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Book of a Thousand Days

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  50,263 ratings  ·  6,230 reviews
When Lady Saren refuses to marry a man she fears, she and her maid, Dashti, are locked in a tower with just a tiny flap open to the outside world. As food runs low and the weather changes from broiling hot to unbearably cold, it is all Dashti can do to make them comfortable in their dark prison.

Not long after their confinement begins, Saren's suitors arrive-one welcome, th
Paperback, 308 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published September 1st 2007)
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Mommooshka Yes, it's a YA / Teen book but can still be enjoyed by adults, as I did.…moreYes, it's a YA / Teen book but can still be enjoyed by adults, as I did.(less)
Joanna There is magic, but it's not the "Abracadabra!", point your wand and make things vanish kind; it's more the subtle kind, the kind that changes things …moreThere is magic, but it's not the "Abracadabra!", point your wand and make things vanish kind; it's more the subtle kind, the kind that changes things slowly with the power of heart and soul. If you've read some of Shannon Hale's other books, especially The Goose Girl series, it's kind of similar to that kind of magic -- slow and ordinary, yet bringing with it a touch of something extraordinary.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  50,263 ratings  ·  6,230 reviews

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Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
This was so heartwarming and delightful and powerful and just wow. I loved it so much! I can't wait to read more of Shannon Hale's stuff now, knowing how her writing style is. More thoughts to come in a video review (I've decided that as of next month, rather than filming a monthly wrap up at the end, I will do mini batch reviews instead, that way I can go more into depth!) ...more
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cara by: Valerie
Do you guys know that feeling when you just have finished an astonishingly excellent book? You feel full of life and understanding. It's why as readers we come back and back again and hope this will be the book that gives us that exhilaration. I guess it's akin to a literary high. This book did that for me and more. It deserves more than the five star rating.

Let's see if I'll be able to give a concise review without confusing people. This story is loosely based on an obscure Grimm fairy tale (
Kevin Fanning
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, so, so good.

As I got towards the end I was planning on giving it 4 stars, but then at the very end it surprised me and it was like the book was about something completely other than what I'd been thinking it was about the whole time. It surprised me, and I love well-executed surprises. Thus 5 stars. Not that there was a surprise ending (I don't like those), just that there was a reframing that totally delighted me. I'll say more about it down below if you want, but I'll put them beneath spo
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Oh gosh, I'm going to be obsessed with Shannon Hale now, aren't I? ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice, easy to read book. It offers some interesting images about the Mongolian steeps. The story is sweet and simple. A few twists here and there make it interesting enough to keep reading and it has a satisfying ending, even if not surprising.

I think Shannon Hale manages to create a really charming world by mixing a well known fairy tale with an unexplored setting. I really loved the voice of the main character as it comes through as much when she tells us about her everyday life as when she
Sara ♥
July 30-31, 2009

Ummm... So I started this book at 2:00 am. (Note to self: don't start books at 2:00 am! Are you crazy???) Yeah, I couldn't put it down! I finished at about 7:00. Then my husband woke me up at noon! How rude! Doesn't he realize that reading makes me nocturnal? ;)

Anyway, I started the book, and was like, "Why is this written from the lady's maid's point of view and not from the lady's point of view. Yeah, that becomes very clear within just a few pages. I really loved Dashti—she wa
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: retellings, ya, fantasy
Hale has proved herself adept at finding obscure fairy tales and reworking them in mouth-watering new ways. Her latest offering is based on the little-known "Maid Maleen" by the Brothers Grimm. A lady and her loyal maid are locked in a tower for seven years as punishment for the lady's refusal to marry the man her father wants her to. The story details their imprisonment in the tower and the adventure that follows. Hale's version is told in diary format from the point of view of the maid--Dashti ...more
This was a pleasant, if somewhat simplistic book with a neat conceit, unique setting, but rather uncomplicated characters and a straightforward plot.

First off, the good. I liked the setting of this story, which was heavily influenced by traditional Mongolian lifestyles from ancestor worship, to use of animals, to the cultural practices of the people. It is a pretty fascinating and complex setting that should get more attention from authors. I also liked the two main characters' arcs over the co
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3.5 stars for a cute YA high fantasy. Fans of fairy tale retellings, this is one for you!
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairytales
Quite possibly Shannon's best book! A joyous read, rich with detail and written in the author's inimitible, poetic style. I not only felt a deep connection for the narrator, but also for the male protagonist, and the Mongolia-like world she created was gorgeous to behold. Lovely, lovely, lovely! ...more
Reading Rush: Day 6
Fulfilled the 'read a book set on a different continent from where you live' prompt.
(Though this book is fantasy, the setting was based on medieval Mongolia.)

This was also my seventh and final book for the 2020 Reading Rush.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Sigh. I really, really wanted to love this book because I love Shannon Hale and all my Goodreads friends have given it 5 or 4 stars but... I just didn't.

I didn't like Dashti or Saren. Really, I HATED Saren. More often than not I wanted to beat her head against a rock. She's stupid, annoying, and a terrible person. Dashti, the narrator, wasn't much better. While people who like the book would probably say that she's just fiercely loyal, I found her to be kind of an idiot. I think I would've boug
A charming little read about love, courage and sacrifice that I finished in one sitting.

I loved little Dashti from the very beginning. With a plain face but a great soul she could teach the most hard-hearted of people what it means to be kind and very brave, despite of all your fears.

image from Pinterest

Her "mama also used to say that the mightiest of the healing songs was a good laugh" and that "hitting is the language of cowards and drunkards". So Dashti is trying to protect and to heal, to si
I enjoyed this a lot - so much so that I DIDN'T finish it last night. I wanted to save it so that I would have something to look forward to reading this afternoon. I found myself thinking about the story several times throughout the day and wondering how it might end. I wasn't disappointed. Another great job by Shannon Hale! ...more
JG (Introverted Reader)
As luck would have it, the very day Dashti enters the service of a lady is the very day said lady is bricked into a tower for seven years to learn obedience. Dashti goes along with her to keep her company and take care of her. Between fighting off rats, Lady Saren's torpor, and the unsettling attentions of Saren's two very different suitors, Dashti has her hands full. And that's just the beginning.

I love Dashti. She grows so much in this book! She starts off a simple girl from a simple way of li
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much! But the book is more than a thousand pages so you know. I like the characters and the character development. I loved the love relationship and how brave the protagonist is. She truly is looked upon by the gods! I cannot wait to read more of Shannon Hale books.❤️❤️❤️😍
Book of a Thousand Days was a solid fun read! Some aspects I liked:

- an interesting aesthetic: I don't think I've previously read anything set in the central Asian steppes before
- illustrations made by the author are always a plus!
- the heroine was kinda cool: hard-working, brave, loyal, humble, no-nonsense
- overall: an enjoyable and quick read.

I do have to take a star off, though, because a couple of things felt off:

(view spoiler)
Carla *Jen7waters*


Shannon Hale you mastermind!!!
I cannot believe I had this GEM untouched on my bookshelf for so long---why, why am I an idiot?? Awww, it was so cute, and lovely, and emotional, and fairytale-like! What am I saying? This isn't just fairytale-like, this IS in fact a fairytale retold, and the original is called "Maid Maleen" by the Brothers Grimm. It basically tells the story of two girls, one a princess (not really a princess, but the daughter of a very rich and powerful lord) the ot
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jessica Cave for

Shannon Hale's BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS is a riveting read that allows you to see into the soul of a young girl.

Angry at her for not marrying the ruler of a nearby kingdom, Lady Saren's father locks her and her maid in a tower. He plans to leave them there for seven years. It is Dashti, the maid's, responsibility to keep them fed and in good condition, no matter how hot or how cold it may be.

With evil lords, unresponsive guards, and dreamy suitors kn
Apr 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't have the energy to write a formal or full negative review of this book; however, if you're interested in my major content concerns, please see below for my thoughts in the comments of this review.

There was one scene in this book that outraged me with very inappropriate content. The rest of the book would've been two stars on its own and was meh and indifferent for me, besides being mildly inappropriate and impure as well.

These thoughts are my own opinion, and I have nothing against an
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This particular story has a fairy tale feel to it... and it was incredibly entertaining.

Seven years they were to stay, Lady Saren and her handmaid Dashti. You’d think the first a strong princess, a brave one… another one of those in your face, I’ll do as I please versions of princesses. She’s not. You’d think Dashti, meek and obedient. She is. Despite said fact, it’s still Dashti who shines in this one because the princess was often times too delicate, too soft, too shy… and just not quite all
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls age 13 and up
I loved this Young Adult book! Hooray for Shannon Hale! I probably wouldn't recommend this book to girls under 12, but I think Hale has produced a wonderful heroine for the older teen set. I liked this book better than Princess Academy. I felt the themes were more accessible--everyone can relate to having a crush on someone totally out of your league. And who can’t envision the horror of being betrothed to a grotesque villain or locked up with rats? I loved how the two girls-- Saren, a princess ...more
A true heroine rises from the Grimm Brother ashes.
Hale has created a female character worthy to be loved and adored for a long time to come. She is filled with guts, heart, and soul.
This is a tale of imprisonment, courage, love, romance, fantasy, and one spectacular protagonist.
This is a tale of the silenced being given a voice, of the oppressed fighting their way out of darkness, so they can feel the burn of the sun of life on their skin once again.
It is a tale about the power and magic of wor
Katie Grace
I definitely liked the first half better than the last half (and I'm still convinced that I've read this before), but it was a good book. I love Shannon's writing style and how it's always so fairytale like and amazing. *needs to reread her Books of Bayern series immediately* ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-before-2020
3.5 stars for the book.

A 100 stars for the audiobook narration. A full cast audio and done so well.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading and thoroughly enjoying Goose Girl and Princess Academy, I was excited to see this new young adult novel (another retelling of an obscure fairytale) from Shannon Hale. I was even more excited when I saw that it had been given great reviews so far. Could I possibly enjoy a book from this genre more than Princess Academy? I was anxious to find out.

Well, maybe it was my anticipation that left this book feeling flat. It was readable enough, for sure; the storytelling style (a diary) le
Addy S.
2nd Read Review:

I really enjoyed this book, but there were several things I didn’t enjoy so much about it.

-Romance: some kissing, touching (not in a bad way), smelling, etc. nothing bad here. I actually enjoyed the scenes with romance in them.
-Language: no bad language!!
-Violence: definitely some violence , would recommend book for ages 13+

There was a pretty bad scene where Dashti goes out onto the battlefield and does something very bad. I really had a problem with this, and I did not enjoy it
Faith M:)
I have mixed feelings on this book. Shannon Hale is one of my most favorite authors, so I had huge expectations for this book.

Pros: The culture was really interesting, with the gods, lords, class, setting, etc. The ending was also very good!!! It surprised me!!!

Cons: There were several inappropriate parts in the book, which didn’t need to be added AT ALL. The story would’ve been much better without it.
I also found the book to be very slow. It took a while for the book to go anywhere.

Not my f
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren's years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids.

My copy is coming in a couple of days and I just can't wait!! I loved The Princess Academy and The Goose Girl!! I am sure this will be just as good! Both covers are so good, but I guess mine is more suitable.

This book is based on the Brother
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Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels: the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, and the highly acclaimed Books of Bayern series. She has written three books for adults, including the upcoming Midnight in Austenland (Jan. 2012), companion book to Austenland. She co-wrote the hit graphic novel Rapunzel's Reveng ...more

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