Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, Children’s Books
Copyight date: 2007
Format: Young Adult Fantasy
Reason for Reading: I was looking for a book outside my normal comfort zone.
There once was a lady’s maid named Dashti. She was a Mucker, which is the lowliest of common people. Although she was a Mucker, she was smart, courageous, and very resourceful.
Dashti was a maid to the beautiful Lady Saren. Lady Saren’s father pledged her to marry a very powerful but evil leader, Lord Khasar. Lady Saren refused. She wanted to marry Khan Tegus, a handsome young ruler of another kingdom.
Lady Saren’s father was so angry that he locked Lady Saren and Dashti into a tower with no means of escape. He gave them enough food, candles and wood for seven years, but there was no way they could see the sky or the earth.
Gradually, Lady Saren became despondent and sick in mind and spirit. Dashti remained hopeful, and faithfully served Lady Saren.
After a few years, the country around the tower changed. Although they could not see it, the girls heard fighting and then they heard nothing. Guards no longer brought them fresh milk or cheese or meat. There was no news of what was happening. They became desperate to find a way to escape.
I don’t want to spoil it by telling you the whole story. What I’ve told you so far is half the tale. If Dashti and Lady Saran should escape from the tower, they must still face Lord Khasar. He is still roaming the countryside killing and mutilating everything. I will warn you that Lord Khasar is more than just an evil man. Dasti must use all of her intelligence and courage to keep herself and her Lady safe and alive. The handsome Khan Tegus will play a role in the second half of the story, and provide a bit of romance.
Book Of a Thousand Days is based on an old fairy tale, Maid Maleen, from the Brothers Grimm. The author, Shannon Hale, took the basics and set it in another place and time and created a spellbinding adventure tale that is also a romantic fantasy.
I absolutely fell in love with the character of Dashti. She was plucky and strong, and cared for those less fortunate than herself. She always held out hope that everything would turn out fine. The title of the book (Thousand Days) refers to the journal kept by Dashti, so she is the first person narrator throughout the story.
I listened to this book on audio, although this was much more than a simple audiobook. It was a Full Cast Audio production that reminded me of the radio dramas I listened to as a girl. (See their website here: Full Cast Audio.)
Chelsea Mixon was the voice of Dashti and the narrator. Her voice was filled with just the right emotion and enthusiasm. When she sang the healing songs, I felt calmed and healed. In addition to Chelsea, I counted over 20 additional members in the cast. I liked that each character in the story had it’s own voice. It made the whole book was vibrant and alive.
Although this was a book outside my usual genre comfort zone, I can see why it is an award winner. It just so happens that Book Of a Thousand Days has the distinction of having won two book awards:
1. Winner: Best Speculative Fiction 2007, Whitney Awards
The Whitney Awards are given annually for novels by LDS (Latter Day Saints) authors. The Whitney Awards are a semi-independent non-profit organization affiliated with the LDStorymakers, a guild for LDS authors. Website: Whitney Awards
2. Winner: Young Adult 2007, Cybils Awards (Children’s and Young Adult Blogger’s Literary Awards)
The Cybils Awards are given each year by book bloggers for the year’s best children’s and young adult titles. Judges consist of book bloggers who post primarily about children’s and young adult books. Website: The Cybils
This will not be the last Shannon Hale book I read. I’ve already put a couple of her other books on reserve at the library: Princess Acadamy is another award winner and Calamity Jack is a graphic novel she did with her husband. Information on this amazing author can be found here: Shannon Hale
Check your local library for a copy of Book Of a Thousand Days. It’s also available at Amazon in paperbook version, Kindle e-book version and in the Full Cast Audio version. (I am an Amazon Associate.)