Book: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Genre: Young Adult
Publication date: 2007
Summary: Dashti, a maidservant, comes from hardy stock and needs every skill developed during a rough and nomadic life to keep herself and her lady alive and safe when they are locked in a tower due to Lady Saren’s refusal to marry. Fortunately, Dashti’s skills include cooking, singing songs that heal, and always finding a way toward light even in the darkest situation. She learned her newest skills, writing and sketching, shortly before her imprisonment. Book of a Thousand Days is comprised of her journal entries and drawings describing her adventures.
Thoughts: The New Year was only a few days old and already I felt overwhelmed with goals, resolutions, and projects. I had been reading only nonfiction in support of all of that, but I needed a break. I wanted a book that would be the literary equivalent of homemade applesauce cooked with a cinnamon stick, hot from the pot, and drizzled with just a little earthy dark maple syrup.
My To Be Read stack revealed only one author that would guarantee that experience: Shannon Hale. I got all that and more. Book of a Thousand Days gave me the warm sweetness of applesauce while wrapping me in a soft old quilt and humming a restful melody.
The voice of Dashti in her journal is filled with spirit, resilience, and good will. The world of the book is fantasy, vaguely Eastern in tone rather than the more typical European medieval ambiance. The plot is oddly mesmerizing even when the setting is a small tower. The prisoners receive welcome and unwelcome visitors and their situation changes in good and bad ways while they are there.
Appeal: This is a YA book that works well for adults with some cultural layers that I imagine teens may miss. It’s more for gals than guys. Readers that like richness in character and setting will appreciate the book more than ones who expect non-stop action.
Challenges: Oh, look, I already found a What’s In a Name book — A book with something you’d find on a calendar in the title: Book of a Thousand Days.
Reviews: Book of a Thousand Days has been widely reviewed. The teen review blog 3 Evil Cousins liked it as much as I did: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. The Literate Mother rates it quite mild in all the areas that parents might be concerned about: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. Rhapsody in Books helpfully tells a short version of the fairy tale, Maid Maleen, that Book of a Thousand Days is based on: Sunday Salon – Review of “Book of A Thousand Days” by Shannon Hale.
Have you read this book? What did you think?