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Book of a Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days

4.2 190
by Shannon Hale

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This beloved romantic fantasy from award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale celebrates its 10th anniversary with a gorgeous new cover.

When Lady Saren refuses to marry a man she fears, she and her maid, Dashti, are locked in a tower with just a tiny flap open to the outside world. As food runs low and the weather changes from


This beloved romantic fantasy from award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale celebrates its 10th anniversary with a gorgeous new cover.

When Lady Saren refuses to marry a man she fears, she and her maid, Dashti, are locked in a tower with just a tiny flap open to the outside world. As food runs low and the weather changes from broiling hot to unbearably cold, it is all Dashti can do to make them comfortable in their dark prison.

Not long after their confinement begins, Saren's suitors arrive--one welcome, the other less so-and she orders Dashti to speak to them. Impersonating Lady Saren is a crime punishable by death, but Dashti will have to play the role many times if she is to save them both from the tower and the dangers outside. As she takes control of their desperate situation, Dashti begins to understand her own astonishing talents and believe that even a low-born maid can find true love.

Master storyteller Shannon Hale's beloved Book of a Thousand Days is equal parts fantastical and romantic, with an unforgettable protagonist to root for at its center.

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)
From the Publisher

"Hale delivers another winning fantasy. . . 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 a thoroughly satisfying ending." - starred review, Publishers Weekly

"Hale has created a richly imagined, mythical land. . . A highly successful romance." - starred review, School Library Journal

"[A] mix of exotic, fully realized setting; thrilling, enchanted adventure; and heart-melting romance." - Booklist

"A rousing, even spellbinding tale." - Kirkus Reviews

"This newest tale takes proud place among Hale's growing shelf-full of folk-fantasy adventures whose protagonists give "spunk" a good name." - Horn Book

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

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.98(w) x 5.34(h) x 1.16(d)
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Shannon Hale is the Newbery Honor–winning and New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Academy series, The Books of Bayern, Book of a Thousand Days, Dangerous, and the graphic novels Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack, as well as the Ever After High and Princess in Black series, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Real Friends. She also wrote three novels for adults, including Austenland, now a major motion picture starring Keri Russell. She and her husband, the author Dean Hale, have four children and live near Salt Lake City, Utah.


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The Book of a Thousand Days 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 191 reviews.
GammaRae More than 1 year ago
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!!!!
Megan Clarke More than 1 year ago
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.
Angieville More than 1 year ago
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.

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.
wackyweirdo More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is one of the best books I ever read! I am 10 and I love the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it very much it was amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book but do NOT miss prinss acadamy REID THIS BOOK you have to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not wha I expected
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow!! This is such a great book im still reading but iv seen soooooooo many typos its so annoying No Wonder It Was Only 1.99!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Very interesting and adventerous. Buy it!
booksatruestory More than 1 year ago
The first thing that I loved about this book was the writing style. I was immediately immersed in this journal from a maid that felt so authentic. The maid also had me laughing with her honesty. The mythology was so beautiful and unique. I knew where I hoped the plot would go, but I honestly couldn’t tell if that was going to happen. I love it when books make the happily-ever-after impossible! I really connected with the maid who was narrating and felt everything she did. This isn’t really a fairy-tale re-telling. It’s more like the author was inspired by fairy tales and made them her own. Romance, danger, amazing characters, wonderful mythology, and a strong voice all kept me up well into the night. I feel a little speechless after finishing it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It did drag a bit in the beginning, but doesn't every book? It was definitely worth reading, and quite honestly worth considerably more than the 99 cents i paid. Though the story is not comparable, i think Dashti's world was equally intriguing and exciting as Harry Potter's. And more culturally connected! As a person who has never enjoyed history class, and especially dreaded learning about the khans, i wholeheartedly enjoyed learning about the cultures and the mongolian influences illustrated in this book. I mean it when i say its a must-read. I was hardly able to put it down for dinner!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story and plot!! I love to read and this definitely is one of my favorites!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reasd it twice!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a great book that i enjoyed so much! It really keeps you going with "ill just read one more chapter" excuse. Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book and i absolutely love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it you will to