Tuesday 19 February 2008

Teen Version of Fairy Tale

Finished Feburary 19
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
This story is based on one of the lesser known tales by the Grimm brothers, Maid Maleen. Hale has set this story in the area of Mongolia and used that landscape and culture as part of the story's background as well as fleshing it out.
Dashti is born a mucker, living in a felt tent called a gher. After tragedies that decimate her family, Dashti takes their last animal and goes to the nearby city to find a job. Due to her healing skills, she is trained to read and write in order to be a lady's maid to the local lord's daughter.
Immediately upon taking her new position, Lady Saren is placed in a tower with Dashti because of refusing to marry the man her father has picked for her. As Dashti struggles to keep the lady and herself alive in the tower, she does as she is bid by Saren, even to impersonating her to her preferred lover, Tagus. Dashti's strength of mind and sense of loyalty keep the two girls alive until they run out of food and eventually find a way out of the tower.
Dashti leads them to the land of Tagus to bring Saren back to her gentry life and overcomes many obstacles along the way.
The is a beautiful telling of the story, with the characters coming alive before you.
There is some violence, but this book could also be read by younger readers.

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