Friday, October 12, 2007

Book of a Thousand Days

So I finished it on Tuesday, but didn't get around to reviewing it until now.

Book of a Thousand Days
Shannon Hale, 306 pages, 2007

Dashti is Lady Saren's maid, and the two of them have been locked in a tower for seven years because Lady Saren refuses to marry the suitor her father has chosen for her. While they are shut away, Dashti keeps a book of remembrance and records the details of their captivity -- good conditions that turn harsh and the visits of both the lovable and despicable suitors to Lady Saren.

Overall, Hale does very well with the diary form. I'm sure writing that way is devilishly tricky. I mean, it just seems like it would be very hard to keep both suspense and the authenticity when writing in diary form. Meg Cabot had to resort to some unrealistic writing times to keep Mia's story suspenseful. At one point, Shannon Hale loses a bit on the authenticity side when her Dashti records one too many hints about one of the story's mysteries. It was not credible that our quick-thinking, practical, resourceful and sensitive main character didn't pick up on what she herself wrote.

Because of that incident, I found the story a tad predictable. Don't get me wrong -- it was still quite fulfilling. I couldn't put the book down. (It helps that "just one more chapter" isn't ever more than a few pages; that feeds the JOMC syndrome.) Character development was great -- main and minor characters were very believable, and the character growth that both Dashti and Lady Saren go through is quite credible.

As I tried to think of some kind of final description for this book, I decided: Very comfortable. It might just be because I've read five other Shannon Hale books, but I think that even though this book is set in a whole new fantasy realm, it is a good, comfy choice to add to the collection. Fun, romantic, and adventurous.

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