Review: Book Of a Thousand Days

Author: Shannon Hale

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, Children’s Books

Copyight date: 2007

Pages: 320

Format: Young Adult Fantasy

Reason for Reading: I was looking for a book outside my normal comfort zone.

Rating: A


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.

My Thoughts:

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.

Awards won:

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.)


About Margot

I'm also known as Joyfully Retired. I love to talk. I love to talk about books I've read, movies I've seen, places I've traveled to, people (especially my children and grandchildren), and Food. On the Quirky Girls Read blog I'm trying to read all the books that have won the major awards and then, of course, talk about them.
This entry was posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Posts by Margot and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Review: Book Of a Thousand Days

  1. As you know I loved this book, but I have loved every Shannon Hale book I have read. She also has a book for adults that is very cute, “The Actor and The Housewife.”

  2. jehara says:

    I really enjoy books based on old tales or mythology. This book sounds right up my alley.

    I’ve only listened to one full cast audio book. They are pretty cool! They definitely bring the story to life. It is almost like listening to a movie.

    • Margot says:

      This was my first Full Cast Audio and I’ll definitely look for others by them. I usually transfer audios to my ipod but for this one I put it on the cd player in the living room. We have surround sound and it couldn’t have been a nicer experience. My brain cast the various cast members and thus it played well in my imagination.

  3. izzybella says:

    Oh, wow!! This sounds great-am definitely adding this to my list.

    Side note, I LOVE full cast audio books. Last ones I listened to were the Dark Materials books from Pullman. It’s such a GREAT way of drawing you into the story.

    So based on your review, I’m going to see if I can find the audio for my work commute!!

    Good call, M!

    • Margot says:

      I just checked my library’s on-line catalog and they have Dark Materials. It’s not in Full Cast audio but in hardback. Although the Full Cast audios are a little pricey, it would make a nice gift to the library after I’m done listening to it. Thanks for the suggestion

  4. Bumbles says:

    I just recently heard of this somewhere in the blogosphere – the concept intrigued me. I am finding that I apparently enjoy retellings/reworkings of fairy tales! Who knew?

    I think that an audio of this genre would be enjoyable for me. I tried an audio once on a road trip of a non-fiction book and I almost fell asleep (I wasn’t driving!). A spirited tale that whisks you away, one that was likely originally told out loud in storytelling form, sounds perfect for that mode of reading – er listening.

    • Margot says:

      Back in my other life (the one where I worked for a living), I had to travel a lot and sometimes by car. I used audiobooks to keep me sane and awake. However, non-fiction didn’t work for me either. A very good story did the trick. The travel time just flew by.

  5. bermudaonion says:

    I’m not familiar with that fairy tale, but you’ve convinced me that this book is worth reading. Don’t you love it when a book outside of your comfort zone surprises you like that?

    • Margot says:

      I do love it when I can be pleasantly surprised by a book I’m unsure of. I’m not sure I will become a full-blown lover of fantasy, but this was a good toe-dipper.

  6. Heather says:

    I hear this one is good and your review says so too. But I have to admit that I haven’t been absolutely amazed by three of the books I have read of hers. So I’ve been hesitant to try another…maybe I’ll have to for this one.

    • Margot says:

      I sorry the other Hale books didn’t work for you, Heather. This was my first one so I can only speak to Book Of a Thousand Days. But you and I both know that some books just don’t work for everybody. It would be a very dull world if we all had to like the same book.

  7. I’m a huge fan of Hale and I still need to read this one which I will do this year. Your review was wonderful!!

  8. Sounds lovely–I’ll have to look it up. I know I’ve read others by the same author before, although I don’t recall now which they were. I’ve got a full-cast set of the Narnia books, and they’re so much fun to listen to.

  9. kaye says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book I think Shannon Hale is a very imaginative and vivid author. I’ve never tried the full-cast audio, it sounds wonderful. I’ll have to ask about it at my library. Nice review, and I really like the way you replied to each comment. It feels like a discussion. I think this page was a good idea.

    • Margot says:

      You are right about Shannon Hale being imaginative and vivid. It was a pleasure to read her book. You commented on my blog that you belong to a book club that reads the Whitneys. So – I went in search of books that won the Whitneys. I chose this one when I saw Jill’s (Rhapsody) review and recognized the author as one of the Whitney winners. I’m so glad you mentioned the awards. Any other awards you like, Kaye?

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