Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

This is another fairy tale to treasure from Shannon Hale. It has many similar themes to her other books. Like The Goose Girl, it is about a girl who must overcome great odds while living a difficult peasant life, and like The Princess Academy, there is a somewhat magical way of communicating by singing. And like both books, the protagonist is a smart, determined girl who you come to know and love as you read about her struggles. The story is loosely based on a Brothers Grimm tale, but is set in ancient Mongolia. A noble girl is sealed in a tower for seven years for refusing to marry her father's desired suitor. Dashti, a mucker girl from the steppes, agrees to be sealed up with the Lady Saren to serve as her maid. The Book of a Thousand Days is Dashti's diary of the following years. Lady Saren is quite a mess, and the only reason she survives, escapes, and makes it to another kingdom is Dashti's determination and her ability to sing the healing songs that her mucker mother taught her. There is romance with a Khan, battle against the evil Khan of another realm, friendship, and a fascinating world made up of eight realms and dominated by an intriguing group of Gods and Ancestors. Readers who love Shannon Hale will also love Dashti's story.

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