Friday, October 12, 2007

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

I always say that my favorite book in the letters/journal format is Dear Mr. Hensahw by Beverly Cleary. It does what few others do: the narrative reads the way a child's writing does, and the entries improve over the course of the book, become richer in language as the writer gets the hang of it.

This book does that, and it's almost its downfall- the first entries a little boring. Once the story gets going, the entries become less and less like what what a real diary sounds like, but by that point, I didn't care because I was so wrapped up in Dashti's story.

Sur La Lune lists this as a Sleeping Beauty story, and I've lent out my copy, so I don't have Hale's afterward in front of me, but I think she references a more obscure Grimm tale. I loved the fact that they were in a decidedly non-European setting. The biggest clue to the Asian steppe location is in the drawings of the people, and may kids will miss it, but that's okay. What I enjoyed most about this book was that I really wasn't sure how it would end. Even when there were still quite a few pages under my right thumb, I wasn't convinced Dashti was out of danger. All in all, it was a very satisfying read.

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