I’ve read other Shannon Hale novels before such as, Goose Girl and Princess Academy. I really enjoyed her re-telling of the goose girl fairytale with Princess Anidori-Kiladra. I’ve always found Shannon Hale’s style of writing to be very fluid and unique with a sort of dreamlike quality.
One thing I didn’t really like: the little illustrations in the book. I prefer to imagine things myself. But, this didn’t detract me from enjoying the actual story.
Book of a Thousand Days took me half a day to read because I didn’t have the willpower to put it down once I started. I suspected as muchhappening. After work on Saturday, I went to the library just to browse around and smell the book smell and mingle with other book-lovers. I told myself: “Sharry, you can’t borrow any books today. You know what happens when you borrow books. Everything else gets put to the side, and you really must start on your chemistry lab report today.” Alas, I gave in and borrowed a few harmless books. As evening rolled around, I was at an impasse. I had thought to read the first few diary entries and call myself satisfied for the day and do the responsible thing. But, absolutely no way can a chemistry lab report’s sense of duty overwhelm a tantalizingly delicious story.
Of course, after having somehow read the book through (finishing it sometime around 3AM the same day), I finally went to sleep. Then, I believe, I dreamed about it a little, which was kind of neat. Something to do with a Tower that’s for sure. And the next day, I spent a good hour reading all about Shannon Hale on her own website, which I’m surprised I hadn’t done yet.
Okay, back to talking about the actual novel. I loved it. She did a real good job with the first person diary. I also got a good sense of the Eight Realms, the world that Dashti lives in, even more so then the worlds in Shannon Hale’s earlier books. Dashti herself is charming and courageous. I sort of see an interesting parallel between this novel and The Goose Girl. In The Goose Girl, Ani is timid and shy, afraid to take up her role as Crown Princess and thus letting Selia, who seems more worthy in that she is more confident and ambitious, almost take over her identity. Only when Ani gains the courage to step up does she truly earn her right to be the Crown Princess. Book of a Thousand Days presents a similar situation. Lady Saren, mostly cowed by her fear of Lord Khasar, doesn’t step up. She fores Dashti to obey her and do all the tough stuff that comes with being high-ranking gentry. In this story, Dashti’s courage and faith are what earn her the happy ending that would make her Mama slap her chest with joy.
The gods of the Eight Realms were interesting too. Somewhere near 3/4 of the book, I thought Shannon Hale was somehow going to make Dashti the Lady who represents Under, the god of trickery. I guess because she came from a family that didn’t belong to a clan. But, I like how the aspects of how the gods manifested themselves in the story. I may be pushing it, but it reminded me of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series (The bells, the swords, Mogget, the Dog). I loved that series.
Shannon Hale – keep on writing! I love your work!
*Sigh* My mind is kind of groggy right now (sheepishly looks at the lab manual shoved to the side in favor of a pile of non-scientific books), I had to wake up early to go to my volunteer work. I wish I could spend a few hours to work on my story, but those few hours will turn into the rest of the day, and then my lab report will never get done. My mind’s still in fantasy story mode. Shall I write a bit? Maybe I will…
Rating: 5/5 Soul-stirring Songs