Review – Book of a Thousand Days (Shannon Hale)

Listen to this narration while you read!

Key words: fantasy, adventure, diary fiction, friendship, romance, growing up, royalty, illustrated, stand-alone, 2007.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
The edition I read as a child.

This is honestly one of my favourite books ever. No, I’m not being hyperbolic. If someone asked me what books I would bring if I was stuck on a desert island, I’d choose Book of a Thousand Days. Twice. (Then I’d bring Little Women, but that’s a story for another post.)

The story is written like a diary, which means its genre is ‘diary fiction’. Adding a bit of spice, the author Shannon Hale decided to create her own world: The Eight Realms. This world prays to seven gods, all of whom represent different things (e.g. Under is the god of mischief). Every kingdom is named after a different god or goddess. One of the kingdoms is named after Titor, god of animals. This is where the majority of the story takes place!

Shannon "buy stuff from ur local bookshop" Hale on Twitter: "More interiors of  BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS. 10 years later, I still feel honored that I got to  tell this story… "
One of Dashti’s drawings (this is her self-portrait!)

The main character, Dashti, is a strong and wise teenager who finds herself trapped in a tower for seven years. Trapped with her is Lady Saren, the Lady of Titor’s Garden. Dashti is Lady Saren’s maid. Because of this, she takes care of Saren and pretty much does all the work around the tower (cooking, cleaning etc.). Not gonna lie, you’ll probably be annoyed by Lady Saren a few times. However, she develops into a braver and more self-realised person, as does Dashti. In fact, I’d say that this book is one of the best examples of character development I’ve ever read!

Without revealing too much, I will describe what’s in this book: war, royal romance, executions, wolves, jokes about ankles (it makes sense in context) and an adorable cat named ‘My Lord’. Plus, Dashti adds her own drawings into the diary, which allows us an even closer glimpse into her life.

A map of The Eight Realms

Dashti’s descriptive language is also something to behold. I’d estimate that the way she writes about the world influenced 30% of my own writing style. It’s just so unique! She describes people as having ‘kind eyes’ and uses wonderful phrases like “Ancestors, forgive me”. Some of the most delightful parts of the story are when Dashti sings. Instead of singing full songs, she instead crafts little poems that heal and comfort. Literally. Her songs genuinely heal people, it’s amazing.

Look, I cannot overemphasise how much this book means to me. If you read it, hit me up; I desperately need someone to talk to about this gem of a story!

This is a great fantasy diary, meaning that Felipe and Jenny adore this book! They cannot recommend it enough.

Review – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Jeff Kinney)

Listen to this narration while you read!

Keywords: diary fiction, comedy, light-reading, male protagonist, illustrations, middle school setting, slice of life, series, first book.

The first book’s cover.

Since this is one of the most popular kid’s books EVER, I’m sure you’ve heard of this. If you haven’t, it’s pretty simple: the book is the diary of Greg Heffley, a middle-schooler with a wacky family and a wackier life.

Before we go on, I need to say that I read through these books voraciously as a child (and I still do!). Because of that, I might be juuuust a bit biased. I have fond memories of this book, so it will be difficult of me to think of any flaws. It seems perfect to me!

Greg is a fun protagonist. As you read his diary, you realise that he’s a bit of a snob! He has a lot to learn about life. For example, he cares deeply about becoming popular at school but goes about it in a very…um, interesting way. He grows as a person, though! From acting selfishly to doing something great for his best friend (won’t tell you what!), Greg is a main character that feels like a real person. That’s very important, especially for fictional characters!

There are also hilarious illustrations throughout the book. Here’s an example:

This is such a mood.

This is a funny, light-hearted diary with plenty of pictures. Both Jenny and Alfie recommend this!