Friday, November 30, 2012

First Line Friday No. 16

Welcome back to First Lines!

Shannon Hale blew me away with her debut novel, The Princess Academy, and though I haven't had as much time to read until this year, I've kept track of her and what she's been penning.  I will say, the title of the book we're talking about today didn't draw me in and I think the reason why is that it doesn't sound like the story it is enclosing.

Book of a Thousand Days is a re-imagining (broadly) of an ancient Eastern tale -- Mongolia, a princess and a serving maid, an evil warlord (who just might not be entirely human) and the problem of status in a land where pretending to be someone you're not might end in death.

The cover and title made me think it was something along the lines of American history and, frankly, I don't read much of that any more (having consumed a shockingly high number of American historical novels growing up).  So...I guess the lesson here is, "Don't judge a book by its cover and/or title"?  (Although if I'd seen the other covers, I might have picked it up sooner!)

And now, without further ado, let us peek into the life of one Dashti, serving maid to a lady of high standing:

"My lady and I are being shut up in a tower for seven years.

Lady Saren is sitting on the floor, staring at the wall, and hasn't moved even to scratch for an hour or more.  Poor thing.  It's a shame I don't have fresh yak dung or anything strong-smelling to scare the misery out of her.

The men are bricking up the door, and I hear them muttering and scraping cement.  Only a small square of unbricked sky and light still gape at me.  I smile back at its mean grin to show I'm not scared.  Isn't it something, all this trouble they're going to for us?  I feel like a jewel in a treasure box, though my lady is the --

My lady suddenly awoke from her stupor and sprang at the door, clawing at the bricks, trying to shove her way out.  How she screamed!  Like an angry piglet."

-- from Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Reasons to Read:

1.  Um...shut in a tower for seven years?  I must see how this turns out.
2.  Who is Lady Saren?  Why is she being shut up in a tower?
3.  Fresh yak dung?  To "scare away" misery?  What other crazy beliefs does this serving-maid have??
4.  I like this serving-maid -- she grins back at something scary.  She's strong.
5.  I can just picture the Lady screaming like a piglet.  I'm...giggling, although I know they're in danger!

This book sucked me right in and I read the entire story in one sitting (I even took it to a friend's house to finish it...yeah, I'm that friend).

Does the unnamed narrator's story tug at your curiosity? 

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday -- with a review!

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