WHEN I First Read: When I was twelve or thirteen, I think? I’d just read what existed of the Books of Bayern series and I wanted more Shannon Hale in my life.
WHAT I Remember: Literally nothing. There were two girls in a tower? and then they get out? and one of them falls in love? vaguely Mongolian setting? and there’s a cat? somewhere? maybe? That was pretty much all I remembered. I do know I liked the book, though. Just the memory of reading a Shannon Hale book is enough to give me fuzzy feelings.
WHY I Wanted to Re-Read: I saw a copy at Half-Price Books for one dollar and knew I had to have it. Later, a Twitter friend of mine who was also a Shannon Hale fan mentioned this book, and my need to reread it increased.
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading: Warm fuzzy happy feelings. Dashti is a wonderful heroine with strength and humor and loyalty and compassion, and her voice stands out. She’s human and flawed–she can be naive, get angry, say the wrong things–but she’s such a genuinely good person that I couldn’t help loving her. I think I appreciated Saren more on this reread too–her self-doubt and depression in the first half of the book are painful to read, and I love that narrative portrays her sympathetically even during her lowest moments, and that her eventual growth, small as it may seem, is celebrated. This book is just so good and so underrated and I wish more people knew about it.
WOULD I Re-Read Again: Definitely. As I’ve probably said before, Shannon Hale is a hot-chocolate-and-blankets kind of author.