Book of a Thousand Days

Shannon Hale has another winner with Book of a Thousand Days.

Dashti is a mucker, that is a person of the Steppes who has the power to heal with song, who finds herself as a ladies made. Unfortunately she has the bad luck to become a ladies maid the same day her mistress, Lady Saren, is locked up in a tower for seven years because she refused to marry the man her father told her to. (Talk about a crappy first day on the job...) Lady Saren claimed that she was already betrothed to another - Kahn Tegus. Dashti writes in a book over the course of their entrapment. Sometimes a year will go by without her writing, other times only hours.

The story is based on the Brother's Grimm tale "Maid Maleen" which I must confess I am not familiar with at all. The story reminded me of both The Goose Girl and Princess Academy. (Coincidentally I had borrowed both of those books from library in Toronto and just bought them recently and I'll be buying this one after it comes out in paperback. I've also read Enna Burning although I didn't enjoy it as much as her other books. Haven't read River Secrets yet.)

I think my only problem with this book is that I read it too quickly - I gulped it down in just a few hours. I don't how Hale does it but her writing is positively entrancing and before I know it I'm more than a hundred pages in and can't even begin to think about putting down the book before it's finished.

If I had known that I'd be able to get this from the library before I made my Once Upon a Challenge list I would have added it to my list. Since one of the books on my Once Upon a Time Challenge II list is no longer available to me (Holidays are Hell) I've decided to count this as a challenge book. I hadn't originally planned to but it fit, was read in the right period and hey, I'm allowed one substitution right? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

If anyone has it on their lists do yourself a favour and move it to the top of your reading pile.