Book Review #5: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Hello Dear Reader!

I hope you all have been practicing all recommended actions in order to protect yourself and others from getting the virus. Being a shut-in has been tough, but thankfully I still have online classes, this blog, writing, and reading books to keep me busy. Not to mention I’ll also be able to step out into the outside world once every day Monday through Thursday because of my internship. I am in need of some really bright sunshine.

That aside, this review will be on Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. Let me just preface this review by saying I haven’t been brought to tears (of joy) by a book in so long! I enjoyed reading this book that much! I bought this book on a whim at 2nd & Charles, and I’m really happy I did.

Anyway, onto the review!

Book of a Thousand Days is a romance novel set in a fictional setting that consists of eight realms, each one representing the eight gods of the religion that the people in this book follow. It’s also a romance novel written in the first person in a diary-like format. In addition to this, the romance isn’t even the main focus of the book for the good majority of it, but it was incorporated so well. So, if you like a romance novel written in the first-person diary-like format where the romance isn’t even the main focus of the entire book, then this one is definitely for you. Even if it isn’t, I definitely recommend you give it a try because there is so much more to it than its main genres. 

Before I get into that, I’d like to show you the synopsis of Book of a Thousand Days:

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, the other less so—and she orders Dashti to speak to them. Impersonating Lady Saren is a crime punishable by death, but Dashti will have to play the role many times if she is to save them both from the tower and the dangers outside. As she takes control of their desperate situation, Dashti begins to understand her own astonishing talents and believe that even a low-born maid can find true love.

End synopsis, which I should really take lessons from because I can’t write a good concise one to prevent spoilers and save my life. Anyway, time for that review!

The main protagonist and story-teller of this book is the ever kind-hearted, strong-willed mucker maid Dashti. Honestly, this girl deserves the entire world! Born with the mark of bad luck on her face and blotches on one of her hands, Dashti was never considered that pretty by others and even herself, but she really doesn’t ever mind it. She’s a smart girl who has loads of patience, which is evident whenever she’s taking care of her gentry, Lady Saren. Dashti is also quite the singer and knows many healing songs sung by muckers like herself. In fact, she is so talented that a fellow mucker girl in the book claims that Dashti has something special about her singing that she’s never seen before. She’s also sprightly and humorous in character and always looks at the glass half-full, always taking every opportunity that would provide her benefit while leaving others unharmed.

As this book is written in a diary-like fashion, there isn’t much said about other characters in Book of a Thousand Days with the exception of Lady Saren. That’s because Dashti is her maid and she’s literally with her every single day. It’s hard to avoid each other when the both of them are locked in a tower. While the other characters in the book rarely talk and get any screen time, Hale does an amazing job of developing them, especially Lady Saren. Khan Tegus is also a really well-developed character who I can’t help but fall in love with even though he doesn’t appear all that much in the novel. Hale also did a fantastic job of writing a female character I absolutely hated, which I believe was her intention.

The character wasn’t very nice, especially to Dashti. Let’s just leave it at that.

The world Book of a Thousand Days takes place in also wasn’t referenced or described much because of the diary format, but Hale masterfully wove bits and pieces of the world that the reader would need to know in order to understand more about the characters, their culture and traditions, and what critical events are happening in their world. Having Dashti talk about all of it in her own unique voice made the setting so entertaining to learn about. Though not so intricately described, I could still see the eight realms clearly in my head. I love the concept of there being eight realms, each representing one of the eight gods that watch other the people, the land, and all it provides. The mucker healing songs are also a unique idea I haven’t come across, and with me being a singer, I enjoyed reading a book that referenced music all throughout.

Before I get to rating this book, let me say one thing. While romance isn’t at the complete core of Book of a Thousand Days—at least in my opinion—it is still very sweet and well-developed and addressed and incorporated smoothly into the story.

So, Book of a Thousand Days rating: 

10/10 and will probably read again in the distant future so I can soak it all in as if I’m reading it for the first time. I really enjoyed this book. It’s been so long since I’ve read a story that kept me wanting more and made me want to keep reading despite all the other things lined up for my day. The main protagonist is charming, the story is incredible, and the romance is sweet and wholesome. I really recommend you give this book a try even if it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea. You might like it.

Thanks for reading!

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