4.5 out of 5 StarsThis is a book I’ve heard garner a lot of praise and I love female coming-of-age and female friendship stories. Add a unique premise and a fantasy setting based on Mongolia after the Khans, and I was sold (the fact it was on sale helped too!) This book was everything I hoped it would be and a little more.Based on the Grimm fairytale “Maid Maleen,” Book of a Thousand Days is about Dashti, a resourceful “mucker” who has the bad luck of becoming maid to the Lady Saren. Saren has refused to wed the man her father wanted and, as punishment, the two are walled up in a tower for seven years. As the years go by, Dashti realizes something is wrong, and is determined to leave the tower. But the adventure the girls find beyond the tower walls will test the girls’ courage and friendship.For starters, I LOVED Dashti. She’s the typical middle-grade heroine – resourceful, smart, and resilient - but she’s also a survivor and deeply superstitious. She has a skin condition that marks her as unlucky. However, Dashti doesn’t let her looks deter her from to living a good life nor let setbacks get in her way. Hale uses her background as a peasant healer to explain who she is and why she is that way.I also like how Saren is portrayed. She could have easily been a whiney, bratty spoiled princess, used as a foil to make Dashti look better. But Saren is much more than that. She’s beautiful, not as clever or self-sufficient as Dashti, and can be selfish and self-centered. Even though she was pampered from a young age, Saren didn’t have a happy childhood and suffers from PTSD and depression. Even though she could be unbearable at points, Saren really cares about Dashti, and as she heals shows her own courage and strengths.The setting is wonderful. Hale doesn’t just use Mongolia as a backdrop; she weaves the setting and mythology into her story. I loved learning all the small details about Mongolian life.The other characters are a little flat and the villains are of the mustache-twirling, truly evil variety. No grey area here. It is a middle grade book, but for a book that shows such depth of character for Dashti and Saren, the villains were a bit comical in their SUPER EVILNESS.The book had me glued to the page, especially during the second part. The book does lose a little steam after the climatic showdown. I understand there had to be a tidying up of loose ends and Saren really shines, but the book just lost its momentum. It just started reiterating how Dashti had never really done anything for herself and how self-sacrificing she is. The girl-positive message that was weaved throughout the rest of the book was somewhat ruined. It isn’t out of character, but so many books for young girls have completely selfless female protagonists rewarded for their selflessness. I don’t want the characters to be selfish, but someone who has a goal and goes after what she wants would be a nice change. In real life, selflessness is hardly ever rewarded.On another note (and this in no way affects how I feel about the book itself), the e-book edition of this was TERRIBLE. There were at least 25 errors. Not grammar or spelling errors, but things like ‘v’ instead of ‘w’ or ‘n’ instead of ‘m.’ In at least four instances, ‘I’ll’ was replaced with ‘111.’ It seems like the book was scanned and nobody bothered to proof-read. It was a very sub-par product and I’ll definitely think twice before buying another e-book from Bloomsbury again. If you want to read this book, hunt down a paper copy.Overall, the book was wonderful with two very different, yet very strong heroines, a great setting, and a wonderful story. Something I would recommend for anyone, especially young girls.