When a beautiful princess refuses to marry the prince her father has chosen, her father is furious. So furious he locks her in a tower. She has seven long years of solitude to think about her insolence. But the princess is not entirely alone - she can take her maid, Dashti. Petulant and spoilt, the princess eats the food in their meagre store as ...
When a beautiful princess refuses to marry the prince her father has chosen, her father is furious. So furious he locks her in a tower. She has seven long years of solitude to think about her insolence. But the princess is not entirely alone - she can take her maid, Dashti. Petulant and spoilt, the princess eats the food in their meagre store as if she were still at court, and Dashti soon realizes they must either escape or slowly starve. But during their captivity, clever and resourceful Dashti discovers that there is something far more sinister behind her princesses fears of marrying of the prince, and when, finally, they do break free from the tower, they find a land laid to waste and the kingdom destroyed.They were safe in the tower, now they are at the mercy of the evil prince. But this maid is a force to be reckoned with. Thrilling, captivating, and a masterful example of storytelling at its best. The princess' maid is a feisty and thoroughly modern heroine, in this wonderfully timeless story.
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This is the third Shannon Hale novel I've read, and I really liked it. It is the retelling of the little-known Grimm tale "Maid Maleen." The thing which made it unusual and interesting to me was the setting: a fairy-tale version of ancient Mongolia. All of the set pieces (costumes, landscape, etc.) are realistically drawn, with just a dash of magic thrown in.
Dashti is a likably human heroine, with her plucky resolve and her evolving world-view. She is loyal, honest, kind, brave, and practical, with a silly sense of humor, but she is also fallible and breakable. Her childhood living in a gher on the steppes, and learning the healing songs from her mother, is told in snapshot flashbacks. It adds layers to the framework for her present-day circumstances, informing her actions and decisions. I really enjoyed reading her adventures. This would make a very interesting and colorful film, and I think it could do well in that medium.
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