Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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.
I read this book before it was even out in many places. Shannon Hale has quickly became one of my favourite young adult novelists. This book worried me at first. It had a bit of a slow start, so I was not even sure if I was going to like it. One of the saving graces was that it did not only take place while they were locked up in a tower. That might be okay for a fairy tale, but for a novel that would be a bit boring! The novel is told in diary-format from Dashti's point of view. Sometimes Dashti annoyed me, I think a lot of it was because she sort of did the predictable things. She was also a bit of a faithful servant at times, she was so loyal that at times she was just plain annoying. Overall, though, I was quite fond of this book by the end. Shannon Hale can tell a decent story. Romance, adventure, royalty, and other elements that make for an interesting fairy tale story.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.


After reading Hale's new novel, I decided it was about time to read her Newbery-award winning book. I have to say, it was another good read! This one was a bit more interesting than The Book of a Thousand Days because it had more going on in it. Hale seems to enjoy the romance elements in her books, though, they almost always play a part. I suppose romance is a fairy tale ending, but that does not mean that it is had to be included. Even if the romance does not always work out, Hale always finds a way to work the element into the novel.

This novel was about Miri and her mountain friends. They had grown up in a secluded area of the kingdom, and were not very well aware of royalty. When the priests predict that the princes new wife will come from this mountainous area, the girls are sent to a Princess Academy to become the women that the prince would be fond of. During the course of the novel, Miri grows as a person. This also happens with Dashi, Hale is very good at writing novels with strong female characters that may not always be aware that the strength is there, but they grow into it. It makes for interesting reading!

Overall, I recommend both of these novels. I just have to readRiver Secrets, and then I will be all caught up in my young adult reading.

2 comments:

I keep meaning to read Shannon Hale. I've actually had a copy of River Secrets sitting on my bookshelf for awhile. Glad to know that you're recommending her. :-)

I don't read much YA material, but both of these sound quite good!

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.

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