Dashti, a mucker maid, is going to be locked up in a tower with her lady, Saren, for seven years. Lady Saren refused to obey her father in his attempts to arrange her marriage, so Dashti must prepare for a long and despairing imprisonment. Soon, Dashti finds rats in the flour and mold on the cheese. It becomes a struggle to survive, and Dashti must also deal with Lady Saren’s two very different suitors. Dashti must make a choice to save herself and her mistress. Once they do escape the confines of their prison, they are still far from being out of danger. They have found the kingdom ravaged and destroyed. Dashti is the only person who can save those she loves and save the kingdom… but will she die in the process?
In The Book of a Thousand Days, Shannon Hale combines reality with magic, and focuses not on the princess, but on the maid. She encourages independence and hard work through the example of the main character, Dashti. With enough Clique and Gossip Girls books in the media today, she has created a different kind of heroine. Although Dashti often has an attitude of humble servitude as suits her class, she prevails with virtue, loyalty, bravery, honesty and selflessness. Through this story, Hale encourages girls to be stronger.
Rated: None. There is some very mild violence in the “danger/action” sequences. And there is one very vague sexual reference.