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Book of a Thousand Days Hardcover – September 18, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 297 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—When Dashti the muckermaid from the steppes region throws in her lot with Lady Saren, little does she expect her loyalty to be tested by being bricked up in a tower with the Lady for seven years as punishment for Saren's refusal to marry the evil Lord Khasar, rather than her own preference, the handsome and gentle Khan Tagis. A series of first-person journal entries chronicle the differences between Dashti's resourceful, optimistic, and pragmatic personality and that of Lady Saren—a 16-year-old girl/woman who is prone to depression, fearful of the world, and unable to function independently. The full cast production of the fantasy by Shannon Hale (Bloomsbury, 2007) captures the lyricism of the author's language, although the voice of Dashti seems extremely young and naïve. The inclusion of many snippets of "healing songs" detracts from, rather than adds to, the story. Fans of Hale's previous books will enjoy this latest offering. Despite the somewhat predictable plot, the story is one of inspiration and hope.—Cindy Lombardo, Cleveland Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this retelling of a brothers Grimm fairy tale, Chelsea Mixon ideally portrays Dashti, a servant bound to rebellious Lady Saren, whose role is read by Rozlyn Jakes-Johnson. The tale is told through Dashti’s journal entries, in which she recounts her imprisonment in a sealed tower with Lady Saren, who defied her father’s command to marry. Dashti’s communication with Khan Tegus (Saren’s true love), vanquishing of an evil tyrant, and eventual escape are among the plot developments. The story is perfect for a full-cast reading. All of the actors add layers of meaning, enlivening even the minor characters. Saren transforms from addled to self-assured, Khan Tegus (played by Conor Nolan) from romantic to ruler, and Dashti from subservient to self-confident. Mixon proves especially effective when singing melodic renditions of “healing songs.” An enchanting listening experience. Grades 6-9. --Mary Burkey --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599900513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599900513
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on October 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Book of a Thousand Days" ranks right up with "Briar Rose" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" as one of my all-time favorite books. I honestly can't say whether it's Dashti, the music of Hale's language, or the story itself that kept me reading til 3 AM and now sitting in front of the computer trying to compose a review that's even halfway fitting to the tale within.

When you are done with this book, you do want to tell people. In my case, I want to give this book to several lovely young women of my acquaintance to sit along with others that I hope they'll read and be inspired by. I know our local schools are always looking for donations, too.

The story is written as entries in Dashti's 'thought book.' It opens with Dashti recounting being sent to her new assignment as a lady's maid. Orphaned at 14, the child of the steppes had walked to the city and given her last horse as payment for a job. When The Mistress learned she could sing the healing songs, she trained her as a lady's maid and sent her to Lady Saren.

Before she knows the circumstances, Dashti pledges herself to the 16-year-old Saren. Then, she learns her oath will trap her in a tower with her charge for 7 years because Saren has refused to wed Lord Khasar, the man her father has chosen for her.

You'd think a tale of two women stuck in a tower for many days would be boring--it's not. The contrast between Dashti and Saren's reckoning of the situation is riveting. Saren weeps at her misfortune, but Dashti rejoices--she has a place to live and food for seven whole years!

And those contrasts are what keep you reading the book long past your bedtime into the night. Next, we see two suitors--one kind and one unthinkably cruel.

Dashti is what keeps you reading.
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Format: Hardcover
The second I finished this book, I wanted to TELL someone how good it is, so here I am!

Main character Dashti's voice is what makes this tale come alive, and in broader terms, Shannon Hale's prose sings. Pun intended--one lovely component of the book are the healing songs Dashti sings to her mistress Lady Saren and others. As the story progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent, in an understated way, that the songs really are magic. I like the fact that the words of the small songs both do and do not seem to relate to the pains Dashti heals with them. These fragments of folk song and folk magic, tiny pieces of poetry, evoke images from the life Dashti remembers growing up on the steppes.

Which reminds me--what a wonderful and unique setting for this story! Medieval Mongolia with a dash of folk magic makes for a refreshing change of venue in today's crowded fantasy market.

Another thing I like about Book of a Thousand Days is that Dashti's evolution as a person who comes to believe she is as valuable as the gentry she reveres is so unforced that it doesn't seem like a device or jar with the culture Hale describes. Plot-wise, the early build-up might seem a little slow, but the oddity of the girls' being locked in a tower for years and the ways in which Dashti handles her imprisonment, not to mention the visitors (good and evil), make the first half of the book compelling in its own right.

The legal dilemmas at the end of the story form quite a tangle, but their solution is kindly as well as sensible, giving poor beleaguered Lady Saren a chance to finally come into her own. Saren is a strange character, but an intriguing one. It's nice to see her gradually emerging from her seemingly endless state of terror.
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Format: Hardcover
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.

Reviewed by: Jessica Cave
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(This review is spoiler free. I don't even mention the plot.)

I have read quite a few good reviews of Book of a Thousand Days, by the wonderful Shannon Hale so I was expecting good thing.

It was better than I could have ever hoped for. It was perfect.

It was a story that made you forget every story you have ever read before. I had no idea what was going to happen with the characters--I was reading something new and raw, with no expectations. I read as if it were the only book that existed in the world.

Why? Because of Dashti. Dashti is the author of the book. The book is her journal. I usually end up understanding characters, relating to them, and liking them. I loved Dashti. I loved her as if she were my best friend, as if she were my sister. As if she were real. I've read many books and stories where the characters are real, but I haven't loved them as I have loved Dashti. I loved Lady Saren as Dashti loved her. I knew these people and I became a part of their world.

The setting was magnificent. Gone with the Western norm, this was set in a world based off of Asia. Gone was the cliched magic of fantasy books. It was Shannon Hale magic in its best: subtle, gentle, feminine, beautiful.

The voice and tone were Dashti. The words were so different from what many books are, but the newness and rawness of the words became part of me. There was beauty, and there was deep, deep sadness in the book. I have never read a book that so adequately portrayed the sadness of life and war--it could have been real. This never seemed like a word of fiction, ever, it was real. Instead of pretty heroines with feisty attitudes, the book offered something heartfelt, real, and full of inner beauty.

I love Book of a Thousand Days. Wow. Wow. Wow.
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