18 Dec 2011


When a beautiful Lady  refuses to marry the Lord her father has chosen, her father is furious. So furious he locks her in a tower with her maid.

But the maid realises there is something deeply sinister behind her Lady's fear of the Lord, something which means they could be in danger beyond the walls of the tower than imprisoned within them.......
...... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Day 1): My lady and I are being shut up in a tower for seven years.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 91): ..... But I laid her out on the open steppes under the Eternal Blue Sky, with her feet pointed to the Sacred Mountain so her soul would know which way to walk.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: No, this is one for the charity shop.

A bit older than the average reader of this, The Book Of A Thousand Days (you can read the first few pages by clicking HERE) is aimed at a teenage audience, I found myself wondering just what all the fuss was about, just why did teenagers find this book, a Whitney Awards Best Speculative Fiction winner in 2007, so enjoyable?

The story of a lady, Saren and her maid, a 'mucker' called Dashti, the novel is based on Maid Maleen, a fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm, and is told in diary format - if only I could decide which made the most mundane reading  the one sentence entries OR the entries that went on for page after page?

Expecting something truly magical, a 'spellbinding story of love, fear, courage, and one true heroine' I was disappointed from the start, finding the plot plodding, the pen and ink illustrations poor, unimaginative and unexciting and as for the characters? I did not connect with a single one of them.

No, not even the 'big reveal' (not that I'm going to tell you what that was),  as unexpected as it was, did anything to improve my flagging interest. Coming too late in the story, it was just too little too late, a bit of a damp squib really, I think the author could have made a lot more of this.

But what I liked least of all was the lack of detail. Ok, so the illustrations provided some clues (as did the alternative cover pictured right) but it seemed to me that the author had 'borrowed' from so many different myths and legends (she acknowledges that she had to take liberties in her quest to find Dashti's story) that it became confusing (perhaps Hale had taken a liberty too far) as to just what the characters were all about, what made them the people they were. Not important it could be argued but I like to picture my characters in my head and I'm afraid I just couldn't get a clear image of any of them.

The 105th book read for my 100+ Reading Challenge, this was not a novel without its moments, beautiful in places as my Memorable Moment shows, though all things considered I was disappointed with it.


Arti said...

The outer back seemed to suggest that the book was a kind of thriller and I looked forward to your review!!
Sadly it turned out to be a fans squib...
Hope your Christmas decorations are going well, Have a wonderful week ahead Tracy:)

joan said...

hi thanks for link to your friends blog, the crochet doughnuts look fab , i'm going over to get the pattern now

John McElveen said...

I like the feet pointed at the way her soul was supposed to walk before her boinked her. Or am I misreading that in my own perverse mind! LOL


Vivienne said...

Oooh I thought this one was supposed to be good! Not sure if I want to read it now.

Kelly said...

Haha, John read that part one way and I read it another - that she was laid out in death.

I think you've convinced me to skip this one.

Suko said...

Thanks for your honest review. The lack of details would probably bother me as well.

On a different note, I'm really enjoying your virtual Advent calendar. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I've read a few books by Shannon Hale and I've always gotten a similar feeling from them as your review. I think I read this one--the characters and the plot sounds familiar, though the title I don't recognize. It wasn't particularly memorable, I guess. :P

Mama Zen said...

I definitely think I'll be skipping this one!

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

judging from the title and cover i thought this one supposed to be good!

thanks for another great review!

wising a great week ahead.


anilkurup said...

If it was easy to captivate the readers of all genre, we all could have been a Tolstoy or a Dickens. The art is limited to a few and it is best we be enthralled by their works. Mediocrity will always become visible after a while.
The openings may be wonderful and bring much anticipation but as it moves on the author fails miserably.
Don't you think so?

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Ah... too many ideas and no direction. I can sympathize with both the reader and the writer. ;)

naida said...

thats too bad it dissapointed. I have The Goose Girl by this author but havent gotten to it yet.

Jenners said...

I'm often at a loss when I read books meant for teens.