Book of a Thousand Days
by Shannon Hale
September 18th 2007
by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Hardcover, 320 pages
1599900513 (isbn13: 9781599900513)
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dashti is a mucker, a steppe-dwelling nomadic herder, who journeys to the city after her mother dies. There, she is taught to read and to write, and becomes the lady's maid of Lady Saren, the third child of the royal family. What she discovers is that no one else wanted the role of Lady Saren's maid, because Saren was, that very day, being walled up inside a tower. Saren had refused her father's choice of a husband, and would live in the tower for seven full years. The "Book of a Thousand Days" is the record that Dashti keeps of their time in the tower, and of the amazing events that occur after they leave it.
Book of a Thousand Days has been on my wishlist since before it was released, but I've put off reading it. While I loved Hale's Princess Academy, I was less keen on Goose Girl and Enna Burning. Also, I had just (literally, not half an hour prior) finished her adult novel, Austenland, which was the most fun I've had reading in a while.
I loved Book of a Thousand Days. It's fresh, the pacing is perfect, the characters are lovely (the women strong and the men wise and compassionate), and there's a wonderful ending. It's not a profound book, but it is sufficiently complex that it's no mere fairy tale retelling, either. If you liked any of Hale's works, or if you like fairy tales retold, you should pick up this book right away.