Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale's novels are just super. Super super. I was really excited to read this new book, and while it continued the Shannon Hale Superness, I didn't fall in love with it as I did her previous novels. I felt a little slighted and I wonder if it is because I had such high expectations. This re-told Grimm tale takes place in Asia as opposed to a fake European countryside, which is a refreshing change. Another change is that there are illustrations in the book that promise to be outstanding in the published version.

The story is told from the point of view of the maid, not the princess. Unlike the maid, the princess is dull and I often wished Dashti would just dump her and move on. Saren isn't cruel, but she was frustrating for me to believe in. I know the point is that we don't identify with the princess, so it's to Hale's credit that I found her so irritating.

Like in her previous novels, there are kingdoms at war and the girls play a role in bringing about peace. (The kingdoms have fantastic names. I wish I had my copy of the book at hand to write a few down.) Once again we have strong female heroines and a cast of interesting supporting characters. I recommend that first time Shannon Hale readers start with Goose Girl over Book of a Thousand Days. While it is a fine novel (and is -again- more middle-reader than YA), it does fall short of my enthusiasm mark. Now what I'm really waiting for his her graphic novel...

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