Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Posted by Simcha 10:21 PM, under | 6 comments


She can whisper to horses and communicate with birds, but the crown princess Ani has a difficult time finding her place in the royal family and measuring up to her imperial mother. When she is shipped off to a neighboring kingdom as a bride, her scheming entourage mounts a bloody mutiny to replace her with a jealous lady-in-waiting, Selia, and to allow an inner circle of guards more power in the new land. 

Barely escaping with her life, Ani disguises herself as a goose girl and wanders on the royal estate. Does she have the pluck to reclaim her rightful place? 



I have read several of Shannon Hales’s books and I’ve enjoyed them all, but so far The Goose Girl is my favorite.

Hales’s The Goose Girl is based on the Grimm’s fairy tale of the same name, about a princess who is sent off to be married to a prince in a far-off kingdom, and on the way is attacked by her lady’s maid and forced to switch places . Hales’s story closely follows the original tale, even using the same names for several of the characters, and so those who are already familiar with the fairy tale won’t face too many surprises here. For this reason I was glad that I only knew the story vaguely so that I was able to enjoy the suspense as events unfolded, but I do think that even readers who already know what to expect will still find the story entertaining and delightful.

Princess Anidori-Kiladra, or Ani, is a wonderful character who had a large part in bringing this 19th-century fairy tale to life. At the start of the story Ani is unhappy and full of self-doubt about her ability to be as a successful a ruler as her mother, though when that role is given to her brother instead, Ani is understandably hurt and confused. Instead Ani is sent off to be married to a faceless prince in a distant kingdom, though she never makes it to her prince due to the treachery of those she had relied on for protection. But as Ani faces one challenge after another she comes to discover her own unexpected strengths and sources of happiness which will eventually lead her to be the kind of queen that her new kingdom needs. 

I enjoyed following along with Ani on her journey of self-discovery and meeting some of the companions who join her on that journey.

While we don’t get to know the prince as well as I would have liked, I enjoyed the scenes between the two of them and the sweet way their romance develops, though they know it’s impossible due to their (seemingly) different ranks. And I especially liked it that when the prince broke off the relationship Ani doesn’t wallow in sadness for the rest of the story, but acknowledges it and moves on with her life.

There is another memorable character in the story, one who is wholly Hale’s creation, and that is Enna, Ani’s first real friend. She takes Ani under her wing when she’s assigned her new job as a goose girl and when danger comes looking for Ani, Enna is right by her side, ready to defend her friend. I was happy to see that there is actually a sequel to The Goose Girl that features Enna as it’s protagonist and I am very much looking forward to reading that next.

Highly recommended to fans of fairy tales, magic, and fantasy of all ages.

6 comments:

I LOVED Goose Girl and its also my favorite Shannon Hale book. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for stopping by our blog and happy reading:)
-leslie

Great review! I still haven't read this one!

Awwww cuteness attack :D I would love to read a book by Hale

Oh I love retold fairy tales. I so need to read this one. Sounds perfect and I think I need to read the sequel too!

Aleksandra: Well you definitly should. This seems like a book you would really enjoy.

Blodeuedd: Even though you're not much of a YA fan I think you would like this book. I also really enjoyed The Book of a Thousand Days. I read another book of Hales' that was cute but for a younger audience.

Melissa: I do hope that you read it and that you like it as much as I did.

I gave this to one of my nieces for the holidays last year but never found out if she liked it (I don't speak much to my sister). I'll have to ask if I see my sister soon.

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