Book of a Thousand Days

( 190 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hale (River Secrets) delivers another winning fantasy, this time inventively fleshing out the obscure Grimm tale, Maid Maleen, through the expressive and earthy voice of Dashti, maid to Lady Saren. A plucky and resourceful orphan, Dashti comes from a nomad tribe in a place resembling the Asian Steppes, and is brought to the Lady's house in the midst of a crisis. Lady Saren, having refused to marry the powerful but loathsome Lord her father has chosen, faces seven years' imprisonment in an unlit tower. Initially, Dashti believes her worth is tied to her ability to care for her "tower-addled" lady until she can join Khan Tegus, to whom she is secretly betrothed. When the gentle Tegus comes to the tower, Dashti must step in for her traumatized lady, speaking to him as Saren through the one tiny metal door. Hale exploits the diary form to convey Dashti's perspective; despite her self-effacing declaration that "?I draw this from memory so it won't be right," the entries reflect her genuinely spirited inner life. The tension between her unstinting loyalty and patience and burgeoning realization of her own strength and feelings for Tegus feels especially authentic. Readers will be riveted as Dashti and Saren escape and flee to the Khan's realm where, through a series of deceptions, contrivances and a riotously triumphant climax, the tale spins out to a thoroughly satisfying ending. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Jenny Ingram
Dashti, a fifteen-year-old peasant girl from the Central Asian steppes, documents her time in service to Lady Saren through journal entries. When Saren, sixteen, refuses her father's choice of bridegroom, her father locks both girls in an isolated tower with provisions for seven years. Dashti's earlier life in the steppes has prepared her to live with hardships, and she is able to care for Saren until the food runs out. After nearly three years in the tower, Dashti finds a way out, and the two girls discover that the kingdom is in ruins and that they have been forgotten. They journey to the next kingdom, and disguised, find work in the household of Saren's beloved, where Dashti's resourcefulness and talents blossom into initiative and leadership. The story is based loosely on Maid Maleen from the Brothers Grimm. As with her other books, Hale creates a female character who succeeds because of her intelligence, integrity and hard work, and who is eventually rewarded for it. Dashti, relying on her upbringing on the steppes, appears educated and independent, in contrast to Saren's helplessness as a member of the nobility. It is a refreshing change from the typical princess story, and a nod to democracy. Smith's illustrations enhance the story, which is well-written and fast-paced, and which will captivate readers.
VOYA - Kristen Moreland
Readers will be swept away into the brilliant world of this fast-paced fairy tale. Hale's colorful language and descriptive storytelling bring the story of friendship, love, and discovery to life. As in many fairy tales, the ending and many events are predictable, but it is an enjoyable read nonetheless. Fans of Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1997/VOYA August 1997) and Hale's previous works will welcome this book with enthusiasm.
Phyllis Thompson
Princess Saren is in love with Khan Tegus but betrothed to the dark Lord Khasar. Saren fears him, for good reason, and rejects the match. As punishment for her rebelliousness, her father locks her in a windowless tower for seven years. As the novel opens, Princess Saren is alone, except for the companionship of her mucker maid, Dashti. In this recasting of Grimm's classic fairy tale, Newberry Award winning author Shannon Hale once again delights modern audiences with a feisty, female protagonist, who not only must come into her own but also protect the fearful, insecure Princess from herself as well as from others who would do her harm. Young adult girls, who are also on their own journeys of self-discovery, will be enchanted by this tale about female friendships, healing, and coming of age amidst the real-world tensions of betrayal, abandonment, deception, and loss. Discussion of literary elements, such as the narrative structure of fairy tales or the traditional use of character types, will make this book a productive companion to a study of classic tales in the ELA classroom. Reviewer: Phyllis Thompson
School Library Journal

Gr 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

Kirkus Reviews
A rousing, even spellbinding tale-with outlines in the Grimms' Maid Maleen-is set in medieval Mongolia and told in journal form. Dashti is maid and scribe to Lady Saren, whose father has bricked both of them in a tower for Saren's crime of refusing to be married to vicious lord Khasar. Dashti knows healing songs from the steppes, and she needs them, as Saren is what we would now call schizophrenic. The girls' captivity is eased at first by visits of the Khan Tegus, but the Khasar visits, too, and threatens to burn the tower with them inside. The rats that have eaten their food supply also tunnel a way out, so they escape-and find Saren's father's city destroyed. They make their way to Khan Tegus, where both girls serve hidden in his kitchen. Dashti's healing songs are needed in a war between Khasar and Tegus, and who she is, and who they are, come forth in a strongly presented climax. Dashti's voice is bright and true; Hale captures her sturdy personality, Saren's mental fragility and Khan Tegus's romantic warrior as vibrantly as she limns the stark terror of the Mongolian cold and the ugly spirit from which Khasar draws his strength. (Fantasy. 12-15)
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
Shannon Hale's celebrated novel comes to glorious life in this audio book, which holds its readers in a spell of words, music and evocative voices. When Dashti, a simple Mucker maid, becomes servant to the beautiful but troubled Lady Saren, she learns Saren is to spend the next seven years locked in a tower for refusing to marry the cruel and mysterious Lord Kahsar. Unwilling to let her lady suffer alone, Dashti joins Saren in the tower's dark confines, keeping a journal that records the daily solitude of their existence. At first, her entries are positive. They have plenty of preserved food and even receive unexpected visits from Khan Tegus, a kind lord whom Dashti becomes attracted to when Saren, afraid of any gentry, orders Dashti to pretend to be her. Soon, things take a turn for the worse. Rats begin eating their food reserves. Khan Tegus stops visiting. And Saren's mind slowly degenerates from the solitude and trauma. Desperate to save her lady's life and sanity, Dashti unexpectedly discovers a way out of the tower—only to learn that the world has changed in terrible ways since their imprisonment. Will the girls be able to survive in a world now held in the grip of warring families and powerful enemies? A masterful fantasy in its original narrative form, this gripping story is enhanced in the audio book version thanks, in part, to a competent voice cast that portrays all the characters of the book and, primarily, due to an excellent performance by Chelsea Mixon as Dashti. Mixon's voice is ideally suited to the Mucker maid as she conveys not only Dashti's inherent selflessness, but also her sense of ironic humor and even anger as she questions the justice of the split between servants and gentry. As an added bonus, readers will actually get to hear Dashti sing the healing songs she uses to try and soothe her lady's troubled psyche and mend Khan Tegus' physical ills. This is a great example of how a good novel can be enhanced by an excellent audio cast. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599900513
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/18/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 421,288
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 5.34 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Shannon Hale

Shannon’s mother says she was a storyteller from birth, jabbering endlessly in her carriage as the two strolled through the neighborhood; once she could form complete sentences, she made up stories, bribing her younger siblings to perform them in mini plays. When she was ten, she began writing books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine, and she continued writing secretly for years while pursuing acting in stage and improv comedy. After detours studying in Mexico, the U. K., and Paraguay, Shannon earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. In the interim, she submitted short stories and novels to magazines and publishers, saving all her rejection letters which she has since laminated into one continuous 60-foot roll which she proudly unfurls to audiences as a testament to her dedication and determination.

 

Since the publication of her first book, The Goose Girl, in 2003, Shannon has become a beloved author to young readers as well as booksellers and educators. Her third novel, Princess Academy, earned her a Newbery Honor and is a The New York Times, Book Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Shannon has also written two books for adults, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife. Shannon lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, Dean, their children, and their pet, a small plastic pig.

www.shannonhale.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 190 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(98)

4 Star

(57)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 190 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 18, 2012

    Great Book, poor Nook quality

    I really enjoyed this book but the Nook experience was terrible. This is the first book I have purchased from Nook. It would probably be my last but family members assure me that it is not an experience that they have had.
    The text would frequently (every few pages,at least) substitute a look alike word for the the original. Example: "oven" not "own", "belove" not "below", "111" instead of "I'll". That made for very frustrating reading. At times it was easy to tell what the word should be but "oven" was a common mistake and I didn't even know what it should be until at least 1/3 of the way through the book.
    Please proofread your books!!!!

    17 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Angieville: BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS

    Hale has proved herself adept at finding obscure fairy tales and reworking them in mouth-watering new ways. Her latest offering is based on the little-known "Maid Maleen" by the Brothers Grimm. A lady and her loyal maid are locked in a tower for seven years as punishment for the lady's refusal to marry the man her father wants her to. The story details their imprisonment in the tower and the adventure that follows. Hale's version is told in diary format from the point of view of the maid--Dashti. <BR/><BR/>I finished this one with mixed feelings. The conclusion I came to is that I wanted more. There was so much potential yet I felt I wasn't allowed to scratch past the surface of things. I liked Dashti, but she didn't have to struggle that hard to get what she got. Or at least her struggle wasn't given the gravity it deserved. Lady Saren, who had quite clearly been driven mad by some atrocious event, was so wonderfully vacant and creepy. I wanted to get to the root of her madness. When I finally found out, it was appropriately weird but it wasn't given enough time or depth. I wanted more. More psychological exploration, more emotion, more pages in general. Her previous books are chock full of it and so this one came off a bit...flat. These comments aside, I always recommend Shannon Hale highly and I eagerly await the fourth Bayern book.

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Oh, Wow. This Is Different, New, Exciting.

    Here's some questions I'm going to answer about the book:


    *What kind of reader would like this book?

    Really anyone. It has plenty of adventure, romance, and a little saddness mixed in. It's not a Judy Moody type book.

    *Did the story move me?

    Yes! At first I thought, ''This isn't going to be that emotional.'' How wrong I was!

    *Would I read other books by the author?

    Yes, actually I already had. Previously, I have read 'Princess Academy.' I recommend that as well.


    Read it soon: You'll be glad you did!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Loved the book, but lots of distracting typos

    I adore Shannon Hale and this book does not disappoint! However certain words were frequently typed wrong, most distractingly occasionally a w would be replaced by a ve so own became oven and low became love. I assume this is an ebook problem? Anyway it was a brilliant book despite.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Anonymos

    It is one of the best books I ever read! I am 10 and I love the book.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    The setting is beautiful.

    This story, set in ancient China is the tale of a princess and her maid servent. They have been sentenced to live locked in a tower with no luxuries and a diminishing food supply. This is no Rupunzel story. It's a story about doing what is right and honorable and also not letting the world kick you in the face without fighting back. I will definately pass this on to my daughters someday.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2008

    This book does not disappoint!

    All I could say after I read this book was wow! What an ending! Although I must say the beginning was a little slow, I didn't think anything was going to happen but mid way was amazing! I highly recommend this book! Its a very quick read considering all of the pictures! When I first saw picutres I was like is this book for young adults? And surely it was! So dont freak about the pictures its not a baby book. haha

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    In my opinion you should read The Goose Girl then Enna Burning then River Secrets and finally this one. I've read them all in order and I can't tell you how inspired and lifted these books have left me! Go Shannon Hale! (there is also Princess Academy)

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    Amazing

    I liked it very much it was amazing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    holy shit

    Yup

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    It is

    Totally awesome! Shes a mormon! Ima mormon!i know it i live it i love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2013

    This story is a diary of sorts, delving into the soul of a young

    This story is a diary of sorts, delving into the soul of a young girl. It is a story of strength and perseverance as well as trials. Dashti is a different heroine for a fairytale. She is not a princess, knows how to work and learns to accept who she is and hold her head up high.

    She ends up in a pickle with no foreseeable chance to get out of it.

    I love Shannon Hale’s endings. They always seem to set things right in a humorous and satisfying way. Happy reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    loved it

    loved it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    I love it

    I love this book but do NOT miss prinss acadamy
    REID THIS BOOK you have to

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    Really good!

    Not wha I expected

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    To everone who hasent read this book

    Please do not rate it . It give the overall rating a lower average. So if you havent read it, do not rate or rate ***** 5 stars. Btw I <3 THIS AUTHOR!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    Great little story!

    A quick read and a well developed story. Like many others I found the Nook formatting irritating, but that is my only complaint. Even given that, I still recommend the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    To below

    I totally agree with you that i dont want to spend my parents money on books. Yeah ive got books i could lend you. Whats your account name?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Lend Me Books Help

    Does anyone want to lend me a book? I have a bunch of YA books that I could lend too. I just don't want to be spending my parents money on books. Thanks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    O m g

    This was the first book that got me reading so natraly i was siked that they have this book in the nook

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 190 Customer Reviews

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