Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand DaysSummary: After Lady Saren refuses to marry the man her father has chosen for her, she, along with her maid Dashti, is sentenced to a seven-year imprisonment inside a tower as punishment.  Dashti keeps a journal of their experience as she struggles to lighten the spirits of her mistress, save their food storage from rats, and stave off her own boredom.  She hopes that Khan Tegus, the man to whom Saren secretly betrothed herself, will rescue them both, but Saren refuses to speak to him when he visits the tower and forces Dashti to take on her identity.  Eventually, however, Tegus stops visiting and Dashti realizes they have run out of food.  Their only chance of survival lies in breaking out of the tower and starting a new life in a different land.  Dashti, however, does not wish solely to survive; she hopes also to reunite her mistress with her true love.  A retelling of “Maid Maleen.”

Review Book of a Thousand Days is geared towards a younger audience than the Books of Bayern, and it demonstrates this with simple language, a straightforward plot, and flat characters–all of which combine to make the novel a little dull for readers able to follow something much more complicated.  The journal format is an interesting choice for Hale, and she manages to make use of it on a couple occasions by having Dashti add notes “later” or write very short humorous entries when little happens on a particular day, but overall it just adds to the sense that the tale is very limited in scope.  There are also some illustrations when Dashti writes “And the flap looked like this,” but they are mainly of characters and random things and do not really add much to the reader’s visualization of the tale. Book of a Thousand Days might be worth an afternoon if one has run out of other books to read, but there is no need to rush for it and I would not recommend spending the money to purchase it.

Published: 2007

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