Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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Day 1, the tower closes on Dashti and her lady, brick by brick, trapping them in utter darkness. Day 2, a single candle illuminates the lady’s pale face, deepening the shadows. Day 8, despair sets in, and the girls are giving up hope. 7 years in that tower, 7 years! How can they last? Hope, pain, desire, strength, determination, mistakes, questions, answers, they are all part of life, and all play a huge role in the book. Book of a Thousand Days, an incredible novel by Shannon Hale, is a charming story guaranteed to win the hearts of anyone who so much as picks it up.

Book of a Thousand Days is a story of punishment, elusion, escape, and the surprising power a single person holds. Dashti, a simple girl from the country, becomes a lady’s maid to Lady Saren. Never having known anything but the wild country where she grew up, 15 year old Dashti is astonished by the palace. Unfortunately, as soon as she meets Lady Saren, they are both locked in a tower, to be left there for seven years, just because she wouldn’t marry the man her father asked her to. When Lady Saren’s Kahn Tegus, the man she really wants to marry, comes to visit, she is so scared, that she orders Dashti to speak for her. Impersonating gentry, or nobility, is a crime punishable by death and Dashti had just done so. The girls, worried about their food stores, had enough, and broke free after only two years only to find devastation and destruction. Another kingdom has called war, and Kahn Tegus, doesn’t know what to do. The superior lady commands Dashti to tell the Kahn that she is Lady Saren, to lie to the country. Will Dashti do what her lady asks? Or will she finally stand up and say no? Find out the end to the thrilling tale of Dashti in Book of a Thousand Days.

In the novel, Dashti and Saren were supposed to be locked in a tower for seven years. It seems a bit harsh, no matter the crime. This proves to me that people should think their actions through before carrying them out, because sometimes, it’s too late to take them back. Though Lady Saren’s father is the ruler, the lady holds command over Dashti and doesn’t always make such good choices. It’s hard to know what orders to follow and when following them will get you into even more trouble. Keeping a clear head is important in life and will get you far. Additionally, everyone faces challenges in life, and everyone strives to move past them. Intelligence and strategy are the best resources in getting over obstacles. It’s important to keep those resources in order to use them. In my point of view, Book of a Thousand Days teaches that thinking decisions through can save you humiliation, time, or possibly your life.

The heartwarming story of Lady Saren and her maid is full of adventure and surprises, both good and bad. The novel is a revolutionized fairytale, altered and manipulated until it’s hardly recognizable. For this reason, it is hard to place in a genre, though I would go with fantasy or fairytale. I love everything about this book, from the title, to the ending, to the writing style of the author. It is written by Dashti, in a book of thoughts. The reader is given access to everything in Dashti’s mind, her doubts, her beliefs, her impressions, everything. In addition, instead of chapters, the book is divided by days. This gives you an idea of how long they have been in the tower, and conveys a sense of order, as if something is going according to plan. I would recommend this to any book lover because of its ability to captivate the reader, and send them to a completely new world. All in all, this book is one of my favorites.

The novel, like many of Shannon Hale’s other books, is based on an old fairy tale and entirely transformed. In this case, the book is like a feminist Rapunzel story, where instead of a knight in shining armor, the girls free themselves. It certainly feels like a fairy tale, equipped with a satisfying plot, and enjoyable characters. Shannon Hale has had practice with writing, no question about it. She began writing when she was 10 and hasn’t stopped since. She is the proud author of six award winning novels in the young adult age group, including Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born. All of her books share a feel of anger, sadness and hope. The general tone of this specific novel is mainly that of hope, strength and confidence. Shannon Hale has done it again; she has produced an outstanding read for all.

In conclusion, Book of a Thousand Days is a true example of a book where once you start it, you can’t put it down until you finish, all the way up to the very last day. On day 932, Dashti comes up with a brilliant idea, an idea full of hope, one that could save them both. She scratches and scrapes at the tower wall in the weakest point for hours. She works until her body aches and keeps going. She doesn’t stop until she can breathe fresh air, until she can see the sky. Finally, a hole opens up, and the wind rushes in. She climbs out and breathes deeply. The stars seem to fill the night, and looking up at them, Dashti knows she’s where she belongs. Dashti has found her way home.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

roberto, el terrible said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I am definitely biased since I know this young lady well.  But I would venture to say this is a bang up job of a book review.  If I had been writing this well by the time I graduated from high school I would have thought myself quite accomplished.  Since the young lady in question is definitely several years shy of that milestone I can only hope she will let me carry her book bag once she gets to that point and is a multi-published author.  

Good job Emily!

&... (more »)

 
Karolyn said...
Jan. 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm
I respectfully agree with sam.t :)
 
sam.t said...
Jan. 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm
This is a very good reveiw i give this 5 out of 5 stars
 
Emily R. replied...
Jan. 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm
thnx i guess...?
 
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