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Book of a Thousand Days Paperback – September 15, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Shannon Hale has written many good books, but this one is her masterpiece.Published 16 days ago by Kayell
This review applies to the kindle version; I don't know if the print version has these same issues. In the kindle version, the letter "w" has often been substituted with... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kgoss
This story is written primarily from Dashti, a mucker girl's point of view. She is the real glue of this tale since without her Saren, the Lord's daughter would just be annoying... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jennifer
Had a hard time getting into this story - but all in all, an enjoyable read.Published 3 months ago by So many books, so little time
I first listened to this book on audio with my 14 year old daughter, and in spite of really disliking the voice of one of the readers we loved the book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by rogers, carla
ThIs is the returning of a fable I was unfamiliar with set in ancient Mongolia. About being brave in face of your fears and recognizing the nobility within each of us.Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
Shannon Hale is a masterful, magical storyteller. I loved this book! The voice of Dashti is so authentic. Read morePublished 5 months ago by lavendarma
Beautifully written book. I bought this to read it again. I love the development of the characters.Published 7 months ago by J. Thaxton
A beautiful retelling of a little-known fairy tale told from the master storyteller Shannon Hale. The characters are great, and you grow to love them, hate them, and be annoyed... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Alex Leep