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.

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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