About the book (From Amazon):
When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.
As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.
With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.
Book of a thousand days is based on Grimm’s fairy tale Maid Maleen. But Shannon Hale has effectively twisted the tale and made it her own.
The story begins with a princess and her Maid being shut down in a tower for 7 years. The princess’s father wants her to marry Lord Khasar, the ruler of the down under, but the princess wants to marry Khan Tegus, also the ruler of one of the eight realms. The father wants to teach her a lesson by isolating her for 7 years in the hope of bringing her to her senses.
The maid is a 15 year old girl who has no family of her own to speak of and she is assigned to the princess just one day before she is to be locked in the tower. The maid without knowing anything about this pledges to serve the princess in all conditions.
The maid’s name is Dashti and she is a mucker, the people who roam the grasslands for a living. She knows how to live in frugal and harsh conditions and in turn takes care of the melancholy princess.
This book has the perfect fairy tale ingredients, obviously since it’s a re-telling of one. But I loved how Shannon Hale gave an extra dimension to every character in the story. She created characters you could hate and love. She also created a wonderful atmosphere which was as melancholy as the princess’s situation. Here is one of my favorite paragraphs:
Here’s something true about darkness-after enough time, you begin to see things that aren’t there. Faces look at me, and when I turn my head, they dissapear. Colors wash themselves before my eyes, then fade away. Shiny gray dream rats dart between my feet but don’t make a sound. I wanted to write this down so I can remember that those things aren’t real.
Shannon Hale has also challenged the concept of beautiful in connection to happily ever-after in The book of a thousand days which made me appreciate the story even better. If you’ve read Grimm’s fairy tale or this book, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
All in all I would it’s a very good book with an ending suitable for fairy tales. This is one of the YA books that could be a cross over. I cannot wait to get my hands on other books by Shannon Hale. Recommended.