by Shannon Hale
2007 – Bloomsbury USA
Shannon Hale has a great imagination. I read Princess Academy and was awed by the simple, yet powerful characters and storytelling. This book is right in that vein. It tells the story of Dashti, a young woman of simple means, who pledges herself as a lady’s maid to a young gentlewoman who is being punished for refusing to marry who her father wants her to. Her punishment is to be sealed in a tower for 7 years.
Dashti decides to write down their story in a journal and that is how we hear the story. After three years the food runs out, and the girls break out of their prison to find the world outside has changed drastically. It’s a great adventure, with an admirable heroine. It’s set in an ancient-mongolian type world, which gives it an exotic, earthy feel. It’s very much a fairy tale, but it’s not at all floofy and wimpy. I’m definitely going to read the other books by Ms. Hale.