Dashti, a mucker maid, is going to be locked up in a tower with her Lady Saren for seven years. Lady Saren refused to marry a man she did not love, so Dashti must prepare for a rigorous and daunting imprisonment. Soon, Dashti finds rats in the flour and mold on the cheese. It becomes a struggle to survive, and Dashti also must deal with Lady Saren’s two completely different suitors. Dashti must make a choice, for herself, and for Saren.

In Book of a Thousand Days, Shannon Hale brings to life the tale of Maid Maleen. Set in an area much like Mongolia, the Eight Realms, Hale creates up a social system very different than our own. Some realms are ruled by women, which rarely happened at the time. Hale strives to combine reality with magic, and focuses not on the princess, but on the dirty maid. Hale questions arranged marriage and encourages independence and hard work through the determined character of Dashti. Throughout the book, Hale carries a message of hope and fortitude.

Hale succeeded in her message, and inspires girls to be stronger. Although Dashti often had an attitude of servitude, she prevails with her competing attitude of perseverance. Dashti challanges unfair but long used customs of arranged marriage, a lesson for girls. Most adapted fairy tales focus on the princesses, but Dashti is in no way a princess. She knows how to work, and Hale attempts to show a different kind of heroine .

Book of a Thousand Days is a valuable book in today’s world of Clique and Gossip Girl novels. It has a message that supports girls for who they are, while telling an entrancing tale. Despite not having that much action to attract reluctant readers, after a couple chapters, the book picks up. In today’s society, any book with a strong girl main character that doesn’t do drugs or make bad decisions is extremely valuable.

I’m very excited about this book because Shannon Hale is coming near me in January. The book raises a few questions for me that would be great to ask her.

Shannon Hale has also written five other books; Austenland, River Secrets, Princess Academy, Enna Burning, and The Goose Girl. She has been heralded as one of the best living fantasy authors of the day. She won a Newbery Honor for Princess Academy.

I adored Book of a Thousand Days because it was a fantasy with not too much magic. I’m not a huge fantasy person, if only because I like to delve into a character’s feelings. Many fantasies don’t do that, and focus more on the magic. Book of a Thousand Days has characters with realistic, understandable feelings that draw you in to the fairy tale.