The Book of a Thousand Days (Shannon Hale)

The Book of a Thousand Days is a fairy tale retelling of Maid Madleen by Shannon Hale.

Plot:
Her father promises Princess Saren to Lord Khasar. But when she refuses to marry him, saying that she wants to marry the Khal Tegus, her father locks her into a tower for seven years, together with her handmaid Dashti. Dashti learned to write and now uses her available time to write a diary about their stay in the tower and their following adventures.

The Book of a Thousand Days is a quick, sweet read. It didn’t make any of my best of lists, but it’s very pleasant. And I just loved the setting in medieval Mongolia.

I have to admit that I don’t think I would have liked the book as much if it had been any longer, especially since the diary form was kinda breaking apart at the end there – it was just a little weird that Dashti would still be able to write in it.

But at the length it was, it was easy to overlook things like that.

And it was a very sweet story. Hale departed quite a bit from the original story, but almost entirely for the better. The biggest change was certainly to transfer the story to medieval Mongolia – and it was a brilliant move. I completely adored the setting and the worldview.

Tegus was a bit lacking in the personality department, but not so much that he was completely cardboard. Khasar remained pure evil, but in a fairy tale I can forgive things like that. And Dashti made up for most of anything anyway because she was a great character.

Summarising: If you want a quick, sweet read, this will be a good choice. But if you don’t read it, you’re not missing too much.

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