Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review: Book of a Thousand Days

by Shannon Hale. Illustrations by James Noel Smith. Bloomsbury U.S.A., 2007. Dashti is a 15 year old lady's maid and "mucker" (common person living on the Asian steppes in yurts or tents). Her mistress is locked in a tower for seven years by her father for refusing to marry the neighboring Lord (she is evil and cruel) because she is in love with a prince (kind, gentle and handsome). Dashti is locked in the tower too, in order to take care of her Lady. I loved this book, which is a retelling of an old Grimm's fairy tale. Dashti is smart, brave, creative, thoughtful, loving and loyal. She starts out thinking like a servant but gradually, as her skill and wisdom grow in the tasks of caring for her lady and keeping them both alive, she blossoms into a noble lady herself.

I'm four books behind in blogging about what I'm reading this summer, so I am going to keep this to a bullet list of what I loved about the book:
  • written in dairy format so it's direct, intimate and descriptive
  • charming pen and ink drawings by Dashti illustrate her diary, courtesy of James Noel Smith
  • little details of Asian culture like the importance of offering genuine gifts with both hands to demonstrate sincerity and honor
  • the importance of her pet, My Lord the cat, as a gift from the prince, a killer of rats, a friend, and a gift she sacrificially gives to her lady to cure her heart-sickness
  • the prince's sweetness, humor and perplexity
  • Dashti's sweet, generous, courageous, hopeful heart
  • Dashti becomes more honest with herself and others as her difficulties become more intense
  • music is part of the healing work that Dashi devotes herself too and one of her talents
There is more but I'll leave it at that. Fabulous book and I highly recommend it as well as everything else written by Shannon Hale. Other blog reviews:

Squeaky Books
Bookshelves of Doom
Maw Books Blog
Yapping about YA
nineseveneight
Readergirlz feature, May 2008 - interview with Hale
Interactive Reader - round table discussion about the book

Be sure to come back here tomorrow for a guest post by Chris Rettstatt, author of Kaimira: Sky Village (pen name Monk Ashland). His blog tour for the week is listed here.

3 comments:

Mary Lee said...

Now you need to read PRINCESS BEN and A CURSE DARK AS GOLD. Both have fairy tales embedded/woven into the story.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

I gotta read this book already.

Cuileann said...

I LOVE this book...of course, it is by Shannon Hale. ;)