weak, irritating, ineffective girl who seems to be nothing but a chain around Dashti's neck, but sometime when you aren't looking she becomes something... more. This is my first time reading Shannon Hale, and if this is any indication of the rest of her work, it won't be my last. I sat down to get started on this before spending a little time on the computer, and the next thing I knew I was finishing it. Seriously. One sitting. There was one part that started to drag just a little bit, but somehow a book about two girls in a tower became a page turner. I enjoyed how Dashti's "voice" changed as she changed, and I'm very impressed with Hale's skill in pulling that off. I was thrilled to read a young adult book with a strong female lead and no love triangle in sight! Yay! I know I wrote the bit about two suitors, but believe me, there's no love triangle. I highly recommend this all the way around.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

    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 kn 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rhi

    A true heroine rises from the Grimm Brother ashes. Hale has created a female character worthy to be loved and adored for a long time to come. She is filled with guts, heart, and soul. This is a tale of imprisonment, courage, love, romance, fantasy, and one spectacular protagonist. This is a tale of the silenced being given a voice, of the oppressed fighting their way out of darkness, so they can feel the burn of the sun of life on their skin once again. It is a tale about the power and magic of wor A true heroine rises from the Grimm Brother ashes. Hale has created a female character worthy to be loved and adored for a long time to come. She is filled with guts, heart, and soul. This is a tale of imprisonment, courage, love, romance, fantasy, and one spectacular protagonist. This is a tale of the silenced being given a voice, of the oppressed fighting their way out of darkness, so they can feel the burn of the sun of life on their skin once again. It is a tale about the power and magic of words. And the power of the female body. Hale uses Dashti, her beautifully crafted mucker maid, to express the necessity of the written word, and to provide the glorious hope of storytelling. Everybody has a story worth telling, because everybody has a life worth living. Dashti, for me, represents of those who have been told they can't. All those who have been silenced, broken down, pushed aside. But all those who have believed in their worth, in their need to tell their story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kitkat

    I loved this book so much! But the book is more than a thousand pages so you know. I like the characters and the character development. I loved the love relationship and how brave the protagonist is. She truly is looked upon by the gods! I cannot wait to read more of Shannon Hale books.❤️❤️❤️😍

  19. 4 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead

    Book of a Thousand Days was a solid fun read! Some aspects I liked: - an interesting aesthetic: I don't think I've previously read anything set in the central Asian steppes before - illustrations made by the author are always a plus! - the heroine was kinda cool: hard-working, brave, loyal, humble, no-nonsense - overall: an enjoyable and quick read. I do have to take a star off, though, because a couple of things felt off: (view spoiler)[1) Some plot hole-ish things: - The love story only happens beca Book of a Thousand Days was a solid fun read! Some aspects I liked: - an interesting aesthetic: I don't think I've previously read anything set in the central Asian steppes before - illustrations made by the author are always a plus! - the heroine was kinda cool: hard-working, brave, loyal, humble, no-nonsense - overall: an enjoyable and quick read. I do have to take a star off, though, because a couple of things felt off: (view spoiler)[1) Some plot hole-ish things: - The love story only happens because Dashti, the maid, can read and write, but her mistress Lady Saren can't. The book never explains this in any way, and it felt unbelievable. - When Dashti and her Lady are imprisoned, they only have a small metal flap on the wall they use to dump human waste outside. The tower has no windows. Then when Prince comes, she communicates with Dashti through it; he even sits beside it all night as they talk. I couldn't help thinking again and again about the smell he must have felt and what he must have seen there. It got in the way of feeling the budding romance supposedly happening there. - The girls get imprisoned. Every day guards bring them milk and stuff, they hear the guards talking, etc. One night, an obvious attack happens outside - there are screams, commotion, cries for help, etc. From that time on, no one comes to bring supplies, and no one can be heard. Obvious that all the guards were killed, right? For some reason, the girls apparently didn't think so. And they never tried to escape for YEARS! I found that unbelievable! It's not like they had anything else to do. They were sitting in a tiny room with no light at all. Really, even without hope of escape, I'd chip at the wall just to do something. And when eventually Dashti tries, she has no trouble at all! So why did they sit in the tower for all those years and suffer unnecessarily?! 2) I was sometimes frustrated with the heroine. She was kinda bitter and unkind at times when thinking of her mistress. And Lady Saren is just obviously suffering from mental illness, and with good reason! So I was frustrated with Dashti. No one forces you to keep helping Lady Saren. If it's such a bother, just stop! (hide spoiler)]

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carla *Jen7waters*

    OMG THIS BOOK. Shannon Hale you mastermind!!! I cannot believe I had this GEM untouched on my bookshelf for so long---why, why am I an idiot?? Awww, it was so cute, and lovely, and emotional, and fairytale-like! What am I saying? This isn't just fairytale-like, this IS in fact a fairytale retold, and the original is called "Maid Maleen" by the Brothers Grimm. It basically tells the story of two girls, one a princess (not really a princess, but the daughter of a very rich and powerful lord) the ot OMG THIS BOOK. Shannon Hale you mastermind!!! I cannot believe I had this GEM untouched on my bookshelf for so long---why, why am I an idiot?? Awww, it was so cute, and lovely, and emotional, and fairytale-like! What am I saying? This isn't just fairytale-like, this IS in fact a fairytale retold, and the original is called "Maid Maleen" by the Brothers Grimm. It basically tells the story of two girls, one a princess (not really a princess, but the daughter of a very rich and powerful lord) the other one her maid, who get imprisoned in a tower because the princess refuses to marry this evil guy. A few years later they manage to escape and find out everyone in the kingdom is dead -- so they travel to a neighbour kingdom and start working in the kitchen of another powerful lord's house, but this one is kind and lovely and everything a woman wants in a man. The original story has the princess as the protagonist, but Shannon made the maid the heroine of Book of a Thousand Days, and I have to say IT WORKED. I love the irony between this book and my absolute favorite by the author, which is Goose Girl -- the stories are similar, but in Goose Girl the maid is vicious and steals the princess's identity, while in Book of a Thousand Days the poor maid, Dashti, has to pretend she's the princess because the real one is constantly afraid of the world and makes Dashti do things for her. I absolutely loved Dashti's voice and practical manner during the whole story; loved how she took care of what needed to be done most of the times under the worst circumstances; loved her undeniable loyalty towards her loony lady; loved the touching memories and stories regarding her mother, the only person she had in the world (YOU BREAK MY HEART SHANNON HALE!); loved how, in time, she realized she could make a difference, even if she wasn't born in a golden crib. I say, this is quite the flawless heroine. The writing is typical Shannon Hale: musical, addictive, sarcastic, brilliant, and my only regret is that the final events happened too fast -- I wanted more! Definitely one of the best books I've read this year so far, and a new all time favorite. Go read it! *PT* Cuidado com o Dálmata -- Book of a Thousand Days Fairy Tales Retold Challenge 2012 ~ 5/12

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I didn't have the energy to write a formal or full negative review of this book; however, if you're interested in my major content concerns, please see below for my thoughts in the comments of this review. There was one scene in this book that outraged me with very inappropriate content. The rest of the book would've been two stars on its own and was meh and indifferent for me, besides being mildly inappropriate and impure as well. These thoughts are my own opinion, and I have nothing against an I didn't have the energy to write a formal or full negative review of this book; however, if you're interested in my major content concerns, please see below for my thoughts in the comments of this review. There was one scene in this book that outraged me with very inappropriate content. The rest of the book would've been two stars on its own and was meh and indifferent for me, besides being mildly inappropriate and impure as well. These thoughts are my own opinion, and I have nothing against anyone who feels differently. My aim is merely to spread the word to inform friends who share my content concerns, which I'm glad to be able to do.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Isamlq

    This particular story has a fairy tale feel to it... and it was incredibly entertaining. Seven years they were to stay, Lady Saren and her handmaid Dashti. You’d think the first a strong princess, a brave one… another one of those in your face, I’ll do as I please versions of princesses. She’s not. You’d think Dashti, meek and obedient. She is. Despite said fact, it’s still Dashti who shines in this one because the princess was often times too delicate, too soft, too shy… and just not quite all This particular story has a fairy tale feel to it... and it was incredibly entertaining. Seven years they were to stay, Lady Saren and her handmaid Dashti. You’d think the first a strong princess, a brave one… another one of those in your face, I’ll do as I please versions of princesses. She’s not. You’d think Dashti, meek and obedient. She is. Despite said fact, it’s still Dashti who shines in this one because the princess was often times too delicate, too soft, too shy… and just not quite all there. And just so you know, all those stars are on account of Dashti, who’s loyal to a fault, kind and soft hearted. It’s Dashti who’s a special ability to sing others well. She shines despite having to do things she had no choice but to do. Despite her servitude and the attitude she bore in that position, she’s still a strong voice, the strongest in fact. Because were this all about Saren, I don’t think I’d have enjoyed the story one bit. It's Dashti’s thoughts, her voice what excited me, what had me laughing and then sometimes cringing. I enjoyed her voice; the change in their circumstance and her views of the same. Starting off as excited, plodding toward being bored out of her mind, then later being utterly frustrated at what her lady would and would not do. There’s the added bonus in how it’s told: each entry by Dashti revealed the changes in her thinking and some times even glimpses of her Lady improving. There's also a fantastic and magical feel to it, but it's something that didn’t drown everything else out. Her skill was just extra. This wasn’t a heavy on the magic; it being mainly about staying resilient, holding true to who you are, what you want and what’s right. 3.5/5

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I loved this Young Adult book! Hooray for Shannon Hale! I probably wouldn't recommend this book to girls under 12, but I think Hale has produced a wonderful heroine for the older teen set. I liked this book better than Princess Academy. I felt the themes were more accessible--everyone can relate to having a crush on someone totally out of your league. And who can’t envision the horror of being betrothed to a grotesque villain or locked up with rats? I loved how the two girls-- Saren, a princess I loved this Young Adult book! Hooray for Shannon Hale! I probably wouldn't recommend this book to girls under 12, but I think Hale has produced a wonderful heroine for the older teen set. I liked this book better than Princess Academy. I felt the themes were more accessible--everyone can relate to having a crush on someone totally out of your league. And who can’t envision the horror of being betrothed to a grotesque villain or locked up with rats? I loved how the two girls-- Saren, a princess and lady, and Dashti, a peasant “mucker” maid--reversed roles in the course of the story. The story begins with Dahti thinking that Saren is so much more valuable as a person because Saren is gentry. However, Dashti comes to realize that Saren is weak and cowardly. Slowly, Dashti evolves into a heroine partly out of necessity (she can see Saren doesn’t possess what is needed to save them) and partly because she comes to realize that she is in love, and is loveable. Hale’s writing style is amazing, as usual. And the setting of Mongolia with a dash of the mystical I found refreshingly different in today’s fantasy market. I can’t even describe what a fantastic book this is. I am always looking for books with great role models for my daughters, and this is definitely one of them!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie Grace

    I definitely liked the first half better than the last half (and I'm still convinced that I've read this before), but it was a good book. I love Shannon's writing style and how it's always so fairytale like and amazing. *needs to reread her Books of Bayern series immediately* I definitely liked the first half better than the last half (and I'm still convinced that I've read this before), but it was a good book. I love Shannon's writing style and how it's always so fairytale like and amazing. *needs to reread her Books of Bayern series immediately*

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karishma

    3.5 stars for the book. A 100 stars for the audiobook narration. A full cast audio and done so well.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    After reading and thoroughly enjoying Goose Girl and Princess Academy, I was excited to see this new young adult novel (another retelling of an obscure fairytale) from Shannon Hale. I was even more excited when I saw that it had been given great reviews so far. Could I possibly enjoy a book from this genre more than Princess Academy? I was anxious to find out. Well, maybe it was my anticipation that left this book feeling flat. It was readable enough, for sure; the storytelling style (a diary) le After reading and thoroughly enjoying Goose Girl and Princess Academy, I was excited to see this new young adult novel (another retelling of an obscure fairytale) from Shannon Hale. I was even more excited when I saw that it had been given great reviews so far. Could I possibly enjoy a book from this genre more than Princess Academy? I was anxious to find out. Well, maybe it was my anticipation that left this book feeling flat. It was readable enough, for sure; the storytelling style (a diary) led to an easy-going, intriguing development of the plot. But for me, there just wasn’t enough character development — to the reader, everyone is more or less just who they seem all the way through a book (ironic considering that disguise is a major plot element). I finally yielded that, given the first-person perspective, I wasn’t ever going to learn the inner thoughts and motivations of Khan Tegus or Lady Saren — but even still, I found myself wishing for more growth from the characters. Even Dashti, who pours her secret thoughts out to the book (and us as readers), felt rather one-dimensional: yes, she finds strength to do hard things, to take risks — but she credits most of that to her mucker background; she’s basically been the loyal, hardy type throughout the bulk of the story. So. I didn’t love the book — but I did like the book. I liked that it was set in an Asian (Mongolian)-like setting; a unique setting that was a fresh surprise in this fairytale (though I didn’t particularly care for the overemphasis of the made-up theology). I liked Dashti’s moral courage; she is a strong heroine (even if her character development left little to surprise). Okay, okay; so maybe the one thing I liked unequivocally was the sweet romance and the happily-ever-after at the end! Does that make me shallow?? ;-)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Addy S.

    2nd Read Review: I really enjoyed this book, but there were several things I didn’t enjoy so much about it. -Romance: some kissing, touching (not in a bad way), smelling, etc. nothing bad here. I actually enjoyed the scenes with romance in them. -Language: no bad language!! -Violence: definitely some violence , would recommend book for ages 13+ There was a pretty bad scene where Dashti goes out onto the battlefield and does something very bad. I really had a problem with this, and I did not enjoy it 2nd Read Review: I really enjoyed this book, but there were several things I didn’t enjoy so much about it. -Romance: some kissing, touching (not in a bad way), smelling, etc. nothing bad here. I actually enjoyed the scenes with romance in them. -Language: no bad language!! -Violence: definitely some violence , would recommend book for ages 13+ There was a pretty bad scene where Dashti goes out onto the battlefield and does something very bad. I really had a problem with this, and I did not enjoy it. It was NOT really descriptive, which was a plus, but still. Why would you need to include such a part in the book? I enjoyed how the book was in the form of Dashti’s journal, and I liked that. The romance was not too much either, which was a plus! Kind of reminds me of Rapunzel, with the whole tower thing. Overall, a fairly good book, but I would give it a fair rating of 3 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Faith M:)

    I have mixed feelings on this book. Shannon Hale is one of my most favorite authors, so I had huge expectations for this book. Pros: The culture was really interesting, with the gods, lords, class, setting, etc. The ending was also very good!!! It surprised me!!! Cons: There were several inappropriate parts in the book, which didn’t need to be added AT ALL. The story would’ve been much better without it. I also found the book to be very slow. It took a while for the book to go anywhere. Not my f I have mixed feelings on this book. Shannon Hale is one of my most favorite authors, so I had huge expectations for this book. Pros: The culture was really interesting, with the gods, lords, class, setting, etc. The ending was also very good!!! It surprised me!!! Cons: There were several inappropriate parts in the book, which didn’t need to be added AT ALL. The story would’ve been much better without it. I also found the book to be very slow. It took a while for the book to go anywhere. Not my favorite book, but not terrible.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا

    Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren's years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids. My copy is coming in a couple of days and I just can't wait!! I loved The Princess Academy and The Goose Girl!! I am sure this will be just as good! Both covers are so good, but I guess mine is more suitable. This book is based on the Brother Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren's years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids. My copy is coming in a couple of days and I just can't wait!! I loved The Princess Academy and The Goose Girl!! I am sure this will be just as good! Both covers are so good, but I guess mine is more suitable. This book is based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Maid Maleen, and what a book it is! I really love Shannon Hale's writing style. You would think that staying locked in a tower would be dull and claustrophobic, but for Dashti and Lady Saren it's better than being outside in range of Lord Khaser. I really feel sorry for Dashti, she is full of life and positive energy and to be locked with someone so broken, dramatic and boring is just unfair! This is a story about loyalty and self sacrifice and true love... it's honest, beautiful, brutal and it teaches how important is work, that the pen is mightier than sword, that a small mucker girl could be a princess by the way she acts.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Krystle

    Book of a Thousand Days is quite different from the rest of Shannon Hale’s stories. This one has a completely different structure. It’s written in the form of diary entries from the point of view of Dashti. I enjoyed reading about their imprisonment in the tower as it was captivating but I was disappointed they didn’t stay in there longer, nor were their troubles all that life-threatening. The characters felt a bit flat this time around. I don’t understand why Saren didn’t want to marry her other Book of a Thousand Days is quite different from the rest of Shannon Hale’s stories. This one has a completely different structure. It’s written in the form of diary entries from the point of view of Dashti. I enjoyed reading about their imprisonment in the tower as it was captivating but I was disappointed they didn’t stay in there longer, nor were their troubles all that life-threatening. The characters felt a bit flat this time around. I don’t understand why Saren didn’t want to marry her other suitor, as it wasn’t explained very thoroughly. Dashti’s song singing was pretty neat and I liked the fact that she wasn’t the usual perfectly beautiful heroines as she was marked from birth with red splotches over her skin. Hale’s writing was as fluid as ever but I felt there was something missing from it, just like the story. Maybe it proclaimed to have adventure, a lot of it, but there wasn’t enough to substantiate my thirst. Dashti's song singing reminds me of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8ur_... I’ve never heard of this fairy tale and found it uber fun that she reset it on Asian steppes, because my Asian side of me totally digs that. There needs to be more of these sort of Asian-esque novels. Nice entry into her works but lacking something.

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