This was fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone, a great summer read. Probably my favorite Shannon Hale book, which is saying a lot as I enjoyed both Princess Academy and Goose Girl.
This Mongolian/Chinese fairy tale is a cross between Rapunzel and Cinderella. The story is told in diary form by a maid named Dashti who agrees to be locked in a tower for seven years with the Lady she serves. Dashti became such a real character through the diary and is a heroine that is worthy of respect and admiration. Shannon Hale always has strong female characters, but Dashti now has a special place in my heart.
The story is told beautifully. The characters are memorable. The setting is thoroughly unique and believable. (In fact, I thought the story was based on real legends/mythology and was shocked to discover Hale made most of it up!) The plot is seamless. The resolution is satisfying.
I highly recommend this book to girls both young and old. Wonderful book!